Personal Finance 

Average Years of Retirement by Country

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I love reading statistics (I hate compiling them or drawing statistically significant conclusions, I prefer to make up stuff that sounds feasible) and so when I was introduced to this table of average years of retirement by country, I wanted to know more. The chart comes from data from the OECD and they have a lot more information, for more countries, if you’re interested.

The point of the chart was to explain that the French, who are protesting increasing the retirement age from 60 to 62, get the most years of retirement with nearly 25 years of retirement for men, over 27 years for women. We, in the United States, simply work too much (and the government spends only 6.0% on pensions).

Two things jump out at me –

  • Why are there no statistics from countries outside of Europe besides Japan? We need statistics from other countries, like more Asian countries, to put it into perspective because the chart makes it seem like citizens of the United States work until they’re dead. I researched it briefly and found this chart from the OECD (both based on the same data). Average labor force exit ages are higher in Mexico, Korea, Japan (makes the first chart confusing), Iceland, Portugal, New Zealand, Sweden,Ireland, and Switzerland than in the United States.
  • Women enjoy more retirement, probably because they live longer. Or they kill their husbands because they’re so annoying after retirement. 🙂

The whole “Society at a Glance” social indicators bit is pretty amazing, with reports on OECD countries that include their findings. Here is the one for the United States in which we learn that we are not getting any taller, have higher fertility rates (2.1 per mother, vs. 1.65 OECD average), and we spend more time eating than Canadians and Mexicans but way less than the French (who sound lazier and lazier with each passing sentence!).

What do you think?

{ 22 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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22 Responses to “Average Years of Retirement by Country”

  1. Texas Wahoo says:

    Without looking into it, is it possible that the Japan discrepency is actually because Japanese people live longer? Thus they can retire later, but still have more time in retirement?

    • Jim says:

      That’s the one thing about statistics… there’s always some little thing about it that makes it difficult to draw these types of conclusions. It’s possible the years in retirement figure is based on a lot of things, but ultimately the number of years is still longer right?

  2. freeby50 says:

    If you drill into the chart from OECD they have the specific data on average retirement ages and life expectancy. The life expectancy does vary some so that impacts it a little. The industrial nations almost all seem to be 82 years +/-1 year. Eastern europe countries are under 80.

  3. live green says:

    We also work longer hours and take less vacation days than many workers in European countries. We are doing better than some other countries, but would it be great to work way less like some of those countries do.

    • King Asa says:

      Here’s an interesting article I saw that mentioned how the US has no government mandated holidays or leave as opposed to many other countries.

      • live green says:

        Really great link. I really thought this is such a true statement with vacation days in America:

        “In other words, it is a privilege to be earned rather than a normal part of compensation.”

        What I have found is that sometimes employers almost make you feel bad for using your own vacation because work needs to be done.

  4. jon says:

    I left the workforce young (48) and had hoped that our country would redefine retirement to include opportunities for part time work from home.

    The technology sure is there, but amazingly few companies offer that option.

  5. zapeta says:

    We definitely work too much in the US. This why we’re all saving to retire sooner (hopefully!)

  6. FlyFisher says:

    Yup. Work too much and those French are lazy!

  7. Beth says:

    One this this chart doesn’t reflect is standard of living. It looks like Americans “work to death” but while people in other countries get more holidays and things like that, Americans have bigger houses, more vehicles, more land, etc. People in other countries seem to live with less than Americans and enjoy just as much — if not more — happiness.

    So the question is, what are you working for?

    • jsbrendog says:

      I know that my company, which is a french company and i work at the us branch, pays more in paris, works less, and has better benefits. I would def much rather work 4 10 hour days and have 3 days off and mroe vacation and more pay ec etc etc. i do not see a flaw. Since I dont need nor care about big cars big house etc it would be awesome

  8. sewingirl says:

    There isn’t a lot of info from countries with a marginalized industrial base, because people don’t retire! They work until they can’t physically do it anymore. I have a cousin who was in the peace corps for many years, several in the far east, and only the lucky workers in large cities have anything close to what we think of as retirement. In many Asian societies, the multiple generations live together, and all able adults work, the oldest members providing housekeeping and child care. You’d think it sounds like something out of National Geographic, but it’s still the norm in many areas. She was actually in the Czech Republic for a while, and taught in a University (in a veil!) and the students couldn’t wait to move to some other place, with regular work weeks, vacation time etc., 10 years ago, that was still for the elite only.

  9. NessaMae says:

    In Argentina the age of retirement for men is 65 and for women is 60. It is interesting that some other countries make this differentiation.

    On another note, it would be interesting to show job satisfaction with respect to retirement age. I know many people who choose not to retire because they enjoy their jobs so much. I also am very familiar with the opposite. Just a thought…

  10. Shirley says:

    I loved my job and the people I worked with and waited to retire until 65 since my employer provided my health insurance. That last year seemed like the longest year of my life, just knowing that it WAS the last year.

    Now waking up smiling every day makes me realize that every day of those 50 years was worth it for the enjoyment of life that I now have.

    • Imani says:

      Funny how that last year seems like an eternity! Same thing happened to me.

    • jsbrendog says:

      but isn’t it hard having nothing to do? When I am on vacation for more than 3 or 4 days I start to wonder what the hell i would do with so much free time and feel like i need to go back to work just to have something to do…

  11. jsbrendog says:

    is it retirement yet? my only hope (other than on day falling into enough money somehow to never have to work again) is that I am actually ABLE to retire when the time comes/i want to/need to.

  12. kara says:

    You can’t compare European countries with The United States.

    In France, the problem is not the retirement age of 62, the problem is now that you would have to work 42 years to benefit a full retirement, that’s what people don’t want when they realize that they get their first full time job around 28/30 years old! 28+42= working until 70 years old to get a decent retirement (generally around 1200 dollars per month!)
    European people earn around 25000 dollars/year, often less, rarely more (only high position)… when I compare with your country, it’s totally different, you can’t compare. I’m 30, creative director in an international advertising agency and I earn less than 30.000/year and yet French people around me think I earn too much while I could earn 4 times more in The USA for the same position (too bad my English is bad)

  13. joe says:

    I think I am tired of people bashing the French!

    • Kelly says:

      I totally agree, France has it right!!!! Along with other Eurpean countries. the US wants to work us to death, literally and give us poor health care. I had a pt who needed a medication only for a month. His insurance of course denied this medication and he would have to pay out of pocket a sum of $6000. The Social worker of course brought this to the Doctor and the Doctor said “oh, He has a job”.
      I’ve been a nurse for 18+ years and worked in 3 different states and let me tell you our Health system SUCKS!!! I think I am going to learn French!!

  14. Bill says:

    Everyone should prepare for retirement like it’s a destination.

    All the (daily) decisions you make ultimately reflect on your preparedness and ability to retire and when.

    IMO, one’s ULTIMATE goal PRIOR to retirement is to be ABSOLUTELY DEBT FREE. After that it’s all about paying your real estate taxes and enjoying life.

  15. Kelly says:

    The government keeps raising the retirement age. so people will die before they get any or little social security. Why should I work til I am almost 70 years old to retire and get social security. I think that is Bull_ _ _ _!!

  16. Geoffrey says:

    The United States makes early retirement possible in Europe, Japan and Australia because the American taxpayer is picking up the tab to defend the world’s land, water and air to keep it free for business and enterprise. God bless America. I hope one day the socialist scales will fall from European eyes. Wake up, world!

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