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The Takeaway: Retirement Ages Must Rise Worldwide

Retirement ages must rise globally if everyone's gonna keep living longer and we don't want to bankrupt national pension systems,  a new international report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says. According to  OECD-an international organization with 34 member countries-the average woman and man could expect to live roughly 20 and 17 years beyond retirement age in 2010. If nothing changes, longevity gains could mean the retirees of 2050 see 20 to 24 post-work years.

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Bold action is required," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurrí­a. "Breaking down the barriers that stop older people from working beyond traditional retirement ages will be a necessity to ensure that our children and grand-children can enjoy an adequate pension at the end of their working life."

Retirement age in half of OECD countries is currently 65; in 14 countries it's between 67 and 69. Governments are aware there's a problem: In 28 out of the 34 OECD countries, increases in retirement ages are underway or planned. But they may not be aware of the magnitude: These increases are expected to keep pace with increased longevity in only six countries for men and 10 countries for women.

Governments should thus consider formally linking retirement ages to life expectancy, as in Denmark and Italy, and make greater efforts to promote private pensions," the report said.

Italy will begin doing so in 2013; Denmark in the mid-2020s.

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Last week, the chairman of insurance giant American International Group (AIG) said "retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old." Will people really have to work a decade or more longer than expected?, asks David Francis  in U.S. News and World Report. It's quite possible, retirement experts answer.

Tuesday Quick Hits: 

  • Tommy Chong battling stage one prostate cancer. The 74-year-old Cheech and Chong comedian said he takes hemp oil to ward off disease-related wooziness. Now legalizing marijuana "means a lot more to me than just being able to smoke a joint without being arrested," he said.
  • U.K. seniors can sue hospitals. A new measure allows older adults to sue hospitals for age discrimination, amidst "mounting evidence that the elderly are routinely being refused treatments for cancer, heart problems and strokes because of their age."

Photo: Jazhart Studios/Getty Images

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