Where in the world can you have the longest retirement?

As people in France protest over pension reforms, Al Jazeera examines the age of retirement and life expectancy in different countries.

(Al Jazeera)

A bill to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64 is being met with protests across France.

The proposed reform was accelerated by President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday and comes as France faces a demographic challenge.

The number of active workers able to support the public pension system is shrinking with more people retiring.

The chart below shows the differences between the average retirement age for men and women and their respective life expectancies in several countries.

Life expectancy, compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO), measures the average number of years that a newborn could expect to live given sex and age-specific death rates at the time of his/her birth.

Retirement age, collected from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2020, measures the mandatory and voluntary age at which a person who entered the labour force at age 22 will work up until.

Where do people live longest after retirement?

In South Africa, men spend on average only two years in retirement.

In Eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Latvia and Russia – as well as in Argentina, Mexico, and South Africa – men spend on average less than 10 years in retirement.

Iceland, Israel and Norway have the oldest retirement ages at 67. However, life expectancy is also about 81 – meaning on average men in these countries spend 14 years in retirement.

Women in general have a longer life expectancy than men – and therefore better prospects of a longer retirement.

In South Africa, women spend less than 10 years in retirement, with an average life expectancy of 68 and a retirement age of 60. This is followed by Mexico and India, where women spend about 14 years in retirement.

In Saudi Arabia, women on average spend 26 years in retirement with the average age of retirement being 47 years old.

However, individual real-life experiences vary greatly from the averages taken above, given different factors such as wealth, geography and the prevalence of diseases.

Increasing retirement age?

As life expectancy rises, some countries want to increase the retirement age in the future.

This includes the United Kingdom, where the government has signalled that it hopes to keep the proportion of adult life spent in retirement constant with the average over the last 10 years.

In many countries, you can retire before the age set by government pensions, and some nations have a flexible retirement age – meaning pensions can be taken out within a certain range. This includes Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States, according to the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Source: Al Jazeera