There are 3 primary reasons for he perpetual rise of the official Social Security retirement age:
In the year 1900, the average life expectancy for a person in the United States was 49.2 years. By 1997, this figure had risen to 76.5 years.
Due to the continual improvement of medical technology that results in effective treatment of various conditions, a higher awareness of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, and the shift from dangerous working conditions, people continue to live longer lives. People are not only living longer, but entering their later years in better condition and able to remain productive in the workplace.
It is no secret that governments globally are having more difficulty than ever balancing their budgets. As fiat currency has become the norm, the perceived value of all national currencies has artificially inflated to some degree. Like a house of cards, recent shakeups in the credit market have caused virtually every national currency to plummet in value.
For the United States Social Security program specifically, this financial difficulty coupled with the fact that the aging population requires payments for decades longer than previous generations means the government needs more people to be actively employed to continue funding the system. One of the methods the government is using to ensure this is to raise the official retirement age.
Just as early Social Security calculations were based on a shorter lifespan, so too were retirement plans. Pensions and savings that were once considered perfectly adequate a generation ago are now woefully short of coping with the rise in the cost of living and the extra couple of decades a retiree might need them.
The Social Security system and the people who rely on it have both fallen victim to the success of medical technology and the failures of the banking system. If these trends continue, so will the rise of the Social Security retirement age.