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12 Best Countries for Retirement Security: 2020

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The U.S. improved its standing among developed nations in Natixis Investment Managers’ 2020 Global Retirement Index, rising two spots to No. 16.

The eighth annual index, released Tuesday, provides a snapshot of the relative well-being and financial security of retirees in 44 countries, indicating that the chances for a financially secure retirement depend on a fragile balance of social, economic and public health pressures.

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus pandemic has tipped the scales further against retirees.

Natixis’ analysis of multi-year index trends suggests that the pandemic and policy actions taken to moderate its economic impact will have lasting implications for retirees.

Retirement security in the U.S. and developed nations now faces elevated threats of lower-for-longer interest rates, record levels of public debt, recession, income inequality and climate quality.

“Balancing the needs of current and future retirees with other public policy demands has long been one of the most intractable issues for nations around the world, and the global pandemic and its economic fallout have only compounded the challenge,” Jean Raby, chief executive of Natixis Investment Managers, said in a statement.

The Natixis index examines 18 factors that influence retiree welfare across four categories: finances in retirement, material well-being, health and quality of life. The index calculates the relative performance for each nation on each criterion, resulting in a composite score that provides a comparative tool for evaluating retirement security globally.

The calculation of the 2020 index was based on the most recent statistics available, typically from 2019. That means that more recent developments, such as higher unemployment, interest rate cuts and impacts on health statistics in 2020 resulting from the pandemic, are not reflected in this year’s rankings.

U.S. Index Ranking Improves 

The U.S.’ improvement to No. 16 resulted from better scores in two sub-indices.

Within material well-being, the U.S. improved its ranking, to 26, in the unemployment indicator. Its ability to reduce income inequality improved slightly as well, although it still ranked seventh from the bottom globally, despite ranking in the top 10 for income per capita.

The U.S. also moved up in the quality of life sub-index, to 21, with an improvement in the happiness of its retirees, and held steady on environmental factors, though it maintained the ninth-lowest rank in this indicator.

In the finances in retirement category, where it ranked 11, an improvement in the interest rates indicator offset declines in the tax pressure and old-age dependency (the ratio of retirees to working adults) indicator rankings.

A lower life expectancy ranking pushed the U.S. out of the top 10 in the health category to 16, though it continues to have the highest score for health expenditure per capita among all developed countries in the index.

See the gallery for the top 12 developed countries in the 2020 Global Retirement Index.

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