Retirement Security Rankings
U.S. Gets 19th Place in Retirement Security Rankings
Retirees residing in the United States are worse off than those living in Norway, Slovenia, and Israel and over a dozen other countries.
The U.S. ranks 19th in overall retirement-security globally, according to an index collated by Natixis Global Asset Management, a Paris-based asset-management company.
Norway topped the index, which measured how well present retirees live in 150 countries, based on accepted parameters of health-care, quality of life, finances and material well-being.
Known for its strong social-programs and healthcare, Western European countries dominated the index, filling all of the top 10 spots.
"Most developed nations are wrestling with an aging population, longer life expectancies and falling birth rates," said Tracey Flaherty, Natixis Senior Vice-President for government relations and retirement strategies. But European nations have more success in dealing with this difficult pair issues, due to strong government safety-nets, such as Sweden's guaranteed pension-program for all its residents.
As life-expectancy improves, healthcare spending has likewise become a major concern for many retirees, said Flaherty.
The survey measured health-care conditions by focusing on four factors: life-expectancy, per-capita healthcare spending, out-of-pocket expenditure and accessibility to a doctor and a hospital.
Americans spent the highest on healthcare per individual; but trailed in access to care, pushing down the U.S. to 23rd place for healthcare, the study found. Austria ranked highest in the category.
Quality of life, which assesses conditions like happiness and climate, was also a low-point among American retirees -- namely due to environmental issues such as pollution. Switzerland, a world-leader in pollution-control, topped the list.
Per individual, American retirees were among the world's highest income-levels. However, the wide income discrepancy within the population -- with the highest 10% controlling approximately 75% of the nation's wealth -- sank the U.S. to 38th place in terms of material well-being, the survey found.
And, when it came to finances, uncertainty about the ongoing viability of the Social Security program and Americans' ability to save enough for retirement pushed the country to 28th place.
The U.S.'s retirement security standing could fall even further in the coming years, as more and more workers depend on workplace 401(k) plans and personal savings rather than on lifelong pensions, Flaherty said.