Retirement - Retirement in Specific Countries

Retirement in Specific Countries

A person may retire at whatever age they please. However, a country's tax laws and/or state old-age pension rules usually mean that in a given country a certain age is thought of as the "standard" retirement age.

The "standard" retirement age varies from country to country but it is generally between 50 and 70 (according to latest statistics, 2011). In some countries this age is different for males and females, although this has recently been challenged in some countries (e.g., Austria), and in some countries the ages are being brought into line. The table below shows the variation in eligibility ages for public old-age benefits in the United States and many European countries, according to the OECD.

Country Early retirement age Normal retirement age Employed, 55–59 Employed, 60–64 Employed, 65–69 Employed, 70+
Austria 60 (57) 65 (60) 39% 7% 1% 0%
Belgium 60 65 45% 12% 1% 0%
Cambodia 50 55 16% 1% 0% 0%
Denmark none 65 77% 35% 9% 3%
France 62* 65* 51% 12% 1% 0%
Germany 65 67 61% 23% 3% 0%
Greece 55 65 65% 18% 4% 0%
Italy 57 60 26% 12% 1% 0%
Netherlands 60 65 (67) 53% 22% 3% 0%
Norway 62 67 74% 33% 7% 1%
Spain 60** 65** 46% 22% 0% 0%
Sweden 61 65 78% 58% 5% 1%
Switzerland 63 (61), 65 (64) 77% 46% 7% 2%
Thailand 50 60 ? ? ? ?
United Kingdom none 68 69% 40% 10% 2%
United States 62 67 66% 43% 20% 5%

Notes: Parentheses indicate eligibility age for women when different. Sources: Cols. 1–2: OECD Pensions at a Glance (2005), Cols. 3–6: Tabulations from HRS, ELSA and SHARE. Square brackets indicate early retirement for some public employees.

In the United States, while the normal retirement age for Social Security, or Old Age Survivors Insurance (OASI), historically has been age 65 to receive unreduced benefits, it is gradually increasing to age 67. For those turning 65 in 2008, full benefits will be payable beginning at age 66. Public servants are often not covered by Social Security but have their own pension programs. Police officers in the United States are typically allowed to retire at half pay after only 20 years of service or three-quarter pay after 30 years, allowing people to retire in their early forties or fifties. Military members of the US Armed Forces may elect to retire after 20 years of active duty. Their retirement pay (not a pension since they can be involuntarily called back to active duty at any time) is calculated on total number of years on active duty, their final pay grade and the retirement system in place when they entered service. Allowances such as housing and subsistence are not used to calculate a member's retired pay. Members awarded the Medal of Honor qualify for a separate stipend, regardless of the years of service. Military members in the reserve and US National Guard have their retirement based on a point system.

* In France, the retirement age has been extended to 62 and 67 respectively, over the next eight years.

** In Spain, the retirement age will be extended to 63 and 67 respectively, this increase will be progressively done from 2013 to 2027 at a rate of 1 month during the first 6 years and 2 months during the other 9.

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