Ranked: The Best Countries to Retire in Around the World
Our global population is getting older. By 2050, the OECD predicts that 30% of people worldwide will be aged 65 or over.
While some countries are relatively prepared to handle this increase in the elderly demographic, others are already feeling the squeeze and struggling with the challenges that come with a rapidly aging population.
Which countries are the best equipped to support their senior citizens? This graphic uses data from the 2022 Natixis Global Retirement Index to show the best countries to retire in around the world, based on several different factors that we’ll dig into below.
What Makes a Country Retirement-Friendly?
When people consider what makes a place an ideal retirement location, it’s natural to think about white sand beaches, hot climates, and endless sunny days. And, in truth, the right net worth opens up a world of opportunity of where to enjoy one’s golden years.
The Global Retirement Index (GRI) examines retirement from different, more quantitative perspective. The annual report looks at 44 different countries and ranks them based on their retirement security. The index considers 18 factors, which are grouped into four overarching categories:
- Health: Health spend per capita, life expectancy, and non-insured health spend.
- Quality of Life: Happiness levels, water and sanitation, air quality, other environmental factors, and biodiversity/habitat.
- Material Wellbeing: Income per capita, income equality, and employment levels.
- Finances in Retirement: Government debt, old-age dependency, interest rates, inflation, governance, tax pressure, and bank non-performing loans.
Using these 18 metrics, a score from 0.01 to 1 is determined for each country, which is then converted to a percentage. For a more detailed explanation of the report’s methodology, explore Appendix A (page 72) of the report.
The Top 25 Best Countries to Retire in
With an overall score of 81%, Norway comes in at number one as the most retirement-friendly country on the list.
|6||🇳🇿 New Zealand||75%||85%||81%||64%||71%|
|10||🇨🇿 Czech Republic||73%||76%||68%||84%||64%|
|17||🇰🇷 South Korea||70%||80%||59%||68%||73%|
|18||🇺🇸 United States||69%||85%||72%||56%||67%|
|19||🇬🇧 United Kingdom||69%||83%||82%||61%||55%|
Norway is at the top of this year’s ranking for several reasons. For starters, it achieved the highest score in the Health category, largely because of its high average life expectancy, which is 83 years old, or 9 years longer than the global average.
Norway also has the highest score of all the countries for Governance, a category gauged by assessing country corruption levels, political stability, and government effectiveness, and is in a three-way tie with Japan and Luxembourg in the Health category.
Second on the list is another European country, Switzerland, with an overall score of 80%. It’s the highest-ranked country for environmental factors, and it also has the highest overall score in the Finances in Retirement category.
A Regional Breakdown
While European countries dominate the top 10 in the ranking, how does Europe rank as a region as a whole? Before diving in, it’s important to note that the study actually breaks up Europe into two sections: Eastern Europe (grouped with Central Asia) and Western Europe.
|3||Eastern Europe and Central Asia||49%|
And from a regional perspective, North America comes in first place despite the fact no countries in the region made it into the top 10. North America only has two countries included in the ranking: Canada (#15) and the U.S. (#18), which both rank relatively high.
In contrast, Western and Eastern Europe have more countries to account for, which ultimately lowers their regional average.
The Future of Retirement
As longevity rises and the retirement aged population continues to increase worldwide, many countries are opting to change their pension policies in an effort to encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.
For instance, in 2018, people in the UK could claim their State Pension once they turned 65. By 2028, this age requirement will be raised to 67.
However, government intervention may not be necessary, as many people around the world are already staying in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age (perhaps more out of necessity than choice).
Visualizing $156 Trillion in U.S. Assets, by Generation
We’ve visualized data from the Federal Reserve to provide a comprehensive break down of U.S. assets by generation.
Visualizing U.S. Wealth by Generation
The distribution of wealth is an important measure of the economic power of each generation.
In the U.S., for example, baby boomers own half of the nation’s $156 trillion in assets despite making up 21% of the country’s population.
To learn more about U.S. wealth by generation, we’ve created two visualizations using Q4 2022 data from the Federal Reserve that break down both the assets and liabilities held by each American generation.
Assets by Generation
Assets by generation are listed in the table below. All figures are as of Q4 2022 and in USD trillions.
Baby boomers’ biggest category of assets is Equities & Mutual Funds, where they own 56% of the national total. Millennials, on the other hand, represent just 2%.
Where millennials do have more wealth is Real Estate, with 12% of the national total. This suggests that millennials have, for the most part, foregone investing in financial assets in order to purchase a home.
Liabilities by Generation
The following charts show a breakdown of liabilities by generation. Not surprisingly, Mortgages make up the largest component of liabilities for all generations.
Something to highlight is that millennials are carrying the largest amount of Consumer Credit, at $2 trillion (representing about 43% of total consumer credit). As of 2022, millennials accounted for 22% of the U.S. population.
U.S. Wealth by Generation
Finally, we subtract liabilities from assets to arrive at total wealth by generation in the United States. Figures again are USD and in trillions.
|Generation||Assets||Liabilities||Wealth||Share of Wealth|
As a final note, it’s worth highlighting that Gen Z is still too young to be included as a separate demographic in datasets like these. Born between 1997 and 2012, these individuals are currently between 11 and 26 years old. Interestingly, the Federal Reserve currently considers all U.S. adults born after 1981 as millennials.
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