Retirement Statistics: US Falls Behind Iceland, Switzerland, Luxemburg

Written By
G. Dautovic
May 26,2021

The United States isn’t one of the best places to retire anymore. In fact, it isn’t even in the top 10.

That’s the conclusion of Paris-based Natixis Investment Managers, which has ranked the 25 best countries for retirement. Natixis rated countries by life expectancy, retirement finances, quality of life, and “material well-being,” which includes factors like income and unemployment rates.

The result? The Global Retirement Index.

First place is a tie. Iceland and Switzerland each achieved an overall score of 83%.

Iceland ranked pretty high in all four categories and scored the highest material well-being index: 91%. Switzerland had better scores for life expectancy, finances, and quality of life, but ultimately got dragged down by a lower material index, finally sitting at the shared 1st place with Iceland.

The United States ranked 18th out of 25 countries.

Sitting near the bottom of the list is the US, which earned a global retirement index of 72% - same as the United Kingdom. The US scored highest in the health index column (86%), but its 58% material well-being score was the lowest of the bunch. The US posted lackluster scores in retirement financing (71%) and quality of life (76%).

Luxemburg, Japan, and Norway are the healthiest countries.

Scoring impressive scores of 90 and 91%, these three countries are the places where life expectancy is the highest and medical bills don’t break the bank. On the other hand, these countries have some of the lowest scores in the retirement finances category. Life may be long there, but it’s apparently not that sunny when retirement finally comes.

Denmark offers the best quality of life.

The highest score in the quality-of-life category, which measures general happiness, is Denmark’s 93%. Danes are widely recognized as some of the happiest people on the planet. According to Natixis researchers, they are exactly 1% happier than Finns. Koreans ranked last, at 53%.

These statistics don’t spell doom for American retirees, but there are concerns that the US retirement system is on shaky ground. The Social Security system is supported by trusts that are slated for depletion within 15 years. The situation is stable now, but there has never been a better time to think ahead.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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