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Korean Life Expectancy Increases, but Low OECD Rank in Retirement Preparations
Gangnam Lifestyle
Korean Life Expectancy Increases, but Low OECD Rank in Retirement Preparations
  • By matthew
  • November 18, 2014, 04:46
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Elderly Korean men take a walk.
Elderly Korean men take a walk.


The life expectancy of South Koreans has gradually increased to join the middle ranks among OECD nations, but the country still ranks low in preparation for later life.

According to the OECD on Nov. 17, Koreans’ average life expectancy was 81.3 years in 2012, ranking 13th among 32 OECD members.

Japan had the highest life expectancy of 83.2 years, followed by Iceland (83.0 years), Switzerland (82.8 years), Spain (82.5 years), Italy (82.3 years), Australia (82.1 years), and France (82.1 years).

Mexico had the lowest life expectancy with 74.4 years, followed by Turkey (74.6 years), Hungary (75.2 years), Slovakia (76.2 years), Estonia (76.5 years), Poland (76.9 years), the Czech Republic (78.2 years), and Chile (78.9 years), all of which had life expectancy below 80 years.

The life expectancy of Koreans is continuously increasing, but their preparations for later life are lacking compared to the increasing life expectancy.

Korea's pension fund investment compared to gross domestic profit (GDP) stayed at 4.0 percent in 2010, ranking 29th among 34 OECD members. Only five nations ranked lower than Korea, including Greece (0.0 percent), France (0.2 percent), Luxembourg (1.9 percent), Turkey (2.3 percent), Slovenia (2.5 percent), and Belgium (3.8 percent).

The Netherlands (134.9 percent), Iceland (123.9 percent), and Switzerland (113.8 percent) had more pension fund investment than GDP. Also, Australia (90.9 percent), England (88.7 percent), Finland (82.1 percent), and the U.S. (72.7 percent) were highly ranked.

Since Koreans’ life expectancy has increased, the lack of later life preparation becomes more apparent, because many Koreans continue to work after retirement at 60. In fact, the effective average retirement age for Koreans was 71.1 years for men, ranked second following Mexico (72.3 years). The effective retirement age for women was 69.8 years, also ranking second following Chile (70.4 years) in 2012. This means that Korean men work 11.1 years more after 60, which is the official retirement age.