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Retire in France at 62? In Turkey, it's 45

Government pension rules vary widely around the world, but more are hiking ages.

By Money Staff Oct 28, 2010 8:05PM

This post comes from Andrea Coombs at partner site MarketWatch.


In France, workers took to the streets in angry protest when lawmakers first proposed hiking that country's retirement age for full pension benefits to 62, from 60, but in many other countries, workers would welcome an age-62 rule. Except Turkey.


In Turkey, the retirement age now is essentially 45 for men and 41 for women, according to an October report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a research and policy group with 33 member countries.

Turkey abolished its standard retirement age in 1969; ever since, a worker's years in the labor market determine when he or she can claim benefits. Pension rules are complex, but essentially about 25 years of service are required in Turkey.


Assume that people start working at age 20, as the OECD did for its report, and you get people retiring in their mid-40s with a full pension.


Of the 30 countries the OECD studied, Turkey has the lowest age for receiving full retirement benefits. Greece came in second, with a retirement age of 57 for men and women. The Slovak Republic? Fifty-seven for women, but 62 for men.


Workers in the U.S., Iceland and Norway: Dream on. Those are the only countries on the list with a full retirement age right now that tops 65 for men and women -- Iceland and Norway are already at 67 for men and women, and the U.S. is moving in that direction.


But men in 20, and women in 16, of the 30 countries studied face higher retirement ages than the age 62 that France's parliament approved Wednesday.


Countries reduced pension ages not long ago

Retirement ages are marching higher as more countries face the fact that, with average lifespans getting longer and government budgets getting tighter, generous pensions may be unsustainable. By 2050, the average retirement age in the 30 countries studied rises to about 65 for men and women, up from an average of 63 for men and 61.9 for women this year.


Here's a main reason why: From 1960 to 2000, the average life expectancy for a 65-year-old man in an OECD country grew by four years, and women gained more than five years. From 2010 to 2050, 65-year-old men are expected to gain another three years, for an average lifespan of about 85 years, and women that age are expected to gain 3.6 years, for an average lifespan of almost 90 years. (Read the full report on the OECD website.)

But raising retirement ages is a relatively new trend. Between 1950 and 2010, 10 countries cut the retirement age for men and 13 did so for women, the report said.


"The average pension age in 30 OECD countries fell from 64.3 years in 1949 to a nadir of 62.5 years in 1993 for men, a drop of nearly two years," the report said. "For women, the fall over the same period was also just below two years, from 62.9 to 61.1 years in 1993."


Rules in flux, and complicated

As in many countries, Turkey’s law is changing: by 2050, men will have to wait until about age 62 to retire with full benefits; for women it’s about 61.


And keep in mind that pension rules are complex. Many countries have a range of ages, and the details vary widely. The OECD's figures reflect the age at which a person can retire and receive full benefits -- not reduced for claiming early -- assuming that person started working at age 20.


"The number we have tried to get is as broadly comparable [across countries] as we can, when you get full benefits, provided you are a full-career worker who starts at age 20," said Edward Whitehouse, the Paris-based head of pensions in the OECD's Social Policy Division, in a telephone interview.


Squeezing that sample worker into various countries’ pension formulas can lead to some slightly odd results. For instance, France’s pension rules include a years-of-service rule.


Currently (before the age-62 rule goes into effect), a 60-year-old can retire without a reduction in pension benefits if he worked a full 40-1/2 years; that rises to 41 years in 2012.


"For France, the reason we came up with 61 is that actually, although the pension age is broadly 60, our worker is a full-career worker from age 20," Whitehouse said. That worker "wouldn't be able to retire with a full pension until age 61, because of the 41-years rule."


Another example: Belgium’s retirement age is 65, "but actuarially un-reduced benefits are available from age 60 with 35 years' contributions," the OECD report said.


Another complication: Some countries have more than one pension plan -- Sweden has four. The study generally focuses on the most widely available age-based plan.


The average retirement age in OECD countries is still lower than it was in 1950; for men it won't reach its 1950 level until 2040, while women will reach the 1950 level by 2020.


Despite women's longer average lifespan, many countries offer them a younger retirement age. For instance, in the United Kingdom, women's pension age is 60, compared with men's 65. In the Czech Republic, women can retire at about age 59, versus men's 61.


About half of the countries studied had different ages for women and men at some point, but 12 of those 15 countries have made moves to make their retirement age the same for both sexes, the report said.


More from MarketWatch and MSN Money:

Oct 29, 2010 11:09AM
The meltdown started as soon as Bush was put into office by the Supreme Court, not the people.
Oct 29, 2010 11:07AM
Umm democrats? I thought the meltdown started when republicans had control over everything and Bush was looking for WMD's and started 3 wars or so.
Oct 29, 2010 11:04AM
Excuse me,  it was Bush's administration who wiped out your IRA's and 401K's.   My 401K is doing great under President Obama.  Sorry your's is not.
Oct 29, 2010 11:43AM
It really blows my mind that people really believe that one man can cause all the problems we are experiencing just by being president. It doesn't matter who it is dem or rep. Get a grip. People aren't blaming god for the whole world being screwed up are they, well maybe some are, but that just shows the mentality we are enduring around us. Maybe you can blame it on alla or aliens. Makes as much since.
Oct 29, 2010 11:17AM
Oct 29, 2010 11:43AM

@jcvcom: tapping phones without warrants, illegal search and seizure, foreign detention camps, torture. That is all against the constituion, and christian values. Jesus wouldn't even cast a stone at a prostitute. Yet you want to overthrow the president because he wants everyone to have healthcare. Repubs and Tea Party talk about being christians then they step on a women's head while she is held on the ground. Big Christian men.


