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The Best Countries for Retirees

The Street logo The Street 12/10/2019 Samanda Dorger

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In many countries, aging populations are outnumbering their younger, working populations, resulting in more people drawing from national, Social Security-type systems and fewer workers paying into them.

This isn't the only concern for retirees around the world. A recent analysis by Natixis says three global risks - low interest rates, longer lifespans and the high cost of climate change - threaten the security of older populations and long-term global sustainability around the world, posing challenges to policy makers.

  • Low interest rates make it hard to save or generate retirement income;
  • Demographics show that the burden is on a smaller, younger generation to support a longer-living older population;
  • The costs and risks of climate change are increasing — 40% of the world's population, or 2.4 billion people, live within 60 miles of the coast. Thinking of retiring to the beach? Thousands of coastal homes are threatened in the U.S. alone, insurance rates are rising, and extreme heat has increased the risk of illness among older adults.

So where, after a life of work, can retirees hope to live with some security and dignity?

To answer the question, the Global Retirement Index, a yearly report by Natixis Investment Managers, examines 18 factors which influence retiree welfare in the areas of finances in retirement, material wellbeing, health, and quality of life. The result is a composite score that provides a comparative tool for evaluating retirement security in 44 of the most developed countries around the world.

The key aspects for welfare in retirement in this ranking include:

  • Health — this includes life expectancy and health care costs;
  • Material well being — such as income, income equality and unemployment,
  • Finances — including the soundness of a country's financial system, the level of returns to savings and investment, taxes, real estate, and old-age dependence, among other factors;
  • Quality of life/environment — this includes happiness, the natural environment, air and water quality, a country's protection of its ecosystem, and other environmental factors that affect quality of life.

Read on to see where the U.S. falls in this ranking of retirement security in the world's developed countries. Based on the Natixis Global Retirement Index, these are the best countries for retirees.

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The Best Countries for Retirees:

1. Iceland

  • Global Retirement Index: 83%
  • Health Index: 85%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 72%
  • Quality of Life Index: 86%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 91%
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2. Switzerland

  • Global Retirement Index: 83%
  • Health Index: 88%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 77%
  • Quality of Life Index: 91%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 78%
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3. Norway

  • Global Retirement Index: 80%
  • Health Index: 90%
  • Finances in Retirement Index:59%
  • Quality of Life Index: 90%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 86%
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4. Ireland

  • Global Retirement Index: 78%
  • Health Index: 87%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 72%
  • Quality of Life Index: 83%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 71%

Ireland advanced to No. 4 from No. 14 two years ago due to an improved score in the health category, driven primarily by the country's higher per capita health spending. Ireland also made improvements in bank nonperforming loans and government indebtedness.

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5. New Zealand

  • Global Retirement Index: 78%
  • Health Index: 83%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 79%
  • Quality of Life Index: 89%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 62%
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6. Sweden

  • Global Retirement Index: 77%
  • Health Index: 88%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 65%
  • Quality of Life Index: 89%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 72%
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7. Denmark

  • Global Retirement Index: 77%
  • Health Index: 85%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 60%
  • Quality of Life Index: 93%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 75%
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8. Canada

  • Global Retirement Index: 77%
  • Health Index: 87%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 73%
  • Quality of Life Index: 82%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 68%
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9. Australia

  • Global Retirement Index: 77%
  • Health Index: 85%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 77%
  • Quality of Life Index: 81%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 66%
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10. Luxembourg

  • Global Retirement Index: 76%
  • Health Index: 91%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 60%
  • Quality of Life Index: 83%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 74%
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11. Netherlands

  • Global Retirement Index: 76%
  • Health Index: 87%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 57%
  • Quality of Life Index: 82%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 82%
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12. Finland

  • Global Retirement Index: 75%
  • Health Index: 83%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 62%
  • Quality of Life Index: 92%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 68%
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13. Germany

  • Global Retirement Index: 75%
  • Health Index: 85%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 56%
  • Quality of Life Index: 82%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 79%
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14. Czech Republic

  • Global Retirement Index: 75%
  • Health Index: 72%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 69%
  • Quality of Life Index: 75%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 83%
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15. Austria

  • Global Retirement Index: 74%
  • Health Index: 84%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 54%
  • Quality of Life Index: 87%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 75%
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16. Israel

  • Global Retirement Index: 73%
  • Health Index: 79%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 70%
  • Quality of Life Index: 77%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 66%
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17. United Kingdom

  • Global Retirement Index: 72%
  • Health Index: 83%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 56%
  • Quality of Life Index: 85%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 69%
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18. United States

  • Global Retirement Index: 72%
  • Health Index: 86%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 71%
  • Quality of Life Index: 76%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 58%

The U.S. has moved down two spots since last year. Americans are less happy, according to the report, and rising income inequality affects these scores.

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19. Slovenia

  • Global Retirement Index: 71%
  • Health Index: 79%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 65%
  • Quality of Life Index: 71%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 72%
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20. Malta

  • Global Retirement Index: 71%
  • Health Index: 75%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 66%
  • Quality of Life Index: 68%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 76%
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21. Belgium

  • Global Retirement Index: 71%
  • Health Index: 83%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 51%
  • Quality of Life Index: 80%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 73%
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22. France

  • Global Retirement Index: 70%
  • Health Index: 89%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 55%
  • Quality of Life Index: 81%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 61%
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23. Japan

  • Global Retirement Index: 70%
  • Health Index: 90%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 55%
  • Quality of Life Index: 68%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 72%

Japan has the lowest score for old-age dependency, a measure of the number of active workers compared to the number of retirees. With the highest life expectancy but low fertility rates, Japan has a very small proportion of working-age individuals supporting those in retirement. This reflects a broader trend affecting many developed economies, the report says.

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24. South Korea

  • Global Retirement Index: 68%
  • Health Index: 72%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 75%
  • Quality of Life Index: 53%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 74%
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25. Slovak Republic

  • Global Retirement Index: 67%
  • Health Index: 64%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 67%
  • Quality of Life Index: 69%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 68%
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26. Estonia

  • Global Retirement Index: 67%
  • Health Index: 65%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 71%
  • Quality of Life Index: 69%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 62%
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27. Poland

  • Global Retirement Index: 66%
  • Health Index: 63%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 66%
  • Quality of Life Index: 65%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 68%
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28. Singapore

  • Global Retirement Index: 64%
  • Health Index: 77%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 79%
  • Quality of Life Index: 52%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 52%
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29. Portugal

  • Global Retirement Index: 64%
  • Health Index: 75%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 61%
  • Quality of Life Index: 66%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 55%
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30. Italy

  • Global Retirement Index: 63%
  • Health Index: 81%
  • Finances in Retirement Index: 53%
  • Quality of Life Index: 73%
  • Material Wellbeing Index: 51%

For more about this ranking, see the full Natixis Global Retirement Index here.

This article was originally published by TheStreet.

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