South Africans retire at 60, on average, according to South Africa Governement Services. The government doesn't impose an official age as such, so it's left to employees to liaise with employers to find an 'agreed' age of retirement.
In France, men and women retire at an average age of 60.8 years old, while the official age of retirement is 62. Retirement age has been a contentious issue in France in recent years, as Prime Minister Édouard Philippe attempted to incentivise people to continue working until the age of 64, causing months of strike action by protestors. Anybody born after 1 January 1955 must be 67 years old before it is possible to claim a full state pension.
On average Greek men retire at 61.7 years old, while Greek women stop working at 60. So it's not surprising that authorities sparked protests by raising the official retirement age to 67 in 2017, a two-year increase to the official retirement age for men and a staggering five-year rise for women. It was part of a cost-cutting drive after the country was bailed out by other European countries. Some voters elsewhere in Europe resented helping the Greek government when many of its citizens were drawing pensions in their 50s.
Belgian men and women officially retire at 65, but most people actually retire several years before through early retirement schemes, and the average effective age for men is 61.6 years old, while women tend to leave work just at 60.5. The country’s historically generous state pension scheme was shaken up in 2011, when the early retirement age was increased to 62 and workers were forced to contribute for 40 years. The official pension age will rise to 66 from 2025 and 67 from 2030, measures which have proved highly unpopular, with strikes and protests across the country.
Bucking the global trend, the Polish government slashed its retirement age from 67 to 65 for men and 60 for women in 2017. The move by the right-wing Law and Justice Party proved popular with voters as the previous government had increased the retirement age in 2012. The new retirement age reflects reality as most male Poles actually work until they are 62.8, whereas Polish women stop work at 60.6 on average. The government also attempted to force the retirement of 40% of supreme court judges in 2018 by lowering their retirement age, but this was found to be a breach of EU law in June 2019.
The official retirement age in Spain is being gradually increased from 65 to 67 by 2027, but on average Spanish people are taking retirement at 61.7 (men at 62.1 and women at 61.3). The government had been under pressure from investors and international bodies to keep people working longer to cut public spending. Unions threatened to strike over the rise, but caved in after the government said workers could still retire at 65 if they had made at least 37 years’ worth of contributions.
In America, anyone born between 1943 and 1954 can retire at 66, while those born after 1960 have to work until they are 67. The retirement age increases gradually up to 67 for those born in-between. Although many Americans over 65 switch to part-time work rather than leaving the workforce altogether, a new New York Fed survey has shown that only 50.1% of adults plan to work beyond 62. That's the lowest percentage since the survey began in 2014, a change that experts put down to ongoing COVID-19 fears and soaring stock prices making more people much wealthier.
In Austria, the official pension age is 60 for women and 65 for men – women tend to work for longer than this and retire at 60.8, while men work for fewer years and retire at 63.5, giving an average effective retirement age of 62.15. The retirement age for women is set to increase to match the men's between 2024 and 2033.
The average age men retire in Italy is 63.3, while women work until they are 61 years and a half. But officially Italian men can retire at 66 years and seven months and women a year earlier. A previous government tried to save money in 2011 by proposing people retire at 67. But most recently the coalition government of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and far-right League Party controversially reversed the planned increase. The retirement age has now been lowered to 62 for people who have paid into the Italian pension system for at least 38 years.
German men currently tend to retire at 64 years old, while German women retire a little younger at 63.6, which isn’t far off the official retirement age of 65. The retirement age is 65 for people born before 1947, 67 for anyone born after 1964 and somewhere in the middle on a rising scale for people born in between. Politicians have even considered increasing the retirement age to 69 in decades to come in a bid to manage Germany’s ageing population. So far there are no concrete plans to do so.
The official age Danish men and women can retire is 65, but this is due to gradually increase to 67 by 2022, and 68 by 2030. In reality, the average man leaves the workplace aged 65.1, while women stop working at 62.5. In August, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced that the government is looking to reduce the official retirement age to 61 for people who have worked for 42-44 years in the country, starting in 2022. The Danish pension system is the world's best, along with the Netherlands, according to Mercer’s Global Pension Index.
Men and women in the Netherlands can currently give up work at 66 years and four months, but the real average age Dutch people leave work is lower at 63.85 years old (65.2 years for men, and 62.5 for women). Despite this, the government is set to gradually increase the government retirement age to 67 by 2024, amid concern over the costs of an ageing population. The government is also trying to incentivise citizens to work longer, with higher contributions for those still employed above pension age and bonuses for employers who hire them.
The retirement age in the UK is currently 66, but men retire at 64.7 years old on average, while women leave work at 63.6 years old. Women saw a controversially steep rise in their pension age from 60 to 65 in 2018, and both sexes saw the state pension age increase to 66 in October this year. There are plans to increase the official retirement age to 68 by 2039 — but according to new data from Gov.uk, the average retirement age fell by 0.2-0.3% in 2021.
Canadians can draw a means-tested state pension from 65, as long as they have lived in the country for 40 years. The system is flexible though, with workers able to take less money from 60 or an increased pension if they delay it until their late 60s. The average age isn't too far off the recommended age, with men retiring at 65.5 and women retiring at 64, putting the overall retirement age at 64.75. The previous government had planned to delay retirement until 67 from 2023, but current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scrapped the measure.
