by Christopher Freeburn | June 5, 2012 1:40 pm
It’s not something anyone wants to hear, especially in Europe.
American International Group (NYSE:AIG) CEO Robert Benmosche told Bloomberg last week that with rising life expectancy and growing government debt worldwide, people will have to redefine their idea of retirement.
That means moving the retirement age higher — up to 70 or 80, he said.
Keeping people working longer will reduce government retirement and medical benefits, and help lower the tax burden on younger workers, Bloomberg noted.
Europe is currently in the midst of an economic crisis that could result in the collapse of its transnational currency. Benmosche said a Greek withdrawal from the euro would be a “disaster” and should be avoided.
He noted that, like many Europeans, Greeks had become used to generous government benefits that the country simply couldn’t afford any longer. Unless the Greeks could be persuaded to accept the new reality, the country would be hit with “huge inflation.”
However, Europeans don’t seem inclined to take the AIG CEO’s advice. Last month, France elected a socialist president who campaigned on lowering the retirement age from 62 to 60.
AIG, which nearly collapsed during the economic crisis in 2008 and received a $182 billion bailout from the U.S. government, has moved senior employees from Argentina to Greece. Argentina experienced an economic collapse in 2001, and the company expects Greece to encounter similar economic turbulence if it exits the euro.
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