Governments Keep Moving State Pension Goal Posts

Employees looking to stop working early have had their hopes dashed as governments around the world keep moving the state pension and retirement age goalposts further away.

A new study reveals that cash-strapped governments are easing their financial stress by moving statutory retirement ages as a way to delay paying state pensions.

One of the main economic problems for governments is populations are aging, making pensions and healthcare more expensive.

For expats and their employers, this is reflected in variable retirement ages depending on which country they are based in.

According to data released by global benefits firm Mercer, the state retirement age has been steadily put back in many countries between 2004 and 2014.

Early retirement

In some countries, age 65 was the standard retirement age in 2004, but in some, the bar has been raised still higher.

In 2014, workers cannot expect to retire until they are aged 67 in Greece and Spain, 66 in Portugal and between 65 and 67 years old in Australia, Germany and the US.

In countries where early retirement was the norm in 2004, workers can still expect to put in a longer shift.

Men and women both retired at 55 years old in Malaysia in 2004, but now have to work on until they are 60 to receive a state pension.

In Lebanon, women could retire at 55 in 2004, but now have to wait nine extra years, until they are 64, to receive their pension. Men generally retired at age 60 in 2004, but now have to work until they are 64 years old.

State pension lottery

In many countries, the average extra number of years workers have to continue clocking in is four to five years, according to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

And although many governments have evened out retirement ages so men and women give up work at the same time, some still have large discrepancies between pension starting ages for the genders.

In Colombia, women can draw their state pension at 57 years old, while men have to wait until they are 62 and in The Ukraine, women get to retire at 56 years old, while men must work until they are 60.

“The issue for expats and their employers are benefit rules and retirement laws are continually changing. This can affect the state pension age for many expats who can expect to give up work sometimes as much as seven years earlier in one country than another,” said a Mercer spokesman.

“For employers, the target is to create attractive benefit packages that meet different regulations in different countries.”


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