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Grappling with deficits and debt, 14 countries -- including Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and Ireland -- are planning to increase their retirement ages to between 67 and 69 by 2050, according to the Washington Post. In the majority of euro zone countries, the full government retirement age is currently 65.
Two of the most severe changes are in debt-ridden Italy and Greece. Italy, historically one of the most generous welfare states, will raise men's retirement age to 69 and women's to 67 by 2050 (up from 62 and 60, currently). Greece recently made plans to up retirement age from 55 to 67.
In June, the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a report calling for countries with aging populations --such as Japan, the United States and many European countries -- to raise their retirement ages to account for increases in life expectancy. If they don't, the average retiree of 2050 can expect to live 20 to 24 years beyond retirement age, the group warned.
The age for collecting full retirement benefits in the U.S. is now 66, up from 65 a decade ago; beginning in 2017 it will increase by two months per year until it reaches 67 in 2022. In the U.S. and elsewhere, of course, a person can quit working at whatever age they please--"retirement age" refers to how old you must be to receive government pension benefits (in our case, Social Security). Here's a brief look at a few other recent/planned retirement age changes in Europe:
- In 2011, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero bumped the country's retirement age from 65 to 67 (and was promptly voted out of office).
- Austria raised the retirement age from 61.5 to 65 for men and from 56.5 to 60 for women.
- Slovakia upped the retirement age for men and women to 62, from 60 for men and 57 for women.
- The United Kingdom will gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 by 2028.
- Germany will gradually raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 by 2029.
Thursday Quick Hits:
- California retirees file for restraining order. The group is asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for a restraining order aginst the city of Stockton's moves to cut their retiree health benefits. "We served our 20 to 30 years," said Pat Hernandez, who retired in 2010 after 23 years as a Stockton library aide. "We lived up to our end of the bargain. And now we have no idea what might happen to us."
- TV news confidence at all-time low. In a new survey by Gallup, just 21 percent of those polled said they had "a lot" or "a great deal" of confidence in television news, down from 46 percent in 1993. Of 16 institutions tested--including the poilice, banks, newspapers and the military--Congress ranked the least trustworthy.
- Woody at 100. The Smithsonian Institution is releasing a three- CD boxed set to celebrate the centennial of Woody Guthrie's birth. New York Times music critic Larry Rohter says the set "proves to be full of unexpected moments ... seemingly designed to compel listeners to reassess their image of America's best-known folk singer."
Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP/Getty Images