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Life in Japan begins at 70

thomas

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An article on how Japan's senior citizens spend their retirement age: instead of relaxing, many of them prefer to put their skills and knowledge to the best use for society and go back to work. And the labour market needs them.

For some, the extra income they earn through the Silver Jinzai organization is certainly a consideration, but the money is not the motivation for most. For the majority of the 700,000 pensioners who are registered with the nationwide organization that was initially set up in Tokyo in 1975, the most important things are keeping themselves busy and giving back to society. [...] "There is a growing number of people who are healthy and very motivated to work," Okada said. "There are a wide range of reasons why our members want to work. For some it is financial, of course, but many people want to maintain their health, others want to contribute to society or make the most of their experience and skills." [...] Tasks are paid at different rates, and those vary around the country, but assistance with household chores typically earns a Silver Jinzai worker 870 yen (€6.70, $7.80) per hour, cleaning windows is 910 yen, and gardening is 1,040 yen — while the more strenuous job of clearing snow in northern prefectures is worth 1,855 yen per hour.

 

johnnyG

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"make the most their experience and skills ... household chores ... cleaning windows ... clearing snow ..."

Hmm...
 

bentenmusume

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(Disclaimer: We've used the Silver Jinzai service in the past.)

That's a bit of a rosy assessment.
I imagine it's true that some senior citizens want to stay "busy" to keep their body and mind young, and so I don't want to dismiss the whole thing out of hand.
Also, it's true that Japan's population is aging rapidly, that the average life expectancy is growing longer and longer, etc. etc.

That said, I'm not about to declare it all sunshine and rainbows that there's an increasing trend towards "continue working until you literally die". In the old days, people would be able to live a comfortable existence, save money, then receive pension and retire in their sixties to a life of relative leisure. Not performing manual labor and instead spending your time reading, traveling, painting, playing music, etc. etc. can keep your mind fresh and young as well.

It grows increasingly disturbing to me that my generation and beyond will mostly be working until the end of their days to ensure their own survival. My job is mentally stimulating and I enjoy it, but let's not pretend that this is some wonderful win-win situation for all involved.
 

Petaris

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I read recently, I don't remember where, that the amount needed in order to retire without needing a part time job is now over $3M USD in the US. The article was indicating this is now the absolute minimum and really you should have $5-6M. Personally I have questions about lifestyle with that amount suggested but still, it really shows how costs keep increasing. When I was in high school the goal indicated to us for a "comfortable" retirement was $300k. Of course "comfortable" is very subjective but still.

My retirement savings is pretty abysmal, things like health care costs keep eating into the money that would otherwise go to retirement.
 

Uncle Frank

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I was lucky that my wife had a 401K for over 30 years at her law firm. We made sure we paid off our house & cars before retirement. If we had to survive on just Social Security , it would not be much of a life. I will admit if I had to work "part time" , I wouldn't mind it. Here in the US , they do give payment breaks for being a senior and also breaks for veterans which helps a little bit.
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(Disclaimer: We've used the Silver Jinzai service in the past.)

That's a bit of a rosy assessment.
I imagine it's true that some senior citizens want to stay "busy" to keep their body and mind young, and so I don't want to dismiss the whole thing out of hand.
Also, it's true that Japan's population is aging rapidly, that the average life expectancy is growing longer and longer, etc. etc.

That said, I'm not about to declare it all sunshine and rainbows that there's an increasing trend towards "continue working until you literally die". In the old days, people would be able to live a comfortable existence, save money, then receive pension and retire in their sixties to a life of relative leisure. Not performing manual labor and instead spending your time reading, traveling, painting, playing music, etc. etc. can keep your mind fresh and young as well.

It grows increasingly disturbing to me that my generation and beyond will mostly be working until the end of their days to ensure their own survival. My job is mentally stimulating and I enjoy it, but let's not pretend that this is some wonderful win-win situation for all involved.
I get it, I dont live there but its surely not a win win situation, with people having to work longer, and not because they want to but for no choice
 

johnnyG

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Wasn't it a year or two ago when the gov't said that people should have about 20 million yen in addition to pension, in order to have a good retirement? That would assume no debt and perhaps even owning rather than renting.

As a retiree nearing 70, what I do know is that these last couple pandemic years have been cheap--no travel, no eating out, and so on. My j-pensions total about two million a year, and even after deductions like taxes, 国民 and 介護保険, etc., just that has been enough to live on (tho our situation is different in that my wife is now collecting her own pension, and we share many expenses). We both still maintain cars and drive, and eat really well. No debt, an old house but it seems to be doing fine. We have savings, but with the pandemic, that goes virtually untouched. I'd like one of the just-announced new MacBook pros--this one I'm using is dated mid-2014--which is about the only possible splurge I can think of. Not sure when I/we will die, but at this rate, 20 million would seem like more than enough.

Some people in our situation would have kept teaching, much better pay and not physical like some of the things mentioned above. I declined those jobs right off (my time being more valuable than that money), and even now, no regrets about that. (Perhaps especially now, since zoom/online classes are both more demanding and much less satisfying.)
 
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thomas

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I remember 20m JPY also being the figure you have to invest to raise a child until graduation.

National health insurance covers about 70% of medical fees, so unless you have private insurance, the cost of operations, special treatment, medication, etc. can quickly spiral out of control. Having a financial cushion may not be such a bad idea.

As for saving during the pandemic: we’d been leading a frugal life before the pandemic. Working from home, we were able to save on commuting (now, we move the car only once a week), but with two or three computers running all day long, air-conditioning, etc., our electricity bill has exploded. Not much saving here.

@ working with Zoom: let me borrow from Homer Simpson. :)

homer-groove.jpg
 

bentenmusume

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Let me just say for the record that my initial comment was by no means intended to be Japan-specific. As far as I know, the situation is the same or worse in my home country (the U.S.), with the current generation possessing more debt and less wealth than any generation before them, through no real fault of their own.

The pandemic has been terrible in so many ways, but it's been positive for us in terms of saving money for sure. Probably helps that I'm not going going out every other day and spending 1万 on food and sake, and taking taxis home when I miss my last train ;)
 

musicisgood

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1. car paid off
2 . house paid off
3. 25 million yen in actual cash in bank
4. better be collecting your countries pension
5. expect to enjoy life if you are in reasonable health if you have the above.
 
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