FIVE MILLION PENSIONERS FORCED TO GO BACK TO WORK

Governments in turmoil as social security plans flounder

In a sudden and unexpected move, EU policy on retirement was reversed yesterday as it became obvious that funds allocated for retirement benefits would be virtually depleted throughout the Union within ten years.

Future benefits have been cut by an average 20% from the end of this year and, after many rumors and false starts, the official retirement age across the EU has been confirmed at an age of 70 for men and women. There will of course be opportunities for individuals to apply for exceptions but anyone without private retirement benefits is facing radical new future prospects.

Start work again, create new income streams or face financial disaster.

Although during the past few years it has become increasingly attractive for business to hire older generation staff for their experience and perceived stability, this new EU move will put massive additional pressure on youth unemployment.

Germany, once regarded as Europe’s internet backwater, has already become the center of a new revolution in internet entrepreneurs – thousands of neighborhood eBay agents have exploded throughout German cities and in countryside market towns.

The average age of these new net-entrepreneurs (according to figures released by Berlin-based AlterFacts) is 58!

(Read some more background in the Analysis/Synthesis section – for subscribers only)


ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be

Changing European demographics and the failure of EU governments to keep pace with the corresponding funding needs of ageing populations have left some stark choices for the older and retired populations.

If you haven’t made adequate ‘private’ arrangements for your retirements you will have to live out your life with dwindling government pensions, health care and other support structures. Without additional income streams poverty will be an inevitable consequence.

Many of the jobs at the lower end of the food chain are either ‘undesirable’ to many first-world Europeans (perhaps even ‘unthinkable’) or require physical competencies that the elderly simply do not possess.

At the top of the job food-chain, knowledge and service jobs are those for which many of the elderly are specifically skilled and where the ability to perform them from ‘anywhere’ makes these jobs extremely attractive. For individuals it is a ‘service attitude’ and ‘language skills’ (especially English-language skills) that AlterFacts identified as the personal competitive differentiators.

2005: British fears escalate
Britain’s popular Daily Express runs a headline on 9 February 2005 proclaiming: “Poverty forces 1,6 million pensioners back to work”

EU regulations start making it attractive for companies to employ the older generation rather than young recruits and this creates a boom in jobs for the elderly but exacerbates the problem of youth unemployment as economic growth flattens across Europe.

2007: Germany leads net-entrepreneurship
Germany, once regarded as Europe’s internet backwater, becomes the center of a new revolution in internet entrepreneurs – thousands of neighborhood eBay agents have exploded throughout German cities and in countryside market towns.
The average age of these new net-entrepreneurs (according to figures released by Berlin-based AlterFacts) is 58!

2009: EU steps in and admits to failure
In a sudden and unexpected move, EU policy on retirement was reversed yesterday as it became obvious that funds allocated for retirement benefits would be virtually depleted throughout the Union within ten years.
Future benefits have been cut by an average 20% from the end of this year and, after many rumors and false starts, the official retirement age across the EU has been confirmed at an age of 70 for men and women. There will of course be opportunities for individuals to apply for exceptions but anyone without private retirement benefits is facing radical new future prospects.
Start work again, create new income streams or face financial disaster.

2010: The Grey Revolution takes charge
In an unprecedented show of European optimism, Europe’s ‘grey economy’ is booming. Spurred by new financial and economic realities, pensioners have taken the future into their own hands.
An estimated 250 000 small business have been created during the past five years, a million new jobs have been allocated to ‘the elderly’ in large business and the total size of the grey economy in Europe has trebled over the past decade.
Along with solving some of the failures of government social programs, the grey revolution is also creating new job opportunities for the young and pulling Europe’s economy up by its bootstraps.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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