Average effective retirement ages by gender in the USA, UK, Germany and France, 1970 – 2012

Figure 1 shows a divergence from a common starting point in 1974 effective retirement ages. The French in particular were the first to put their feet up and start retiring by the age of 60 by the early 1990. There was also a sharp increase in the average effective retirement age for men in the UK over a short decade. After that, British retirement ages for men started to climb again in the late 1990s. Figure 1 also shows that the gentle taper in the effective retirement age for American men stopped at the 1980s and started to climb again in the 2000s. The German data is too short to be of much use because of German unification. France only recently stopped seeing its effective retirement age fall and it is slightly increased recently – see figure 1

Figure 1: average effective retirement age for men, USA, UK, France and Germany, 1970 – 2012, (five-year average)

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Source: OECD Pensions at a Glance.

Figure 2 shows similar results for British and American women as for men in the same country shown in figure 1 . That is, falling effective retirement ages for both British and American women in the 1970s and 1980s followed by a slow climb again towards the end of 1990s. French  effective retirement ages for women followed the same pattern as for French retirement ages for men – a long fall  to below the age of 60 with a slight increase recently. The German retirement data suggest that effective retirement ages for German women is increasing.

Figure 2: average effective retirement age for women, USA, UK, France and Germany 1970 – 2012, (five-year average)

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Source: OECD Pensions at a Glance.

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Average effective retirement ages by gender, Australia and New Zealand, 1970 – 2012

Figures 1 and 2 shows a sharp increase in the average effective retirement age for men and women in both Australia and New Zealand between 1970 and 1990. After that, retirement ages for men in both countries stabilised for about a decade. effective retirement age than Australia.

Figure 1: average effective retirement age for men, Australia and New Zealand, 1970 – 2012, (five-year average)

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Source: OECD Pensions at a Glance.

Interestingly, in the 1970s and 1980s, New Zealand had an old-age pension scheme, known as New Zealand Superannuation, whose eligibility age was lowered from 65 to 60 in one shot in 1975. This old-age pension in New Zealand had no income test or assets test, but there was for a time a small surcharge on any income of pensioners. Nonetheless, New Zealand had a higher effective retirement age than in Australia where the old-age pension eligibility age is 65 with strict income and assets tests.

Figure 2: average effective retirement age for women, Australia and New Zealand, 1970 – 2012, (five-year average)

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Source: OECD Pensions at a Glance.

Figure 1 and figure 2 also shows that the sharp increase in effective retirement ages in New Zealand for both men and women after the eligibility age for New Zealand’s old-age pension was increased from 60 to 65 over 10 years.

Figures 1 and 2 also show the gradual increase in effective retirement ages for Australian men and women from the end of the 1990s.

Average effective retirement ages by gender, USA and UK, 1970 – 2012

Figure 1 shows a divergence in the 1970s where there is a sharp increase in the average effective retirement age for men in the UK over a short decade. After that, British retirement ages for men started to climb again in the late 1990s. Figure 1 also shows that the gentle taper in the effective retirement age for American men stopped at the 1980s and started to climb again in the 2000s.

Figure 1: average effective retirement age for men, USA and UK, 1970 – 2012, (five-year average)

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Source: OECD Pensions at a Glance.

Figure 2 shows similar results to figure 1 for British and American women. That is, falling effective retirement ages  for both British and American women in the 1970s and 1980s followed by a slow climb again during the 1990s.

Figure 2: average effective retirement age for women, USA and UK, 1970 – 2012, (five-year average)

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Source: OECD Pensions at a Glance.