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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of retirement from the real past IELTS test/exam.

It is an interesting question and it took me some time to think about my main ideas and examples for it.

Learn more about my online courses here.

You can find the real past questions from IELTS writing task 1 here, task 2 here and speaking here.

Enjoy!

Before reading, make sure that you listen to the audio below and take some notes to improve your listening, then compare with the written answer:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Retirement (Real Past IELTS Tests/Exams)

Some think that governments should support retired people financially while others believe they should take care of themselves.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Real Past IELTS Tests/Exams

Many today have come to the conclusion that retired seniors should be supported by the government and not left to their own meagre resources. While I agree there are certain cases where governments are liable, citizens ought to be incentivised to handle their own finances.

The main reason many support a government backed retirement plan is the dire condition of many seniors. There are a number of possible causes deserving due attention. Some seniors are without family, others may be war veterans and have trouble finding work due to physical or psychological impairments, and still others may be victims of economic downturns. Without support they must fall on the mercy of society and will wind up at soup kitchens and seeking out chronic charity or even begging. Simply put, governments are their last refuge and in the best position to lend a helping hand.

Despite the rare instances mentioned above, nations ought to encourage ownership of one’s own future. If all citizens knew the government would provide a decent retirement fund for them, they would have little incentive to work hard, save money and make wise investments. Governments deal with large sample sizes and, granted this would not happen with many responsible adults, it still poses a sizeable national risk. An analogous example of this is the way parents raise their children. They provide for them early on, much like how governments offer free schooling, but then children are expected to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives. Parents that coddle their children for too long end up spoiling them in the same way that a national retirement fund would deprive individuals of the opportunity to become self-reliant.

In conclusion, the advantages of a more self-assured, mature citizenry outweigh the odd unavoidable case of desperation. There should be a degree of balance to allow for these exceptions while still nurturing more life-affirming values.

Word Count: 315

Analysis

1. Many today have come to the conclusion that retired seniors should be supported by the government and not left to their own meagre resources. 2. While I agree there are certain cases where governments are liable, citizens ought to be incentivised to handle their own finances.

  1. The first sentence simply restates the overall topic for the essay.
  2. In my next sentence, I give an overall opinion. You don’t have to include your main ideas but it can help your cohesion and coherence score if you do.

1. The main reason many support a government backed retirement plan is the dire condition of many seniors. 2. There are a number of possible causes deserving due attention. 3. Some seniors are without family, others may be war veterans and have trouble finding work due to physical or psychological impairments, and still others may be victims of economic downturns. 4. Without support they must fall on the mercy of society and will wind up at soup kitchens and seeking out chronic charity or even begging. 5. Simply put, governments are their last refuge and in the best position to lend a helping hand.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Begin to develop your main idea. Notice how I mix long and short sentences.
  3. Include specifics! Don’t be general!
  4. State the result to further develop your arguments.
  5. Summarise your argument by relating it back to the main topic.

1. Despite the rare instances mentioned above, nations ought to encourage ownership of one’s own future. 2. If all citizens knew the government would provide a decent retirement fund for them, they would have little incentive to work hard, save money and make wise investments. 3. Governments deal with large sample sizes and, granted this would not happen with many responsible adults, it still poses a sizeable national risk. 4. An analogous example of this is the way parents raise their children. 5. They provide for them early on, much like how governments offer free schooling, but then children are expected to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives. 6. Parents that coddle their children for too long end up spoiling them in the same way that a national retirement fund would deprive individuals of the opportunity to become self-reliant.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea.
  2. Explain your main idea if it needs explanation.
  3. Here I lay out exactly why this is important for governments – because of the large population they must deal with.
  4. I argue here by analogy, which is a kind of example.
  5. This sentence continues my analogy.
  6. I conclude the paragraph by finishing the analogy.

1. In conclusion, the advantages of a more self-assured, mature citizenry outweigh the odd unavoidable case of desperation. 2. There should be a degree of balance to allow for these exceptions while still nurturing more life-affirming values.

  1. Repeat your opinion.
  2. Add in an extra detail or final thought for full marks for task achievement from the IELTS examiner.

Vocabulary

Many today have come to the conclusion that retired seniors should be supported by the government and not left to their own meagre resources. While I agree there are certain cases where governments are liable, citizens ought to be incentivised to handle their own finances.

The main reason many support a government backed retirement plan is the dire condition of many seniors. There are a number of possible causes deserving due attention. Some seniors are without family, others may be war veterans and have trouble finding work due to physical or psychological impairments, and still others may be victims of economic downturns. Without support they must fall on the mercy of society and will wind up at soup kitchens and seeking out chronic charity or even begging. Simply put, governments are their last refuge and in the best position to lend a helping hand.

Despite the rare instances mentioned above, nations ought to encourage ownership of one’s own future. If all citizens knew the government would provide a decent retirement fund for them, they would have little incentive to work hard, save money and make wise investments. Governments deal with large sample sizes and, granted this would not happen with many responsible adults, it still poses a sizeable national risk. An analogous example of this is the way parents raise their children. They provide for them early on, much like how governments offer free schooling, but then children are expected to grow up and take responsibility for their own lives. Parents that coddle their children for too long end up spoiling them in the same way that a national retirement fund would deprive individuals of the opportunity to become self-reliant.

In conclusion, the advantages of a more self-assured, mature citizenry outweigh the odd unavoidable case of desperation. There should be a degree of balance to allow for these exceptions while still nurturing more life-affirming values.

