US ranks only 19th in retirement security


Fewer and fewer Americans are on a path that will prepare them for retirement. Image: grantlairdjr/Flickr/CC BY

The United States, generally considered a first-world nation, is rapidly losing its standing if one consider the security and life-style of it average citizens after retiring from the work force. According to a new survey, the U.S. ranks low in terms of retirement security and even lower in healthcare.

Global retirement security indexed

A new report by Paris-based Natixis Global Asset Management examines “how well retired citizens live in 150 nations,” according to 20 measures, including wealth, healthcare costs and “quality of life.” It’s conclusions surprised even those who prepared the report. The United States, long considered the place of opportunities, ranked only 19 among world powers, coming in behind Noway, Austria, Germany, France and even the Slovak Republic, whose citizens earn less than half that of the average U.S. worker.

It is not a problem exclusive to the U.S. “Most developed nations are wrestling with an aging population, longer life expectancies and falling birth rates,” said Tracey Flaherty, senior vice president for government relations and retirement strategies at Natixis.

However, even Flaherty was “surprised that the U.S. didn’t rank higher.”

Retirement burden increasingly on the individual

The main reason for the low ranking is that the burden of retirement is more and more falling to the U.S. worker, with less help from employers and the government. The economic downturn has made that difficult situation increasingly more difficult for many. According to Natixis, 53 percent of Americans over 30 years-of-age are not saving enough to fund their retirements. And that rate is rapidly increasing. In 2011, says Natixis, it was just 38 percent.

“The message is clear,” said John Hailer, chief of Natixis in Boston. “You will be called on to finance more of your retirement.”

The top 25 ranking for retirement security

Here are the top 25 nations for retirement security, as ranked by Natixis:

  • 1     Norway
  • 2     Switzerland
  • 3     Luxembourg
  • 4     Sweden
  • 5     Austria
  • 6     Finland
  • 7     Netherlands
  • 8     Denmark
  • 9     Germany
  • 10     France
  • 11     Australia
  • 12     Israel
  • 13     Canada
  • 14     Belgium
  • 15     Japan
  • 16     Slovenia
  • 17     Czech Republic
  • 18     Slovak Republic
  • 19     United States
  • 20     United Kingdom
  • 21     Italy
  • 22     New Zealand
  • 23     Iceland
  • 24     Cyprus
  • 25     Spain

Just 23rd in healthcare

The survey also reports that U.S. citizens spend more for healthcare than people in any of the other 150 nations included in the survey. Meanwhile, those costs are limiting the access of care to a growing number of U.S. citizens. For that reason, it ranked an embarrassing 23rd place in healthcare, according to the Natixis survey.


Boston Globe

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