A look at pensions plans worldwide

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The Independent Online

UNITED STATES. Retirement age is now 65.5 and gradually increasing. It will become 67 for people born after 1960. The US government's Social Security pension system faces long-term financial problems as retirees from the population boom after World War II use social security benefits and fewer workers contribute the current plan.

RUSSIA. Current retirement age is 60 for men, 55 for women. Many retirees work beyond that to supplement their pensions, which average the equivalent of about US$80 a month. Some want the age raised but others say with Russia's high mortality rates it doesn't make sense.

ITALY: The state pension system has helped make Italy one of the world's most indebted nations. At 15 percent of gross domestic product, pension spending is among the highest in Europe. In 2008, the retirement age changes from 57 to 60 for women, and 65 for men.

FRANCE: The retirement age is 65 for the private sector, but varies in the public sector, depending on the profession. France has €900 billion (US$1.06 trillion) in pension liabilities to fund in addition to its record levels of public debt. As soon as 2010, France may no longer have enough workers to fund pensions for its swelling ranks of retirees.

JAPAN: Japan's retirement age is low, with most companies setting the mandatory age at 60, but the rapid aging of society is forcing changes. From 2005 to 2015, the number of Japanese aged 60 or older will increase by about 7.25 million, while those between the ages of 15 and 29 will decrease by about 3.81 million. This would mean one in three will be over 60 by 2015. Last year, the government required companies to gradually raise the retirement age by 2013.

GREECE: The European Union has warned Greece that within five years it will face a problem due to increased aging of its population. With one of the lowest birthrates in the EU, its population of 10 million is rapidly aging. Experts say Greece must begin dealing with the problem before 2010, when costs for pension are expected to skyrocket. Under the current system, the basic retirement age for men is 65 and for women it is 60.

GERMANY: The government is considering raising the retirement age to 67 from 65. Some figures have shown that of that only two of five people between the ages of 55 and 64 are still in the work force these days.

CHILE: Retirement age is 60 for women, 65 for men. Chile pioneered the private capitalization system for retirement that has been in effect since the 1980s amid sporadic debate, with some saying the system is bound to failure because many employers are not making the mandatory contributions to their employees' retirement funds.

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