DENMARK - The average retirement age in Denmark fell by almost two years between 1992 and 2008, according to a new study by Forsikring & Pension, the Danish Insurance Association (DIA).

Research by the organisation revealed the decline in retirement age is mainly driven by an increased and earlier transition to retirement, mainly by women, following various changes to tax-funded retirement schemes such as a transitional allowance and early retirement.

Figures from the report showed in 1992 the number of people retiring earlier than the state retirement age was 30%, but by 2008 this had increased to 50%, as the average age for retirees dropped from 65 to 63.

At the same time, the DIA noted that the decline in retirement age has occurred in a period when the life expectancy of a 60-year-old has increased by two years, so the overall decline in retirement age is effectively four years.

The DIA added while the tax-funded retirement schemes were designed to encourage later retirement, some of the reforms, or elements of the systems, have actually reduced the incentive to stay in work.

Per Bremer Rasmussen, chief executive of the DIA, suggested politicians had not made the most of opportunities to make it more attractive to work longer, as with good job opportunities for people over 60 and a booming economy for 15 years "we have had every opportunity to get people to stay longer in work".

Instead, he warned that in the current financial crisis and rising unemployment the situation is now much worse off, and suggested in the long run an increased labour supply is the most balanced way to ensure the welfare society rather than increased taxes or public savings.

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