Answers

come to the conclusion now believe

retired seniors old people no longer working

left to their own meagre resources have to survive with little

liable responsible/at fault

incentivised encouraged

handle their own finances be in charge of their own money

government backed retirement plan pension/national retirement funds

dire condition difficult situation

deserving due attention worth thinking about

war veterans people who fought in wars/battles

physical or psychological impairments injured in their body or mind

victims people hurt

economic downturns recessions/depressions/bad market

fall on the mercy of society require help from society

wind up end up

soup kitchens where the homeless line up for food

seeking out chronic charity always be in need of help

begging asking for money

last refuge final hope

best position good vantage point

lend a helping hand help out

ownership of one’s own future in charge of your own destiny

decent retirement fund enough money to live on after working

little incentive no reason to

make wise investments put your money into good projects

large sample sizes lots of people

granted I concede that

poses holds

sizeable national risk big possible drawbacks for the country

analogous example instructive similar situation

provide for them early on raise them

take responsibility for their own lives be self-sufficient

coddle spoil, treat too well

spoiling them letting them do whatever they want

fund give money to

deprive keep from

self-reliant independent

self-assured confident

mature adult

odd unavoidable case of desperation occasional difficult situation

a degree of balance some equality

allow for make possible

exceptions outside the norm

nurturing encouraging/growing

life-affirming values considering healthy habits good

Pronunciation

kʌm tuː ðə kənˈkluːʒən 
rɪˈtaɪəd ˈsiːnjəz 
lɛft tuː ðeər əʊn ˈmiːgə rɪˈsɔːsɪz
ˈlaɪəbl
ɪnˈsɛntɪvaɪzd
ˈhændl ðeər əʊn faɪˈnænsɪz
ˈgʌvnmənt bækt rɪˈtaɪəmənt plæn 
ˈdaɪə kənˈdɪʃən 
dɪˈzɜːvɪŋ djuː əˈtɛnʃ(ə)n
wɔː ˈvɛtərənz 
ˈfɪzɪkəl ɔː ˌsaɪkəˈlɒʤɪkəl ɪmˈpeəmənts
ˈvɪktɪmz 
ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk ˈdaʊntɜːnz
fɔːl ɒn ðə ˈmɜːsi ɒv səˈsaɪəti 
wɪnd ʌp 
suːp ˈkɪʧɪnz 
ˈsiːkɪŋ aʊt ˈkrɒnɪk ˈʧærɪti 
ˈbɛgɪŋ
lɑːst ˈrɛfjuːʤ 
bɛst pəˈzɪʃən 
lɛnd ə ˈhɛlpɪŋ hænd
ˈəʊnəʃɪp ɒv wʌnz əʊn ˈfjuːʧə
ˈdiːsnt rɪˈtaɪəmənt fʌnd 
ˈlɪtl ɪnˈsɛntɪv 
meɪk waɪz ɪnˈvɛstmənts
lɑːʤ ˈsɑːmpl ˈsaɪzɪz 
ˈgrɑːntɪd 
ˈpəʊzɪz 
ˈsaɪzəbl ˈnæʃənl rɪsk
əˈnæləgəs ɪgˈzɑːmpl 
prəˈvaɪd fɔː ðɛm ˈɜːli ɒn
teɪk rɪsˌpɒnsəˈbɪlɪti fɔː ðeər əʊn lɪvz
ˈkɒdl 
ˈspɔːɪlɪŋ ðɛm 
fʌnd 
dɪˈpraɪv 
sɛlf-rɪˈlaɪənt
sɛlf-əˈʃʊəd
məˈtjʊə 
ɒd ˌʌnəˈvɔɪdəbl keɪs ɒv ˌdɛspəˈreɪʃən
ə dɪˈgriː ɒv ˈbæləns 
əˈlaʊ fɔː 
ɪkˈsɛpʃənz 
ˈnɜːʧərɪŋ 
laɪf-əˈfɜːmɪŋ ˈvæljuːz

Listen and repeat:

Vocabulary Practice

Many today have c______________ that r______________ should be supported by the government and not l______________. While I agree there are certain cases where governments are l______________, citizens ought to be i______________ to h______________.

The main reason many support a g______________ is the d______________ of many seniors. There are a number of possible causes d______________. Some seniors are without family, others may be w______________ and have trouble finding work due to p______________, and still others may be v______________ of e______________. Without support they must f______________ and will w______________ at s______________ and s______________ or even b______________. Simply put, governments are their l______________ and in the b______________ to l______________.

Despite the rare instances mentioned above, nations ought to encourage o______________. If all citizens knew the government would provide a d______________ for them, they would have l______________ to work hard, save money and m______________. Governments deal with l______________ and, g______________ this would not happen with many responsible adults, it still p______________ a s______________. An a______________ of this is the way parents raise their children. They p______________, much like how governments offer free schooling, but then children are expected to grow up and t______________. Parents that c______________ their children for too long end up s______________ in the same way that a national retirement f______________ would d______________ individuals of the opportunity to become s______________.

In conclusion, the advantages of a more s______________, m______________ citizenry outweigh the o______________. There should be a______________ to a______________ these e______________ while still n______________ more l ______________.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Listen to the Ted Talk below and use these ideas to practice:

Reading Practice

Here is a relevant article on the same topic as the essay above:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/public-option-can-ease-retirement-crisis/593722/

Speaking Practice

Answer the questions below from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Old People

  1. What are the advantages of having an elderly person at home? 
  2. Is there anything that older people should learn from the younger generation?
  3. What can the younger generation learn from the older generation? 
  4. What qualities does a person need to take care of older people? 
  5. Do you think elderly people should be allowed to work? 

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