15 Countries With the Lowest Retirement Age (The U.S. Doesn’t Come Close)

These countries allow citizens to retire younger than the official retirement age.

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Updated June 11, 2024
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Retirement age is a big factor in planning for the future, particularly when considering financial security and a stress-free retirement. While many people in the United States work well into their 60s, some countries allow their citizens to retire earlier.

The data used in this article is from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which tracks various economic indicators, including retirement ages, to reveal interesting contrasts globally.

We explore 15 countries with retirement ages ranging from the highest to the lowest and provide insights into how their retirement systems function.

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Marc Jedamus/Adobe reykjavik at wintertime Iceland

Current retirement age: 67

Average age when leaving workforce: 66 men, 63.5 women

Iceland offers a comprehensive pension system made up of three pillars: social insurance, pension funds, and supplementary pension savings.

This three-pronged structure helps ensure that retirees have a stable income, even if they leave the workforce earlier than the official retirement age.


Andrey Armyagov/Adobe aerial shot of green town

Current retirement age: 67

Average age when leaving workforce: 64.9 men, 63.1 women

Norway's pension system is also divided into three parts: retirement pension from the National Insurance Scheme (folketrygden), occupational pension or contractual early retirement pension (AFP) from employers, and private pension savings. 

The country's strong social safety net and high standard of living contribute to a secure retirement.


gnoparus/Adobe amsterdam canal with buildings

Current retirement age: 66.3

Average age when leaving workforce: 63.9 men, 62.8 women

The Netherlands has a well-regarded pension system that’s ranked as one of the best in the world. 

It’s composed of three parts: the General Old-Age Pensions Act (AOW), occupational pensions, and individual banking or insurance products. This robust framework provides sufficient financial security for retirees.

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Alan Smithers/Adobe sydney skyline

Current retirement age: 66

Average age when leaving workforce: 64.1 men, 63.3 women

Australia’s retirement system uses a three-pillar approach: the means-tested Age Pension, compulsory superannuation savings as well as voluntary private savings both inside and outside the superannuation system.

The superannuation system requires employers to contribute to their employees' retirement funds, supplementing the government-provided Age Pension. This system allows many Australians to retire comfortably.


Madrugada Verde/Adobe dublin ha penny bridge

Current retirement age: 66

Average age when leaving workforce: 63.6 men, 63.9 women

Ireland's retirement system is made up of two parts: occupational pensions, which are provided by the employer, and personal pensions (also known as private pensions), which are provided by a life assurance or investment provider. 

This mixed approach provides sufficient retirement income, allowing many to retire in their early 60s.

United Kingdom

Leonid Andronov/Adobe bridge of westminster london

Current retirement age: 66

Average age when leaving workforce: 63.6 men, 63.1 women

The UK offers a state pension funded by National Insurance contributions in addition to private workplace pension schemes. This combined system provides a safety net that enables many to retire early, although individual savings and investments are also crucial.

United States

Sergey Novikov/Adobe panorama from above pennsylvania avenue

Current retirement age: 66

Average age when leaving workforce: 64.9 men, 64.7 women

The U.S. Social Security system provides a foundation for retirement income, but many Americans rely on personal savings, IRAs, and employer-sponsored plans like 401(k)s. 

Despite an official retirement age of 66, financial pressures often keep people in the workforce longer.


JFL Photography/Adobe berlin skyline panorama

Current retirement age: 65.7

Average age when leaving workforce: 63.1 men, 63.1 women

Germany's pension system is based on four parts: the state pension, the civil service pension, professional pension schemes, and old-age provision for farmers. The multipart retirement system provides good financial security for Germans in their golden years.

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Scanrail/Adobe nyhavn copenhagen denmark

Current retirement age: 65.5

Average age when leaving workforce: 63.8 men, 63.5 women

Denmark provides a universal basic pension, supplemented by occupational and private pensions. This multi-layered system ensures financial stability for Danes.


SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe portugal old city skyline

Current retirement age: 65.3

Average age when leaving workforce: 64.9 men, 63.2 women

Portugal's pension system includes a state-sponsored old-age pension in addition to supplementary and private pensions. This structure helps maintain Portuguese retirees' standard of living and financial security after they call it quits at work.


JFL Photography/Adobe spiegelrei canal at sunrise

Current retirement age: 65.0

Average age when leaving workforce: 60.9 men, 60.1 women

Belgium offers a comprehensive public pension system, along with occupational and private pensions. The country's various retirement benefits allow many to exit the workforce well before the official retirement age.


DILIP/Adobe maligne lake jasper national park

Current retirement age: 65.0

Average age when leaving workforce: 63.9 men, 62.6 women

Canada's retirement system includes the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security, and personal savings. This combination provides a comfortable retirement for Canadians, although personal savings plays a crucial role.


Jose Luis Stephens/Adobe panoramic view of providencia

Current retirement age: 65.0

Average age when leaving workforce: 64.7 men, 61.0 women

Chile's pension system is currently based on the Universal Guaranteed Pension (PGU) system and employer-financed social security pensions. This retirement system is evolving, with many ongoing reforms to address inequalities and improve benefits.


Mistervlad/Adobe helsinki cityscape

Current retirement age: 65.0

Average age when leaving workforce: 63.0 men, 63.6 women

Finland provides a complex retirement system composed of four parts: the national pension, statutory earnings-related pension, employer-specific supplementary pensions, and an individual pension. 

This robust system ensures financial security for retirees, allowing many to retire before the official retirement age.


ake1150/Adobe yasaka pagoda and sannen zaka

Current retirement age: 65.0

Average age when leaving workforce: 68.2 men, 66.9 women

Japan's pension system is composed of the National Pension System and the Employees’ Pension Insurance system. Despite the official retirement age, cultural and economic factors often keep people working longer.

Bottom line

BooNKer/Adobe happy elderly friends drinking wine

Understanding global retirement ages highlights the importance of financial planning so you can plan for retirement. 

If you're looking to retire early, it's crucial to check your financial health and adjust your savings strategy accordingly.

How does your retirement planning stack up against these international benchmarks?

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Adam Palasciano

Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.