What are the retirement ages around the world?

If you're fortunate enough, you can retire at any time, but how long do workers around the world have to wait before they can claim their government pension?

Retirement ages, or the age when some sort of government pension can be received, varies around the world. 

The OECD average for a normal pension age is currently 64.3 years for men and 63.7 years for women.

While life expectancy has risen in many countries and governments grapple with ageing populations, any attempts to make people wait longer to collect benefits are usually met with fierce opposition, as Russia and Australia found out recently. 

A retiree plays a game of golf at a course in Sydney.
Source: Bloomberg

Australia

The current retirement age of 65.5 is set to move to 67 by July 2023, rising six months every two years. 

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison abandoned a Liberal commitment to raise the retirement age again to 70 by 2035.

The plan was first announced by the Abbott government under then-treasurer Joe Hockey in 2014 but was never legislated.

Scott Morrison has back flipped on changing the retirement age.
Source: AAP

It faced stiff opposition from the public, with the Council on the Ageing saying the 70-year target had caused anxiety for older people trying to transition to retirement.

United Kingdom

The pension age is currently 65 for men. It's gradually increasing for women from 60 to 65.

From 2019, the state pension age will increase for both men and women to reach 66 by October 2020.

And according to an advocacy group for older people, Age UK, the state pension age "is going to be kept under review, which means that it could change again in the future, depending on different factors, such as changes in life expectancy".

Scottish senior citizens take part in the Kelvinside weekly tea dance.
Source: Getty Images Europe

United States

The rules in the US are more complicated. 

According to material from the US federal government, "the full retirement age [also called "normal retirement age"] had been 65 for many years. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age gradually increases until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959".

"You can retire at any time between age 62 and full retirement age. However, if you start benefits early, your benefits are reduced a fraction of a percent for each month before your full retirement age," it says.

Russia

In recent weeks, thousands of people have protested the Russian government's attempt to raise the state pension age, the first such hike in nearly 90 years.

President Vladimir Putin originally proposed upping the pension age from 55 to 63 for women and from 60 to 65 for men.

But as his popularity in the polls continued to slide, he softened the reforms for women, suggesting 60 should be the retirement age.    

Russian communists take part in protest rally against a government proposed pension reform.
Source: AAP

He's sticking with the overall government plan, warning of the collapse of the financial system. 

Given the low life expectancy of Russian men - 65 years - many would not live long enough under the reform to receive a state pension.

Turkey

At 58, women in Turkey have one of the lowest normal pension ages in the OECD. This rises to 60 for men.

However, as recently as 2010, people could retire as early as 45 for men and 41 for women if they completed 25 years of military service.

Iceland and Norway

Iceland and Norway have the highest normal pension for both men and women in the OECD - at 67 years old.

But it's worth keeping in mind that both countries have a high life expectancy - 82.8 years for Iceland and 82.1 years for Norway.

Norway has one of the oldest retirement ages in the world.
Source: Getty

Libya

The retirement age in Libya was increased from 65 to 70 years last November.

However, according to the Libya Herald newspaper, "the new retirement age is not binding: people may still retire at 65".

China

China has one of the biggest gaps in retirement ages between men and women.

The retirement age for women in China is 50 years (or 55 years for female civil servants) and 60 years for men. 

A group practicing Tai Chi in China.
Source: Getty

India

India has one of the lowest pension ages in the region.

"In India, retirement comes quite early at 58 for private workers, while employees in the government sector are required to hang up their boots at the age of 60," the Times of India says.

Indian government workers retire at 60.
Source: Getty

United Arab Emirates

The UAE has one of the lowest retirement ages in the world - but there is a discrepancy between Emiratis and expats.

"The retirement age for Emiratis is 49 and for expatriate residents is 60," the official government portal of the United Arab Emirates says.

"Expatriates who are older than 60 are allowed to work up to the age of 65 after obtaining approval of the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation or the Undersecretary. After the age of 60, labour cards are renewed annually."


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Published 5 September 2018 at 5:22pm, updated 6 September 2018 at 6:57am
By Nick Baker