BUSINESS

AIG CEO Robert Benmosche: 80-Year-Old Europeans Need To Be Working

06/04/2012 06:05 pm ET

This isn't your grandpa's economy. But it could still be yours once you're his age.

Robert Benmosche, chief executive of the recently bailed-out and largely government-owned American International Group, told Bloomberg from his seaside villa that he thinks the eurozone debt crisis will push the retirement age in the region way up.

"Retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old," he said. “That would make pensions, medical services more affordable. They will keep people working longer and will take that burden off of the youth.”

World leaders have called an emergency meeting for Tuesday to discuss the crisis, as a Spanish banking meltdown and looming Greek election threaten to break up the Eurozone. One major source of debt for many of the countries in panic mode is generous pensions. One way out: Getting employees to have longer careers, at least in Greece, according to Benmosche.

For his part, the 68-year-old AIG chief told the company’s shareholders late last year that he planned to stay on longer than he originally anticipated.

Though Benmosche’s comments were directed at Europe, American workers may also be working well into their golden years. Already one quarter of middle-class Americans expect to retire when they’re 80, not 65, according to a Wells Fargo survey from November.

In addition, the average retirement age of American workers hit 67, according to a Gallup poll from last month. That’s up from 63 ten years ago and 60 in the mid-1990s.

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