Retiring at 60 is a relatively new concept, and possibly a short-lived one in our history. As populations age – and age better – people are looking at a host of ways to stay in work and sustain their retirement income. We present five charts that sum up the changing landscape.
Average years spent in retirement (UK)
The idea that in one's sixties it might be time to step out of work and retire into a life of leisure is relatively recent. Just over a century ago, people in the UK died on average 23 years before the official retirement age.
Ageing around the globe: a greying population 2015-2050
The odds of reaching 100 years old are around 50/50 for someone age 20 in a Western developed economy. By 2050, reaching a century won't be exceptional. But the geography of ageing is complex: in many countries a significant proportion fail to reach age 65. That is still expected to be the case in 2050.
Today, increasing longevity is already disrupting the three-stage life-cycle model that emerged in the 20th century of education, work and retirement. Built on a life expectancy of around 70, it is unsurprisingly not coping with life expectancies far higher (the next generation could expect to live between 95 and 100).
"More years were added to human life expectancy in the 20th century than were added across all prior millennia of human evolution combined," says Professor Laura Carstensen of the Stanford Centre on Longevity, California. "In the blink of an eye, we nearly doubled the length of time that we are living."
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