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Scores of Germans Retiring Early Costing Country Billions

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel made Jochen Heyn, a heating technician with muscular arms and a big smile, an offer he couldn’t refuse.

When her government allowed Germans to retire at age 63 -- two years earlier than in the past -- without cuts to their benefits, Heyn jumped at the opportunity after more than four decades of carrying radiators and fixing boilers. Suffering from a bad shoulder, an arthritic knee and diabetes, Heyn says it was an easy decision.