October 17, 1966

Retirement: A Problem Millions Face Yearly

JAMA. 1966;198(3):53. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110160025015

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The sociomedical dilemma reads like a problem from an old-math arithmetic book:

If John Jones is 30 years old; and he will live to be 100, but must retire at 55; what will John do with the last 45% of his life?

Just such a problem seems to be developing for millions of Jones' and for society, warns Irving S. Wright, MD, clinical professor of medicine, Cornell Medical College, and President, American College of Physicians.

In a speech marking the 200th anniversary of the city of Winston-Salem, NC, Dr. Wright noted that some gerontologists are now predicting that within 20 to 30 years a lifespan of 100 years will not be unusual.

At the same time, government, industry, and labor have set arbitrary times for compulsory retirement; first at 65, and in increasing numbers at 62—60—and even 58. What's more, it's likely that this limit will drop to 55, or