Ranked: The Best Countries to Retire In
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).
Ranked: The Best U.S. States for Retirement
Getting ready for retirement? See which states score the highest in terms of affordability, quality of life, and health care.
Ranked: The Best U.S. States for Retirement
What is the most important aspect of retirement planning?
If you said finances, you’re probably right. But have you ever thought about where the best place is to retire? Being strategic about location can make a big impact on your quality of life, and perhaps help your savings go just a bit further.
To help break it down, we’ve visualized data from personal finance platform, WalletHub, which ranked the best U.S. states for retirement as of 2023.
Data and Methodology
WalletHub ranked each state using 47 metrics across three dimensions.
- Affordability (7 metrics worth 40 points)
- Quality of Life (22 metrics worth 30 points)
- Health Care (18 metrics worth 30 points)
Here are some examples of what each dimension measures:
- Affordability: Cost of living and taxation
- Quality of Life: Quality of elder-abuse protections and crime rates
- Health Care: Number of health professionals per capita and life expectancy
Visit the source for the full list of metrics.
The final scores (visualized as the bars in the infographic above) represent each state’s weighted average across all metrics. See below for more comprehensive results.
|Quality of Life|
According to this methodology, Virginia is currently the best state for retirement. Although the Southeastern state does not excel in any one dimension, it scores consistently well across all three to create a very balanced retirement profile.
This gives it a slight advantage over second place Florida, which excels in quality of life and affordability, but falls further behind in terms of health care. Third-placed Colorado is a mirror of Florida, offering excellent health care but a lower quality of life in comparison.
How to Interpret These Results
It’s important to remember that this ranking is purely based on data and the methodology above, and may not be tailored to your individual preferences.
For example, if you believe that health services will be very important during retirement, you may rank Minnesota (#1 in terms of health care) much higher than eighth place.
You may notice that prioritizing one dimension will often come at a trade-off in others. Looking at Minnesota once more, we can see that the state is also one of America’s most expensive.
Looking to retire outside of the U.S.? Check out this graphic on the top 25 countries to retire in.
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