25 Best Countries for Retirement Security: 2017

In the annual report from Natixis Global Asset Management, the U.S. fell three notches in its ranking since last year

The United States dropped three notches in the 2017 Global Retirement Index report from Natixis Global Asset Management, which measures retirement security in 43 developed countries, based on four broad categories: finances, health, material well-being and quality of life.

The U.S. lags most European countries, several of which placed in the top 10.

Life expectancy in the U.S. declined to 30th place despite the highest spending per capita on health, and income inequality in the U.S. rose, yielding the lowest score for income equality among the 43 countries.

(Related: 10 Best Foreign Countries for Retirement: 2017)

“The results suggest that millions of lower-income Americans are missing out on that economic growth and may struggle to save for a secure retirement as a result,” according to the report.

It also notes that “American retirees are less happy,” as reflected in the decline of the quality of life measure.

On the plus side, the U.S. continues to rank in the top 10 for finances, it ranks the fifth highest for per capita income and has improved its air quality.

The country comparisons in the Global Retirement Index are intended to spur discussions about what is needed to improve retirement security globally in a world where populations are aging rapidly and lifespans are increasing. By 2050, the world’s population of seniors is expected to triple to 2.1 billion, according to the World Bank, “making retirement security one of the most pressing social issues facing the world in the next 30 years,” according to the Natixis report.

“We need the political leadership to make people think differently about the future,” said Philippe Waechter, chief economist of Natixis Asset Management, in a media call with reporters.

The executive summary of the report concludes: “There is much to be done to help improve the odds that workers can retire with dignity.... The world is getting older. Let’s hope that it’s also getting wiser — and that all players do their part to achieve a more secure retirement globally.”

Following are the top 25 countries for retirement security, according to the Natixis Global Retirement report. As noted earlier, the primary ranking reflects four major indexes.

  • The health sub-index measures expenditures per capita and life expectancy. It’s expected that the higher the expenditures the higher the life expectancy but that is not the case in the U.S., for example.
  • Finances in retirement measures inflation, interest rates, tax pressures, government indebtedness, old-age dependency and governance.
  • The quality of life sub-index, which some might consider the most or second most important variable for retirement security, measures happiness, along with environmental factors including air quality, biodiversity and habitat.
  • Material well-being might also be considered among the top two measures for a comfortable retirement. It gauges the ability of retirees to support themselves in retirement, and consists of measures for income per capita, unemployment and income equality.

Preseren square in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

25. Slovak Republic (66%)

Health: 65%
Finances in retirement: 68%
Quality of life: 71%
Material well-being: 60%

24. Slovenia (68%)

Health: 78%
Finances in retirement: 64%
Quality of life: 66%
Material well-being: 66%

Sungnyemun gate in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo: AP)

23: South Korea (68%)

Health: 73%
Finances in retirement: 76%
Quality of life: 53%
Material well-being: 75%

22. Japan (70%)

Health: 88%
Finances in retirement: 56%
Quality of life: 65%
Material well-being: 74%

(Related: 10 Best Foreign Countries for Retirement: 2017)

La Valletta, Capital City of Malta.

21. Malta (70%)

Health: 77%
Finances in retirement: 65%
Quality of life: 68%
Material well-being: 72%

20. Israel (71%)

Health: 76%
Finances in retirement: 70%
Quality of life: 79%
Material well-being: 61%

Eiffel Tower in Paris. (Photo: AP)

19. France (71%)

Health: 90%
Finances in retirement: 61%
Quality of life: 79%
Material well-being: 61%

18. United Kingdom (72%)

Health: 83%
Finances in retirement: 58%
Quality of life: 81%
Material well-being: 68%

American Flag balloon (Photo: AP)

17. United States (72%)

Health: 87%
Finances in retirement: 71%
Quality of life: 78%
Material well-being: 57%%

16. Czech Republic (72%)

Health: 70%
Finances in retirement: 68%
Quality of life: 75%
Material well-being: 76%

Four courts in Dublin.

15. Belgium (73%)

Health: 82%
Finances in retirement: 62%
Quality of life: 78%
Material well-being: 70%

14. Ireland (74%)

Health: 82%
Finances in retirement: 71%
Quality of life: 83%
Material well-being: 64%

Hohensalzburg Castle in Salzburg Austria. (Photo: AP)

13. Austria (75%)

Health: 85%
Finances in retirement: 55%
Quality of life: 86%
Material well-being: 77%

12. Finland (76%)

Health: 81%
Finances in retirement: 65%
Quality of life: 92%
Material well-being: 68%

Grand Ducal Palace in Luxembourg City.

11. Canada (76%)

Health: 87%
Finances in retirement: 73%
Quality of life: 81%
Material well-being: 65%

10: Luxembourg (76%)

Health: 92%
Finances in retirement: 62%
Quality of life: 77%
Material well-being: 77%

Nyhavn in Copenhagen.

9. Netherlands (77%)

Health: 89%
Finances in retirement: 64%
Quality of life: 81%
Material well-being: 75%

8. Denmark (77%)

Health: 84%%
Finances in retirement: 59%
Quality of life: 94%
Material well-being: 75%

Romerberg Square in Frankfurt.

7. Germany (77%)

Health: 86%
Finances in retirement: 66%
Quality of life: 82%
Material well-being: 76%

6. Australia (78%)

Health: 85%
Finances in retirement: 77%
Quality of life: 84%
Material well-being: 66%

The Harbor in Gamla Stan, Stockholm.

5. New Zealand (80%)

Health: 85%
Finances in retirement: 79%
Quality of life: 91%
Material well-being: 66%

4. Sweden (80%)

Health: 88%
Finances in retirement: 69%
Quality of life: 91%
Material well-being: 75%

Geneva City, Switzerland.

3. Iceland (82%)

Health: 84%
Finances in retirement: 70%
Quality of life: 88%
Material well-being: 88%

2. Switzerland (84%)

Health: 87%
Finances in retirement: 77%
Quality of life: 92%
Material well-being: 81%

Fishing village in Norway.

1. Norway (86%)

Health: 89%
Finances in retirement: 73%
Quality of life: 92%
Material well-being: 91%

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