Which European Country Has The Longest Retirement?
The official retirement age in many countries is creeping upwards due to improved quality of life, longer expected lifespans and an increase in population. At the time of writing, the average retirement age for both men and women in the UK is 66, however, many people retire early to make full use of their retirement.
This is especially important once you realise that the average life expectancy in the UK is only 80 years for men and 83 years for women, leaving you with an average retirement age of 14 years for men, and 17 years for women.
With this in mind, we decided to see which countries in Europe had the longest retirement time, earliest retirements and the longest life expectancy to find the best country in Europe to retire in.
The Best Countries To Retire In
With a lower retirement age, longer life expectancy and a longer retirement length compared to the UK.
The UK has one of the highest average retirement ages compared to the rest of Europe, with only 6 other countries having a higher average retirement age for both men and women. However, many of the countries with lower retirement ages have lower life expectancies as well.
For men, the best countries to retire in include Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Malta, Norway and Luxembourg.
For women, Switzerland, France, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia, Belgium, Germany and Cyprus all have a lower retirement age and longer life expectancy compared to the UK.
The Most Affordable Countries To Retire In
While having the longest retirement length possible is important, we have also taken into account the cost of living of these countries to see if you would be able to afford to retire in these countries, or, if it would be more cost-effective to retire early in a country with a cheaper cost of living.
Countries With A Higher Cost Of Living Compared To The UK
Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Jersey, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Ireland, France, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria and Malta all have a higher cost of living compared to the UK.
So while Switzerland, Sweden, Malta, Norway, Luxembourg appeared on the list of countries with a higher average life expectancy and longer retirement length than the UK for men, this does come with the trade-off of a higher cost of living.
Similarly, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Malta, Belgium and France have a similar issue for women. Clearly, the higher cost of living has a connection with life expectancy and retirement length.
However, Germany and Slovenia both have a lower cost of living index compared to the UK, making them the perfect countries for women to retire in, getting the best combination of retirement age, life expectancy, expected retirement length and cost of living.
Despite the fact that retirement ages continue to creep upwards across Europe, many people are still choosing to retire early.
For men, the country with the lowest retirement age is Slovenia, at 60 years. While for women, it is Russia at 55.
On the other hand, Iceland, Italy and Greece have the highest average retirement age in Europe at 67 years.
In addition, both Slovenia and Russia have a lower cost of living compared to the UK, meaning it would be potentially easier to retire early.
While average retirement age and early retirement can have a big impact on the length of your retirement, average life expectancy can also play a significant part.
The European countries with the highest average life expectancy include Liechtenstein for men at 83 and Spain and Switzerland for women at 86.
On the other hand, Ukraine & Russia have the lowest average life expectancy for men at 67 and for women, it is Moldova, at 76.
Both Liechtenstein and Switzerland have a higher cost of living compared to the UK, which could help to explain their higher life expectancy. Spain has both a higher life expectancy for women and a lower cost of living than the UK.
Expected Retirement Length
A combination of retirement age and average life expectancy can be used to find an expected retirement length for the countries in Europe.
Sweden, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Norway had the longest expected retirement length for men at 19 years. For women, Sweden, Slovenia and Austria had the longest expected retirement length at 24 years.
On the other hand, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia had the shortest expected retirement length for women at 15 years and Moldova only had an expected retirement length of 5 years for men.
Countries With Longer Retirement Lengths Than The UK
By looking at the chart above, we can see that there are several countries that have a longer expected retirement length than the UK, with 18 countries for men and 32 countries for women.
These include Sweden, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Norway, Malta, France, Switzerland, Finland, Luxembourg, Turkey, Ireland, Spain, Iceland, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Netherlands and Cyprus all having a longer expected retirement length for men when compared to the UK.
For women, Slovenia, Austria, France, Turkey, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Belarus, Switzerland, Malta, Finland, Spain, Montenegro, Luxembourg, Belgium, Albania, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Ireland, Germany, Romania, Greece, Netherlands, Iceland and Bulgaria all have a longer expected retirement length than the UK.
Countries With Higher Life Expectancy Than The UK
While life expectancy has continued to increase in the UK, and across Europe, there are still several countries in Europe that have a higher average life expectancy than the UK, for both men and women.
Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland, Italy, Sweden, Malta, Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Greece and France all have a higher average life expectancy for men, compared to the UK.
While Spain, Switzerland, Italy, France, Portugal, Finland, Greece, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia, Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Cyprus are leading ahead of the UK for average life expectancy for women.
Countries With A Lower Retirement Age Than The UK
The UK is in the top 25% when it comes to retirement age across Europe. This means there are many countries with a lower retirement age compared to the UK for both men and women. Of course, as we have discussed above, a lower retirement age doesn’t necessarily mean a longer retirement length.
The countries in Europe with a lower retirement age, for both men and women, compared to the UK include Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, France, Sweden, Norway, Belarus, Slovakia, Malta, Moldova, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria, Cyprus, Poland, Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Montenegro, Serbia and Germany.
Countries With A Later Retirement Age But A Longer Life Expectancy Compared To The UK
While retirement age is an important factor when looking at how long you will be able to make the most of your retirement, there are several countries in Europe that have a longer life expectancy despite having a later retirement age compared to the UK.
This is even more important when you take into account that many still choose to take early retirement.
For men, these countries include Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Netherlands and France.
For women, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Iceland, Netherlands and Ireland all have a later retirement age but a longer life expectancy compared to the UK.
Countries With A Lower Life Expectancy But Earlier Retirement Age Compared To The UK
Of course, when looking at data like this, averages are all we can go on. And while many countries have a lower life expectancy than the UK, this is an average and can have little impact on the individual. With this in mind, these are the countries with a lower life expectancy compared to the UK but have an earlier retirement age and a longer retirement length.
For men, these countries include Slovenia, Finland, Turkey, Belgium, Austria and Cyprus.
For women, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Montenegro, Estonia, Albania, Croatia, Turkey, Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania all had an earlier retirement age and a longer retirement length than the UK despite the lower life expectancy.
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We gathered the average life expectancies and average retirement ages for both men and women in different countries in Europe to complete this study. We then compared this data to find which countries had the longest expected retirement lengths. In addition, we used the cost of living index to find which countries had a higher cost of living compared to the UK.