Germans retiring later in life
Germans are retiring later in life, according to a government-commissioned study that could bolster calls to raise the pension age.
Daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Wednesday that the study, “German Age Survey” concluded that between 2002 and 2008, the average retirement age rose from 62 to 63.
One third of people aged more than 60 are now working. And those that do retire increasingly want to use their time to do volunteer work, the study found.
The study comes amid a debate over how and when to raise the pension age from 65 to 67 to offset Germany’s ageing population, which means in the future there will be fewer workers bearing the cost of a great number of pensioners.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition plans to start incrementally raising the retirement age from 2012 onwards. By 2029, workers would retire at 67. The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have shifted their stance since the plan was struck under their “grand coalition” government with Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). The SPD now wants the age to start rising from 2015 at the earliest.
The new study also shows that increasing numbers of older workers use part-time work as a bridge to retirement. In 2008, one in four workers aged 60 to 64 shifted down from a full-time to a part-time job rather than retiring altogether.
There were clear differences between the sexes, with nearly 40 percent of men working past 60. By comparison, some 32 percent of women in the former west and 25 percent in the former east of Germany continue to work past their 60th birthday.
The study, which was carried out by the Family Ministry, also found that nearly one third of people aged 40 to 85 would like to become more engaged in community work, though generally they don’t know how to go about it.
Family Minister Kristina Schröder wants to find ways to tap this potential, the paper reported. The study, she said, confirmed that more people wanted to take responsibility for the welfare of the community.
“That is a goldmine we want to uncover,” she said.
Early retirees, for example, could play an important role in caring for the sick and elderly.
“For example, just reading the newspaper to them every day,” Schröder said.