The U.S. remains behind the majority of countries in Western Europe and Canada, and ahead only of Israel on the list of the top 20 nations.
Americans preparing for retirement might well consider a move to Switzerland, Canada, or even Iceland. These are just three of the countries than rank higher than the U.S., according to the 2014 Global Retirement Index, recently published by Natixis Global Asset Management.
For the second consecutive year, the U.S. ranks 19th in retirement security out of 150 countries.
Following Switzerland, the countries that rank the highest are:
The Global Retirement Index measures key planning for retirement trends across four broader categories, including health and healthcare quality, personal income and finances, quality of life and socio-economic factors. Together, Natixis notes, “these trends provide a dynamic measure of the life conditions and wellbeing expected by retirees and near-retirees.”
So how does the U.S. fare in planning for retirement indicators? America did score higher year-over-year in all four categories, but was surpassed by other nations trending higher in areas such as healthcare and government debt, the Index report states. “Overall, the U.S. remains behind the majority of countries in Western Europe and Canada, and ahead only of Israel on the list of the top 20 nations.”
The U.S. ranks No. 21 in the health category with the highest per capita healthcare expenditures than any other country. It ranks No. 22 for finances and 24 for quality of life (Switzerland, Norway and Denmark comprise the top three countries in this category).
Despite ranking sixth highest in per capita income, the U.S. came in at No. 36 for material well-being. Unemployment and income inequality brought the U.S. ranking down in this category.
Despite financial advantages of international living, including free health care and favorable tax treatment offered in some countries, only 12 percent of Affluent Americans would consider retiring overseas, according to a 2011 survey conducted by Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner. But that percentage spikes among those under 40 (34 percent). Nearly three-in-ten (27 percent) of those ages 41-50 said they, too, would consider retiring overseas.
While the Natixis report observes that employers, governments and individuals each have a role to play in improving the state of planning for retirement savings around the world, “it is becoming increasingly apparent that to ensure financial (retirement) security, individuals need to take personal ownership of their destiny and view planning and saving for retirement as a serious, conscious and strategic pursuit.”
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Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.