The Spanish government has agreed on its new pension reform, which will allow citizens to choose between two ways of calculating the pension they will receive after retirement: either basing it on the last 25 years of tax contributions or extending the period to 29 years and eliminating the two worst years. These will be the options for calculating the amount to be received by people who retire from now on. But how many years do you have to contribute to receive 100% of the pension? And in other European countries?
In Spain, in order to collect the full regulatory base of your pension, you have to calculate a series of requirements related to age and the number of years you have been paying taxes into the system. In 2023, you can retire at the age of 65 if you have paid taxes for a total of 36 years and 6 months, and from 2027 that will become 37 years. On the other hand, if you have contributed for a shorter period than this, the retirement age will be 66 years and 4 months old. The minimum established to be able to collect a contributory pension is established at 15 years of contributions, for which you will be paid 50% of the regulatory base.
In the same way, most European states have either already reformed their pension systems or plan to do so by raising the retirement age, with differences ranging between, for example, Germany's 67 years and the 64 of France. However, almost all of them allow retirement before the set age, as long as it is explained by long working careers, which in some cases exceed 40 years of taxpaying.
France and Sweden, the lowest retirement age
The retirement age in Spain is one of the highest in the European Union, while France and Sweden have the lowest minimum ages, although France has recently raised it. Thus, the age requirement for French retirees to collect a pension has risen from 62 to 64 years. Regarding the calculation to collect 100% of the pension income, you are required to have contributed for 42 years, although the reform contemplates raising the period to 43 years from 2027.
Sweden, on the other hand, provides for a flexible retirement age of 62 to 68 years old for income-related pensions and takes into account the entire working life in the calculation of the pension. In this Nordic country they have implemented a system of notional accounts, under which 18.5% of salary is allocated to a person's future pension, and half of this amount is paid by the company.
Likewise, four years of contributions are added for each child, while the lowest pensions are supplemented with a housing allowance. For its part, Slovakia is another of the European countries with the lowest minimum retirement age, set at 62.
Portugal, Italy and Greece
Portugal, on the other hand, has a minimum retirement age of 66 years and 8 months. In Spain's Atlantic neighbour, for each month that retirement is brought forward, 0.5% of the pension to be received is lost, but each year of contributions over a total of 40 reduces this penalty by four months. In addition, the country has implemented a sustainability factor, which reduces the amount of the pension if life expectancy rises, forcing people to work more years to compensate for this loss.
In Italy, the minimum retirement age is 67, with at least 20 years of contribution necessary to collect the minimum pension. On the other hand, to collect the full pension, it is necessary to have contributed 42 years and 10 months or 41 years and 10 months in the case of women, at a minimum age of 62. However, the Italian executive has approved a modification in this year's budget to reach the "Quota 100", for people who are at least 62 years old and have made 38 years of contributions, an exception that can only be used by those who retired between 2019 and 2021.
In the case of Greece, the minimum retirement age is set at 67, with a minimum of 15 years of contributions. Although it is true that there are also exceptions - just as in Italy - under which Greek citizens are able to receive full pension at the age of 62, as long as they have contributed for 40 years.
Germany is increasing the age to 67
Germany is in the process of gradually increasing its age for retirement with full pension, so that by 2031 it will reach the age of 67 with 35 years of contributions. However, the German measure excludes people who have contributed for at least 45 years and collectives such as those with severe disabilities or workers in the mining sector.
The German pension system has three well-developed pillars: public pensions, company plans and private pension plans. To collect the public pension you must have contributed for at least 5 years, but that gives rise to a subsistence pension, because the amount is calculated on the basis of the sum of the contributions that have been made.
As for how the German system works, the public pension is calculated according to a points system obtained by the worker, whose value depends on whether the contribution is greater or less than the average of all taxpayers. Once you reach your retirement date, each year's points are tallied and the sum is multiplied by the value of a factor set by the government.
From the Austrian "backpack" to Ireland's payment system
Other countries, such as Austria and Poland, set the retirement age at 60 for women and 65 for men. In the case of Austria, 45 years of contributions are required to collect the full pension, and they have a defined contribution system (the Austrian backpack), that is to say, it is paid out according to what has been contributed during the entire working career . Likewise, Belgium also requires 45 full years of contribution and the legal age is 65 until 2025, although it will rise to 67 in 2030.
In the Republic of Ireland, a country favoured by technology multinationals due to its low company taxation, the contributory state pension is granted after reaching the age of 66 and after having made sufficient payments to the country's social security. In this way, to obtain the maximum contributory pension, it is necessary to start contributing before turning 56 and to make at least 520 payments of the highest rate to social security, or to have made at least 260 contributions at the highest rate if the applicant turned 66 before 2012.
Beyond the European Union
Beyond the EU, the age varies greatly depending on the country where you work. In the United States people who want to access a pension will have to wait until the age of 67, while in the United Kingdom, the minimum age for a full pension is close to 66.
In Britain, the reforms that have been carried out plan for the minimum age for full pension to increase to 67 years old between 2026 and 2028, and to 68 years between 2044 and 2048, although these dates are reviewed every five years. It is possible to apply for a public pension once you have reached the age of 66 and have contributed for at least 10 years. The retirement age is much lower in the case of Russia, where men can retire from 61 years and 6 months, while women can do so from 56 years and 6 months.