Most people choose to retire at a certain age in their life. To retire means to cease working for a living, with almost all retirees receiving some kind of a pension, through the government or a private scheme. Many countries have an official age of retirement, at which an individual can begin to obtain a state pension, which they have made contributions to through taxation throughout their entire working life. The type of job which someone does will often affect the age at which they retire, with some professions being notorious for having little to no retirees, which is particularly prevalent in the art world.
It is becoming more common for individuals to keep working after an official age of retirement, and enter into a period of semi-retirement, either by cutting down the hours they work or choosing a different profession which doesn’t require as many working hours per week.
Retirement has not always historically been available, and is quite a modern phenomenon, first being introduced in the 18th century. Before the 18th century, life expectancy was between 26 and 40 years, making the idea of retirement redundant, as almost everyone would be expected to work until death. Some individuals were able to reach the age of retirement, but these were likely to be individuals who were already wealthy, and so unlikely to require any additional money for retirement.
Many countries began to implement retirement policies during the late 19th and early 20th century, starting in Germany, under Otto von Bismarck. The presence of a state-sponsored pension necessitated greater taxation, something which has continued to be controversial, as state pensions are often unfunded liabilities, something that is illegal for private pension companies.
The age of retirement varies significantly in the developed world, with the current average being around 60 for most Western nations. Although technically an individual can retire at any age, almost all state pensions have age limits before they can be drawn from, and many private pensions also have age limits, to maintain a beneficial tax status, and usually copy the official age of retirement. There has undoubtedly been a lot of controversy in recent years, with the age of retirement having to be raised in line with increasing life expectancy. The controversy stems from the different state in which elderly people find themselves, something that may or may not be caused by economic status.
Although the state pension is a right for most people in the Western world, it is recommended that individuals save money toward their retirement through a private pension. There are tax advantages to this, as pensioned money is often not taxed, making it the most efficient way to save money for retirement.