Americans are having a hard time saving for retirement, with more than 20 percent reporting having no cash stashed away at all, but a new study shows people around the globe are facing similar economic challenges.
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A decade after a financial collapse rattled the entire financial system, citizens worldwide are grappling with demographic challenges and the fallout of accommodative monetary policies, including stagnating wage growth, rising debt levels and increasing health care costs, according to Natixis’ 2018 Global Retirement Index.
“Global retirement security is facing a multi-dimensional problem, as the traditional three-pillar funding model is challenged by 21st century demographics, fiscal imbalances and monetary policies that are straining the resources of individuals, employers and governments around the world,” Jean Raby, CEO at Natixis Investment Managers, said in a statement.
But retirees in some countries are better off than others, according to Natixis, which ranked the welfare and financial security of retirees in 43 countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), BRIC countries and advanced economies in the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
At the top of the list is Switzerland, moving up a spot from last year. Switzerland scored particularly high on quality of life, finances and health. It has the highest environmental factors score, and one of the highest scores for overall happiness. When it comes to health, the country ranked in the top three when it came to health expenditure per capita and top four in terms of life expectancy.
Assuming the second-highest rank on the list is Iceland, which moved up from third place in 2017. The country scored tops in material wellbeing, driven by a healthy employment picture, high income per capita and income equality.
Following Iceland was another Nordic country, Norway, which slipped from its top position on last year’s list. According to Natixis’ rankings, the country fell significantly in the retirement finances category, due to its interest rate picture, as inflation remains well below the Norwegian central bank’s target.
Sweden came in fourth, where the country moved up in its health ranking owing to higher life expectancy among its residents. New Zealand followed Sweden, and saw improvement in its retirement-related financial picture and its governance score.
The United States ranked No. 16 on Natixis’ list, behind the Czech Republic but before the United Kingdom. That’s one spot higher than the United States’ ranking in 2017. The country saw the greatest improvements in the tax pressure and bank non-performing loan categories, as well as employment improvements.
The U.S. continues to rank in the top 10 when it comes to the strength of its financial institutions and Natixis reported improvements in the job market, but the country still lags many of its peers when it comes to income equality.
Here’s a list of the top 10 countries in Natixis’ Global Retirement Index:
5. New Zealand