Britons take pensions earliest in Europe but go on working
The findings offer a warning to savers who planned to access all of their pensions under the new retirement freedoms next year, that if they take too much, too early they could be forced to work longer.
The average British worker first accessed personal pension savings at the age of 58, according to research by The European Commission, the Telegraph reports.
In just a handful of eastern European countries did people take their pensions earlier.
By contrast, Spanish workers accessed pensions at 62 on average – four years later than British employees. The gap was seven years in Norway and Iceland, where workers waited until they were 65.
Yet Britain also had a higher proportion, at 20 per cent, working past 65. In Spain the figure was just 5%.
The research did not specify whether people were working later in life out of choice or necessity.
The official figures suggested that British savers were making poor choices about using funds set aside for old age.
The figures, which relate to 2012, found that savers in Bulgaria, Poland and Slovenia took their pensions aged 57.
In Greece and Italy it was 58, the same as Britain. French workers waited until 59 and Germans to 61.
As in Spain, just 5 per cent of French people aged 65 or over were still in work. In Ireland, 6.8 per cent of over-65s were still in the workplace. Just seven countries had a figure higher than Britain’s 20 per cent.
David Smith of Tilney Bestinvest told the Telegraph: “The big difference between Britain and the rest of Europe is that we are a nation of home owners – and many people access pension savings early to pay off mortgages or other debt.”