When the work wheel stops spinning, where will you land? According to the Natixis Global Asset Management’s fourth annual study, the countries of Norway, Switzerland and Iceland do the best job of providing for their retirees. In the study of 43 nations, the U.S. ranked #14.
What’s so great about Norway, and don’t they still have to shovel snow there? Yes on the snow, but among other pro-retiree policies, Norway has a compulsory workplace savings program that makes companies fund retirement accounts with 2 percent of a worker’s annual earnings. (In Australia, which came in at #6, employers must kick in at least 9.5 percent.)
The other countries with higher scores than the U.S. included New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Finland, Denmark and Luxembourg. At the bottom of the list was India.
The rankings consider the stability of retirees’ finances ― i.e. how much they have saved ― the countries’ inflation and interest rates, tax rates, government indebtedness; health care and quality of life issues. The U.S. score reflects the nation’s “relatively high levels of public debt and increasing tax burdens,” said the report, adding that the “rising expenses in the long term seem inevitable as more boomers reach retirement age.” It also cited the high costs of health care in the U.S., especially rising drug prices.
The U.S. Dept. of Labor estimates that about a third of American workers don’t have access to a retirement plan. Of those who do, a 2015 Natixis survey found that not everyone ― 68 percent, in fact, ― participates in it. Many do not fully fund their 401(k) or start saving for retirement early enough. The U.S. was ranked #30 for life expectancy.