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The Australian government increased the official pension age in 2017: people born before 1952 can retire at 65.5, but those born after that face gradual increases until it reaches 67 in 2023. The Liberal Party had tried to increase the retirement age to 70, but other parties shied away from an even bigger hike. But when do they actually retire? Men retire at 65.3 years old on average, while women stop work at 64.3. Therefore, Australians typically leave the workforce at 64.8 years. According to a report published by the Australian Treasury in November 2020, women tend to retire between one and three years earlier than men.
Men and women in Ireland can both draw their pension from 66, with most men retiring once they turn 65.6, while women leave work earlier at the age of 64.1 on average. The retirement age is due to rise to 68 from 2028, which will make it one of the highest in the world. The government also increased the compulsory age at which civil servants retire from 65 to 70 in 2017, allowing those in the role to work longer if they wish.
Norway’s state pension age has been 67 for men and women since the 1970s, but most men stop working at the age of 66.1 and women even earlier at 64.1. Nowadays the retirement age is flexible for earnings-related pensions, which Norwegians can draw from as early as their 62nd birthday. While some experts have suggested it may be time to increase the retirement age gradually, there are no plans to do so.
Turkey’s official retirement age is 60 for men and 58 for women, but most people work more than six years beyond that, with men retiring at 66.3, and women at 64.9. The official pension age will gradually rise to 65 for both men and women between 2036 and 2044. Turkey's system actually allows for people who started contributing to a pension in the late 1970s and have at least 25 years of payments to retire at 44 should they choose.
In Switzerland, the average retirement age is 66.4 for men and 65 for women, which makes an average of 65.7. This is roughly in line with the official retirement age of 65 for men and 64 for women. However, the Swiss state offers a flexible pension age, and pensions can be drawn much earlier but with lower entitlements, or up to five years later with much bigger payments.
Swedish people can draw their means-tested state pension at 61 via the country's flexible earnings-related scheme, although the guaranteed pension age went up to 68 this year, and will rise to 69 in 2023. This will likely only have a limited impact on many Swedes though, as the average age people leave the workplace is already 65.9, with men typically leaving the workforce at 66.4, and women aged 65.4.
On average Portuguese men retire at 68.5 years old, while women leave work at 65.4. Officially men and women can expect to retire at 66 years and five months, though this will increase to 67 in 2029. The retirement age increased in 2017 because of rising life expectancy and pressure to save money after Portugal received an international bailout in 2011.
Icelandic men and women have some of the longest life expectancies on the planet, but have long had to work until they are 67, based on at least 40 years’ residency in the country. The retirement age is slightly younger for public sector workers at 65. Most men actually stop working shortly after their 68th birthday, and women just before they turn 66.
On average people in Israel work until they are just shy of 68, with men working until they are 69.4 and women until their 66th birthday. This is higher than the official ages set by the government, which says men should retire at 67 and women at 62. Politicians voted to increase women’s retirement age over a decade ago but have been reluctant to make the proposal a reality, according to the Haaretz newspaper.
There is no official retirement age in New Zealand, but pension payments start at the age of 65. On average both men and women are working beyond that age, with women leaving work at 66.4 and men nearly working up to their 70th birthday. There are plans to raise the pension age to 67 in the late 2030s. The residency rules to qualify for a state pension are also expected to change, with retirees required to have lived in the country for at least 20 years, rather than 10 as previously.
In Chile men retire at 70, while women retire at 66.7. This makes the average real retirement age in the country 68.35, which is considerably higher than the 65 years that Chilean men can retire at, and 60 for Chilean women. However, many may be working longer because the pension system doesn't provide adequate funds. In 2019 there were protests over the pension scheme, as retirees who were promised 70% of their salaries in their later years have found themselves struggling to make ends meet.
Mexico’s official retirement age is 65 for men and women, but early retirement is possible from 60. However, in reality the average age people leave the workplace is much higher at 71.3 for men and 66.5 for women. Why? Workers need to have paid in for about 24 years to receive a pension, but less than a third of the working population is expected to qualify, as many are in casual work and have not made enough, or any, contributions. Anyone who has not paid in enough gets the money back as one lump sum instead.
Perhaps it's not surprising that Japan's citizens work until they're nearly 70 on average, as their life expectancy is among the highest in the world and the country already has one of the oldest populations. Citizens are actually allowed to draw their pension at the age of 62 and this figure is set to rise to 65 years old by 2025, but it is unlikely to make much difference as men often work until they’re 70.8, and women until the age of 69.1. In a bid to save money during the coronavirus pandemic, the number of companies in Japan offering early retirement plans has doubled during 2020, in some cases even allowing people in their 20s and 30s to be eligible, according to a study by Tokyo Shoko Research.
South Korea comes in with the longest working life of 72.3 years. Both men and women work on average more than 12 years longer than the official retirement age of 60. Why? The country is known for its long life expectancies, but also its poverty. South Korea has the highest elderly poverty rate in the OECD, which means that they may have to keep working later into their lives.