Oct 29, 2010 11:04AM
I retired here with 50 and out! A couple years later my friends retired at 45 and out. I'm 70 and have been retired for 20 years with full pension.
Oct 29, 2010 1:23PM

Wow, once again a topic is turned into a political brawl..........

Okay, here's my thought...this article refers to pensions and retirement ages.  What it also says is that these are based on "one model", which is that of a person who begins working at age 20 and works full time until he is eligible for retirement.  What it doesn't talk about is the many options we have. 

I actually started working as a teenager (15) and have been employed full time (with the exception of some "personal" time back in the early '90's) ever since.  I just had my 47th birthday and am working more as a "hobby" than a necessity.  On the advice of my grandfather, I started saving 10% of my paycheck, regardless of how much it was, when I was 16 years old.  I never waivered in my contributions to my retirement fund.  I saved that 10% for 25 years, just as my grandfather had advised me to do.  During that 25 years, I shuffled my money from IRA's to Money Markets, to bonds, etc...and averaged about 4% to 4 1/2% annual return.  I now have the money to retire completely, which I am planning to do at age 50 and could have done at age 45, without ever receiving a dime from anyone or anything else.  Not to mention the fact that my retirement fund grows daily. 

So, regardless of your income or your pension situation, anyone who starts early enough and sticks with a plan like I did, can retire when they are ready. 

Oct 29, 2010 12:20PM

When SS was first brought to be, the avg. life expectancy was about 65 1/2 yr. Now life expectancies are much higher{about 77 for men, 82 for women}. Do the math, the sad fact is via that ratio we should be working much longer.

 Not to mention cronic drunks and drug addicts being allowed to dip into the fund now, along with a sundry of others. Of course its broke. But who is going to take away from the entitlement crowd? and still get elected? 

Oct 29, 2010 12:06PM
Back to work, all of you, back to work now.  Recess is over.
Oct 29, 2010 11:38AM
Funny! U travel the world (exception of Europe) and retirement ages are usually in the 50's and people take life allot easier. In the US life is very milartaristic..up at 7 to go to work, 12 o'clock time to eat lunch, and 5 o'clock time to go in, day out. People around the world laugh at this lifestyle, but here in the US we think to remain number one we have to do this "killing" routine. Now they want to raise the retirement age! I feel for the young of our country. As for me, I will leave the country in a few years to join other Americans in another country where life is allot easier. If U want the Cadillacs, the big house, and forever chasing that daggling goody of money..U are in the right place! The good ole USA!!     
Oct 29, 2010 11:28AM
Gee Rich... um, you sorta read my mind.  At leat one of us is stupid.  BTW, I suppose your idea of responsibility is to invest in companies that employee Americans and don't export jobs offshore or that are environmentally responsible, right?  So you probably have Halliburton in your portfolio, huh?
Oct 29, 2010 11:25AM

hahahah......yeah.  Not.  I'm sure Bush did not personally kill Santa (must be a coverup started by Tom Ridge - I didn't realize Santa was dead) but then again with Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and so many others to do his bidding, why would he need dirty his hands?  His role was to take credit, not responsibility.

Oct 29, 2010 11:15AM
Whaddya mean "sounds ignorant"?  I bet Bob's number 1 rule is to blame someone else.  I love it when all those people who allowed GW to walk all over the Constitution without a second thought of blaming him for trampling all over civil rights and international law can now blame the Dems (and President Obama personally) for the finacial meltdown that began during the reign of King George the Ignorant.  Then again, ignorance is bliss.  By the way, highly recommend a book called "Because It Is Wrong" for an educated and ethical discussion of torture and privacy committed by governments - especially our own.
Oct 29, 2010 11:23AM
He didn't kill Santa but he did use the constitution  and the middle class as toilet paper!
Oct 29, 2010 11:08AM
bubba gump bush messed up this great country 8 years off bull crap policies let the rich get richer let the poor get more poor 8 years of crap!
Oct 29, 2010 11:38AM

@ jcvcom: Calm down if anyone commited fraud it was the people in Florida in 2000 who put the clown in office.

@woodlandstx0 yes Pelosi was there but the dems were not in control for the 8 yrs. of the Bush presidency. Everyone wants to jump on the Dems because they can't fix the economy in 2 yrs. when the GOP had 12 yrs. to mess it up. Is that how you potty trained your children. Did you kick them out of your house because they pissed on the floor.

Oct 29, 2010 11:35AM
How quickly people forget.  It is because of Obama and his administration that the stock market has finally started to recover from the financial ruin that Bush left us with.
Oct 29, 2010 11:31AM
Working should be rewarding. If you're obsessed with retirement; you're probably a lousy employee.
Oct 29, 2010 2:35PM
I think that we should go back to, people that come to live here have to work before they get social security. We worked for it!!
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