U.S. Lags Much of Europe in Retirement Security
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The Fiscal Times
February 25, 2014

The United States held onto its spot as the 19th best country in the world for retirement security, according to the 2014 Natixis Global Retirement Index, released today.

The report looked at 150 countries and ranked them based on health and healthcare quality, personal income and finances, quality of life, and socio-economic factors.

While the United States improved its overall score, other nations improved their scores in healthcare and government debt. The ranking reflects increasing U.S. economic stability but also acknowledges the potential for rising interest rates and inflation, as well as income inequality.

Related: Democrats Focus on Retirement Security

Most of the top 20 list is dominated by countries in Western Europe and Canada. The United States ranks sixth-highest in per capita income, but first in healthcare expenditures, 33rd in life expectancy, and 81st in income equality.

European countries comprise eight of the top 10 countries on the list, with Switzerland, Norway, and Austria holding the top three spots.

The report finds that countries with the most retirement security rely on a combination of individual saving, employer-sponsored programs, and government policy. That traditional “three-legged” stool has faced major challenges in the United States, as employers scale back their retirement benefits (just half of Americans workers even have access to such benefits); Social Security fails to keep pace with the needs of retirees; and consumers inadequately save for their retirement.

“The responsibility for financial security in retirement is falling even more heavily on individuals than ever before, and this trend is likely to continue as government resources become more scarce,” John T. Haller, chief executive officer of Natixis Global Asset Management in the Americas and Asia said in a statement.

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Life + Money Editor Beth Braverman covers all things personal finance. Formerly a senior reporter and social media editor at MONEY magazine, she’s also held gigs as a newspaper reporter and trade magazine editor.