Ranked: The best countries to retire in the world
Our world population is aging. By 2050, the OECD predicts that 30% of people in the world will be aged 65 or over.
While some countries are relatively prepared to handle this increase in the elderly population, others are already feeling the pressure and grappling with the challenges that come with rapidly aging populations.
Which countries are best equipped to support their seniors? This chart uses data from Natixis Global Retirement Index 2022 to show the best countries to retire to around the world, based on several different factors which we’ll dive deeper into below.
What makes a country suitable for retirement?
When people think about what makes a place a great place to retire, it’s natural to think of white sand beaches, warm climates and endless sunny days. And, in truth, the right net worth opens up a world of opportunities in which to enjoy your golden years.
The Global Retirement Index (GRI) looks at retirement from a different, more quantitative perspective. The annual report examines 44 different countries and ranks them according to their retirement security. The index takes into account 18 factors, which are grouped into four main categories:
- Health: Health expenditure per capita, life expectancy and uninsured health expenditure.
- Quality of life: Levels of happiness, water and sanitation, air quality, other environmental factors and biodiversity/habitat.
- Material well-being: Per capita income, income equality and employment levels.
- Finances at retirement: Public debt, old age dependency, interest rates, inflation, governance, fiscal pressure and non-performing bank loans.
Using these 18 measures, a score of 0.01 to 1 is determined for each country, which is then converted into a percentage. For a more detailed explanation of the report’s methodology, see Appendix A (page 72) of the report.
The 25 best countries to retire to
With an overall score of 81%, Norway ranks first as the most retirement-friendly country on the list.
|6||🇳🇿 New Zealand||75%||85%||81%||64%||71%|
|ten||🇨🇿 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 the rankings this year for several reasons. For starters, he got the highest score in the Health category, largely due to its high average life expectancy, which is 83 years, 9 years above the world average.
Norway also has the highest score of any country for Governancea category assessed by assessing countries’ levels of corruption, political stability and government effectiveness, and is in a three-way tie with Japan and Luxembourg in the Health Category.
The second on the list is another European country, Swiss, with an overall score of 80%. It is the highest ranked country for environmental factors, and it also has the highest overall score in the Finances in retirement Category.
A regional distribution
While European countries dominate the top 10 in the rankings, how does Europe rank as a region as a whole? Before we dive in, it’s important to note that the study actually divides Europe into two sections: Eastern Europe (grouped with Central Asia) and Western Europe.
|3||Eastern Europe and Central Asia||49%|
And from a regional point of view, North America comes in first place despite the fact that no country in the region is in the top 10. North America has only two countries in the ranking: the Canada (#15) and the United States (#18), both of which have a relatively high rank.
On the other hand, Western and Eastern Europe have more countries to consider, which ultimately lowers their regional average.
The future of retirement
As longevity increases and the retirement-age population continues to grow around the world, many countries are choosing to change their retirement policies to encourage people to stay in the workforce longer.
For example, in 2018 people in the UK could apply for their state pension once they reached the age of 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 labor market beyond the traditional retirement age (perhaps more out of necessity than choice).
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