World and Nation

Global economic agency sees need for retirement age to keep rising

PARIS — Retirement ages in advanced economies will have to rise more than currently planned if countries hope to cover the increase in costs caused by aging populations, a global economic organization warned Thursday.

Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said more “fiscally and socially responsible” measures would be needed to avoid “a resurgence of old-age poverty in the future.”

In a report, the organization said that by 2050, the average age in industrialized countries for drawing pensions would reach 65 for both sexes. This represents an increase from current levels of about 1.5 years for men and 2.5 years for women.

But the trend toward later retirement and other recent changes, like promoting private pensions, will still not cover the assumed increase in liabilities as the working population shrinks and the number of retirees climbs.

The report, “Pensions at a Glance 2011,” said life expectancy was rising faster than the increase in pension ages by an average of two years for men and 1.5 years for women.

The size of the working-age population in the 34 countries belonging to the organization will peak around 2015 and fall more than 10 percent by 2050, meaning that a smaller group of workers will be supporting a larger number of retirees.

Thus, financial sustainability for retirement systems “is not guaranteed unless pension ages are increased beyond current plans in most of the OECD,” the report said.