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Average Years of Retirement by Country

Posted By Jim On 09/27/2010 @ 12:23 pm In Personal Finance | 22 Comments

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 [3], 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 [4] from the OECD (both based on the same data [5]). 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 [6] 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?

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[3] average years of retirement by country: http://www.economist.com/node/17008998

[4] this chart: https://community.oecd.org/community/factblog/blog/2010/02/03/keep-on-working

[5] same data: http://www.oecd.org/document/24/0,3343,en_2649_34637_2671576_1_1_1_1,00.html

[6] one for the United States: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/27/22/42672498.pdf

Thank you for reading!