Monday, November 1, 2010

Will a Higher Retirement Age Change French Happiness?

French citizens protest changes in their retirement age.
From The Christian Science Monitor.
I'm no expert on French politics, but this story from The Canadian Press caught my eye. It's a character piece about a 61-year-old French man and how happy he is after retiring at 60. The man, Guy Roberts, says, "What happiness! To retire at 60, in good health, allows you to discover things... I retired with a sense of great joy and liberation."

This experience will probably change soon, as President Nicolas Sarkozy is in the process of raising the retirement age to 62. The president says that the costs of retirement pensions are unsustainable due to a constantly increasing life expectancy. The French are up in arms about this, with protests and strikes that have closed all of France's 12 oil refineries and a quarter of its gas stations.

But how does retirement affect happiness? I'm having trouble finding data. As I wrote last week, happiness tends to increase in old age, but I'm sure anyone has done a happiness study on retirement itself (if you know of one, post it in the comments).

So what do you think of France's predicament and what do you think of retirement? Since populations are increasing in average age all over the world, you may soon have to deal with this issue, even if you don't live in France. Also, I'm no expert on French politics, so if I'm missing anything important, be sure to let me know!

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