How does the new French retirement age stack up globally?

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French President Emmanuel Macron used executive powers to raise the government’s minimum retirement for national pension benefits on Tuesday amid protests inside and outside the chamber.

key takeaways

  • The for the French to receive government retirement benefits has been raised from 62 to 64.
  • The average retirement in the United States is 64.9 for men and 64.7 for women, although Americans can claim benefits at 62.
  • Indonesia has the world’s oldest average retirement of over 68, while Saud retires on average before his 60th birthday.

Thousands of workers went on strike in the days before the decision, as Macron continues to push to raise the retirement from 62 to 64.

France’s retirement —even after being raised to 64—is lower than the normal age people can access government-sponsored retirement benefits in other economies. According to the IMF, the statutory requirement for retirement in Europe is often 65.

The average at which people retire varies widely globally, with OECD data indicating the average effective labor market exit for men is anywhere between 58.9 and 68.7 years old. The ages of the women ranged from 51.1 to 69.2. The age retirees can receive government benefits is variable as well.

France has a lower than average retirement age

While workers in France struggle to maintain their current retirement age, workers in other countries may be considering how long they may have to stay at their jobs.

In the United States, workers can begin collecting Social Security retirement benefits as early as 62, and your benefit amount increases if you delay collecting. According to government statistics, about 90% of Americans 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.

In Canada, early retirement is available at 60, while the normal retirement age is 65. In Israel, women can retire at age 62 with a state pension, while men must wait until age 67. In Mexico, early retirement begins at age 60. While full retirement requires waiting till the age of 65 to 68 depending on the retirement plan.

In Germany following France, early retirement for some begins at age 63.7, while the general retirement age is 65.7. Across the English Channel, the normal retirement age in the United Kingdom is 66.

Macron’s changes are unpopular

According to OECD data from 2020, early retirement in France begins between the ages of 55 and 62, and regular retirement begins between 63.5 and 64.5. Compared to workers around the world, France’s retirement age is slightly better than average and far from the worst.

Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron is working to facilitate parliament to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, as part of a plan he says will make the French economy more competitive.

Meanwhile, workers in vital industries such as waste collection are on strike to take a stand against the change. Macron extended the age even without the support of lawmakers, with many calling for protests unilaterally.

In addition to raising the retirement age, Macron’s proposal would require workers to wait until age 67 for a full pension if they worked for less than 43 years.

Economic forces may require change

According to a Gallup poll, the average planned retirement age in America is on the rise. But in France it is the opposite. Since the 1970s, the average retirement age has gradually declined in France, while other countries have raised their age for pension benefits.

French workers don’t want to give up on that trend, but economic realities may force change.

Just as the Social Security system in the United States may find itself under pressure in the future due to an aging population and other demographic factors, the French system may find itself in deficit over the next decade. Barring any changes to the United States Social Security Fund, it is projected to run out of cash in 2034.

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