Pensioned off?

2007

Thinking about retiring soon? If you're working in Europe, you may need to rethink your plans. Because while we Americans often think that Europeans have a pension system that would make most other countries drool, the reality is anything but sweet. As this article from the BBC explains, unpleasant changes are afoot.

For example, in the UK, you can now expect to retire at 68 instead of 65. That's right, if you want a full state pension, those are the proposed rules that will gradually set in over thirty years (if you're already 64, I wouldn't worry too much). However, there is a break for the ladies – because so many of you are forced to abandon your career to mind the children, you will only have to work 30 years instead of 44 years to earn a full state pension.

French people, don't laugh. You may have the highest birth rate in Europe, but your labor statistics are abominable: only 41% of your adult population works, and very few of those are in the age 55-65 age group. I also wonder what percentage of those people pay taxes.

Your new president has told people that if they want to retire at 53, they'd better not expect the state to pay for it. I tend to believe him. As is, most people have to work to 65 for full pension rights, and state workers have to work 40 years instead of 37.5 years to qualify.

Germans, thing aren't much rosier in your neck of the woods. Recent labor changes mean that retirement is now at 67 instead of 65. Hey, someone has to pay for your current levels of pension spending, which are among the highest in the world.

As you can see, market and life realities mean that the golden parachute like pension in Europe may sadly be a thing of the past. As the cost of everything continues to skyrocket, life expectancy continues to increase, which means that retiring early may finally be what it always should have been – something for the rich!

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