Here is the best country for retirement. Hint: it’s not the US

The United States can get a lot of things right as a country, but retirement is far from one of them, a new global ranking of retirement security suggests.

The top nation for retirement security is Norway, followed by Switzerland and Iceland, according to new research from Natixis Investment Managers. The United States slipped two places in this year’s analysis, from No. 18 in 2022 to No. 20 in this year’s ranking of 44 nations.

The reasons for America’s intermediate position when it comes to retirement security come down to the nation’s high inflation and rising national debt, as well as lowered life expectancy, which has declined due to COVID and increasing overdose and gun-related deaths.

Hoping for a miracle

At the same time, more Americans are expressing increased anxiety about retirement, with Natixis finding that 47% said it would “take a miracle” for them to achieve retirement security, up 6 percentage points from 2021.

“The big thing has been inflation, and while it’s come more under control in the last six months, eight months, people have a little bit of post-traumatic stress from that,” Dave Goodsell, head of the Natixis Center for Investor Insights, told CBS MoneyWatch .

He added: “A good example is the number of people who said it would take a miracle to retire. Part of that is feeling the pressure from higher prices.”

These feelings of stress come especially from a survey group of wealthy individual investors with at least $100,000 in investable assets, while about half of Americans have nothing saved for retirement.

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Almost half of those surveyed by Natixis said they believe they will have to make difficult choices in their later years, with a third believing they will have to work in retirement and about a quarter expect they will have to sell their home.

“The simple truth is you don’t need a miracle — you need a plan,” Goodsell said. “You really have to step back and see what you can do to increase your chances of success.”

“Standout performer”

The Global Retirement Security Index ranks nations based on four areas: health, quality of life, finances in retirement and material well-being.

“Countries in the top 10 generally tend to be good all-rounders,” the Natixis analysis found.

Norway, which the firm called a “standout performer”, ranked first in health and fourth in quality of life. Life expectancy increased in Norway, in contrast to the decline in the United States. The United States ranked 25th for health in the current survey, down from 17th the year before.

“If you look at the top performers, they tend to be smaller countries,” Goodsell noted. “It is easier for a smaller country to reach consensus on many of the issues, such as health care,” compared to larger countries such as the United States

Below are the country rankings in the 2023 Natixis Investment Managers Global Retirement Index:

1. Norway
2. Switzerland
3. Iceland
4. Ireland
5. Luxembourg
6. The Netherlands
7. Australia
8. New Zealand
9. Germany
10. Denmark
11. Austria
12. Canada
13. Finland
14. Sweden
15. Slovenia
16. Great Britain
17. Israel
18. The Czech Republic
19. Belgium
20. United States
21. Korea
22. Malta
23. France
24. Japan
25. Estonia
26. Singapore
27. Slovakia
28. Italy
29. Portugal
30. Cyprus
31. Poland
32. Lithuania
33. Hungary
34. Latvia
35. Chile
36. Greece
37. Spain
38. China
39. The Russian Federation
40. Mexico
41. Colombia
42. Turkey
43. Brazil
44. India

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