The U.S. just makes the top 20, ranking behind less affluent nations like the Czech Republic and Slovakia and just ahead of the U.K., according to a new study.
In a study of the retirement security in 150 nations, the United States only ranked 19, behind countries like Finland, Israel and the Czech Republic, but just ahead of the United Kingdom.
In what is probably little to no surprise to most Americans, the Natixis Global Retirement Index suggests that Americans will need to pick up a bigger share of their retirement costs. Natixis Global Asset Management’s (NGAM) index gauges how well retired citizens in 150 nations live, measuring health, material well-being, finances and quality of life during retirement.
“The message is clear: You will be called on to finance more of your retirement,” said John Hailer, NGAM’s president and chief executive officer for the Americas and Asia. “Citizens of other industrialized nations can rely on strong social safety nets in old age, at least for now. In the U.S., we encourage workers to plan, save and invest, and promote policies that help them meet their future needs.”
According to the report, health care is a big reason why the U.S. is so low on the list. Despite the fact that health care spending is so high, the nation lags behind other countries in access to care:
“While the U.S. leads the world in per-capita health spending, individuals are still required to pay a portion of this expense on their own. That leaves many health costs in the hands of retirees and takes resources away from their other needs.”
In the category of material well-being the U.S. came in at 38, behind Poland. Per-capita income in the U.S. is among the highest in the world, but the country has a higher degree of income inequality than many developed nations. In the finances category, the U.S. ranked 28, behind Mexico and Canada, because the nation's aging population raises questions about the long-term durability of programs like Social Security. Lastly for quality of life the U.S. was ranked 26. Americans expressed a high level of satisfaction with life, but environmental measures are lacking.
It is expected that by 2050, when the number of people over the age of 65 in the world has tripled, the ratio of working-age population to those over 65 in the U.S. will have dropped from 5:1 to 2.8:1.
Furthermore the U.S. is facing a $6.6 trillion retirement gap, according to a U.S. Senate report. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has estimated that 53% of American workers age 30 and older are on the path to be unprepared for retirement, up from just 38% in 2011.
(Note: Each country receives a score of 0 to 1 in the following four categories. Scores are determined based on data from various sources, including the World Bank and United Nations.)
Quality of life: 0.824
Material well-being: 0.793
Dresden. Image copyright Eric and Nancy Anderson.
Quality of life: 0.799
Material well-being: 0.849
Houses on the Nyhavn canal in Copenhagen
Quality of life: 0.825
Material well-being: 0.863
Quality of life: 0.823
Material well-being: 0.883
Quality of life: 0.783
Material well-being: 0.841
Gardens in Mirabell Palace in Salzberg.
Quality of life: 0.826
Material well-being: 0.902
Quality of life: 0.850
Material well-being: 0.852
Quality of life: 0.783
Material well-being: 0.945
The Rhine in Basel
Quality of life: 0.920
Material well-being: 0.882
Quality of life: 0.874
Material well-being: 0.974