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Retirement Plans From Around The World

Porcshe Moran

Retirement is becoming more and more of a pipe dream for workers all over the world . A troubled global economy paired with longer life expectancies are forcing many to continue to work far past the age they imagined because of a lack of sufficient savings. Governments have resorted to increasing the age that citizens can receive money from social security plans in an effort to minimize the amount of people in the system. Here is what retirement looks like in seven countries.


In 2011, the U.K. government ended fixed retirement in the country, which means that employers can no longer force staff to quit just because they are 65 or older. Men born before December 6, 1953 can begin drawing State Pension at age 65. For women born after April 5, 1950 but before December 6, 1953, their State Pension age is between 60 and 65. As the average life expectancy increases, the government has proposed to increase the pension age to 67 between 2026 and 2028. Those in the U.K. can continue to work after they reach State Pension age and still receive their State Pension. They can also put off claiming their State Pension, which might make them eligible for extra State Pension or a lump-sum payment when they claim it. In May 2011, HSBC Bank issued a survey that revealed that average retirement savings in the U.K. are £53,000. However, those that have financial plans and have taken professional advice (about 40% of U.K. households) averaged a savings of £123,000. People in the U.K. are choosing to retire later in life than in years past. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average retirement age for men rose from 63.8 years in 2004 to 64.6 years in 2010, and from 61.2 years to 62.3 years for women over the same period.


Under the Retirement Age (RA) Act, the minimum age of retirement in Singapore is 62. An employer can mandate retirement on the basis of age the day before a staff member's 62 nd birthday. Employers do not have to pay retirement benefits to an employee unless it is stated in the employment contract. There is also a provision in the RA Act that gives employers the option to reduce the wages and/or fringe benefits and bonuses of employees 60 and older by up to 10% when extending their employment beyond 60. To justify the reduction, an employer must prove changes in an employee's productivity, performance, duties and responsibilities. The Singapore government implements a comprehensive social security savings plan called The Central Provident Fund (CFP). Under the plan, all working Singaporeans and their employers make monthly contributions into three CPF accounts. Savings in the Ordinary Account can only be used for specific expenditures such as investment, education, CPF insurance and/or to purchase a home. The Special Account is earmarked for a person's elderly years and their investments in retirement-related financial products. Finally, the Medisave Account can be used for medical expenses such as hospitalization costs and approved medical insurance. The government encourages retirees to supplement their CPF with personal savings. Analysts of the system say that most Singaporeans aged 65 and above have about S$62,000, which is a little less than S$1,000 a month, stashed away in their CPF accounts.

This country in Southeast Asia enforces a compulsory retirement age of 56 for public sector employees. Early retirement is an option at age 40 after at least 10 years of government service. Public sector workers are provided with two types of retirement schemes including the pension scheme, which entails a monthly fixed income, a service gratuity and free medical treatment at government hospitals . The Employees Provident Fund scheme provides for retirement through a mandatory savings account in which employees and employers make monthly contributions. The government has a mandatory retirement savings scheme for all Malaysians working in the private sector. The retirement age in the private sector is 55. There has been a call to change the retirement age to 60, as officials say most Malaysians drain their funds within the first five years of retirement.


Filipinos can begin to receive their retirement benefits at 60 if they are unemployed and have contributed at least 120 monthly payments prior to the semester of retirement. At 65, they can begin to receive retirement benefits even if they are employed. Retirees can choose to be paid a monthly pension or in a lump sum. The monthly pension rate is tied to the members’ paid contributions, including the number of years of credited service and the number of dependent minor children. A 2008 financial IQ survey conducted by Citibank showed that only one out of 10 Filipinos saves for retirement.


The age at which U.S. citizens are eligible for full retirement benefits ranges from 65 to 67 depending on their year of birth. Early retirement begins at 62, at which age people can begin receiving a fraction of their full retirement payout. The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) issued a report stating that 27% of Americans are "not at all confident" about having enough money for a comfortable retirement , and only 13% are "very confident." The average working American in his or her 60s does not have enough savings stashed away for retirement, with most having only $144,000 in their 401(k). At a recommended 4% withdrawal rate, that comes to less than $6,000 a year in retirement income.


Down under, the social security program is called Age Pension. The government describes Age Pension as "an adequate income in your retirement." To receive Age Pension you must be at least 65 and meet the 10-year qualifying Australian residence requirements. Income, assets and other circumstances affect how much pension an Australian worker will get. From July 1, 2017, the qualifying age for Age Pension will increase from 65 to 65.5 years. The qualifying age for Age Pension will then rise by six months every two years, reaching 67 by July 1, 2023. Australia has a relatively conservative and mandatory retirement saving system for its citizens, which requires them to put away 9% of their salaries every year into a private/public 401(k) called a superannuation account. In 2010, the University of Canberra's NATSEM unit found that women aged 55 to 64 years were estimated to have an average superannuation balance of about $54,500, with average male superannuation balances at $113,200. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently announced that the savings requirement would be raised to 12 % over the next decade.


In the wake of its first budget deficit since the mid-'90s, the Canadian government raised the eligibility age for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 67 from 65 in March 2012. OAS is funded completely through government revenues as part of the country's public pension system . Canadian citizens or permanent residents 65 and older who have lived in the country for at least 10 years are eligible for OAS. Pension increases with the number of years a person has lived in Canada. Low-income Old Age Security recipients can also draw a monthly, non-taxable benefit from the Guaranteed Income Supplement. The average Old Age Security payout is $510.21 a month. Seniors who make less than $69,562 annually are eligible for the maximum payout of $540.12 a month. Those earning more than $112,772 cannot draw a pension from OAS. On average, Canada's seniors get $492.26 a month from the GIS. The maximum payout is set at $732.36 a month for those who make less than $16,368. In 2010, Canada's personal retirement savings rate was at 5% of income a far cry from the 20% of income that the average Canadian saved in 1982. Statistics Canada reports that in 2011, 5,956,010 Canadians contributed to a registered retired savings plan in 2010 for a total of $33.9 billion in contributions.

The Bottom Line

Retirement is handled differently depending on where you are in the world, but it seems that most individuals and governments are struggling with how to fund life after work.

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