View Full Version : French indignant over government plan to raise retirement age

05-03-2010, 01:40 PM
French indignant over government plan to raise retirement age

Despite the uproar, France is not alone in considering such a step. Countries from Britain to Greece are also grappling with declining populations, ballooning government debt and longer life spans.

May 01, 2010|By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

Didier Remy has spent his life so intent on retiring on his 55th birthday that he and his wife even planned their children accordingly, wanting them to be grown by the time he stopped working.

So pardon a little indignant hand-waving as he ponders the prospect of Nicolas Sarkozy fouling everything up. If the French president has his way, Remy will find it tough to retire with his full state pension in 2015, as he carefully plotted 20 years ago.

"My life was organized around the idea that I'm going to leave work at that age," said Remy, a lifelong employee of France's state-owned railway, whose benefits are the envy of other Frenchmen, never mind long-slogging Americans. "It's my goal. But it rests with the powers that be."

True to form in this protest-rife land, Sarkozy's announcement that he intends to raise the national retirement age sometime this summer sent thousands of demonstrators spilling into the streets last month in opposition. But this time the French are part of a larger tide of anger and anxiety surging across Europe.

With budget deficits ballooning across the continent, and a huge bailout of debt-ridden Greece on the verge of taking place, officials across Europe say they have no choice but to boost retirement ages if they are to tackle a monumental economic problem compounded by declining populations and longer life spans.

But few issues are as sensitive in a region where the right to retire at a decent age, and retire well, is considered almost an inalienable social right. For many here, it's one of the defining elements of their identity as Europeans, part of what they feel makes them different more reasonable, more humane from overworked, overstressed Americans.

The Greeks are also seeing a way of life pass as are the Icelanders, the Brits, and many others. To use one of the more popular terms today, that social contract simply was not "sustainable".

LA Times (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/01/world/la-fg-europe-retire-20100501)

05-03-2010, 01:56 PM
Americans do more work by accident than those people do on purpose.

05-03-2010, 02:16 PM
The poor french. I guess Sarkozy is getting all Reagan on them.

I have a pretty good retirement package, by US standards. The earliest I can retire with full benefits from my employer is age 55. However, I can't collect Social Security until I am 68, due to Reagan's deal in the 80s. . I'm planning to retire in my late 50s or early 60s, and work to supplement my pension at some totally mindless, but enjoyable job. As of today, I have 10 years and 6 months to go until my earliest possible retirement date (my 55th birthday).

I'm pretty sure the next republican governor will be offering some sweet deals to all of us remaining state employees that have pensions (everyone hired after 1997 has a matching 401K plan), in order to get rid of us. Most of the married and otherwise financially secure people will likely retire. I'm still in my 40s, it's really not an option for me, even if I have the time to do so.

People think my retirement plan is good, but my uncle retired from Ford with the best deal I've ever heard of. He started on the line there at age 18, and moved up to engineering when he got his degree at Henry Ford CC, which at that time, was geared for teaching talented line workers how to be automotive engineers. He retired at 50, with full benefits, and has never worked a day since (he's 75). He's got nice property up north, and owns a fancy HD bike, among other things. He didn't start collecting SS until he was 65. He didn't put his kids through college, though, and cashed in most of his Ford stock in the 90s, when the company was doing really well.

I think Ford offers the 401K deal now, too.

05-03-2010, 02:17 PM
I posted this the other day


It is a story about the Greeks having a breakdown now that they realize that someone actually has to pay for the guaranteed jobs and earlier retirement and other perks of a semi-socialist society.