The Mexican telecom pioneer said that the current retirement age is based in a different time, where the average employee was involved in more demanding physical labor, and life expectancy was generally not as long.
“We live in the knowledge society, so knowledge and experience should be valued,” he said at the Geneva telecommunications conference, according to Forbes. “This is why a person’s work life could be increased.”
Slim, 72, whose net worth is estimated at $69 billions, still functions as the head of telecommunications for the conglomerate Telmex. His status as the world richest man hasn’t come without controversy, as demonstrators gathered to protest an honorary degree given to him by George Washington University last month, claiming that he had created a monopoly in Mexico, preventing the upstart of smaller companies and the new jobs.
Slim’s opinion may not be popular, but it may become a grim reality, as about one in four members of America’s middle class believe they will not be able to retire until they’re 80, according to a November survey released by Wells Fargo. A Gallup poll has set the average expected retirement age at 67, not far off from Slim’s 70, and up from 63 a decade ago.
Slim’s idea isn’t exactly a new one, either. Early this month, American International CEO Robert Benmosche told Bloomberg TV that in order to take pressure off their pension systems, some European countries would have to move their retirement age from 70 up to 80. Many have tied the region’s current financial crisis to the generous pension systems and social services offered.