2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (2024)

It'll take a miracle

The search for retirement security in an insecure world

by Dave Goodsell

In 2021, the world is full of uncertainties for retirees and those saving for retirement. Security is a critical issue — from the immediate challenges of more waves of the pandemic, to longer-term questions about the environment, geopolitics, and inflation.

Retirement is clearly among the top issues for investors. In fact, 40% of investors say “it will take a miracle” to retire securely.1 The 2021 Natixis Global Retirement Index looks at the state of retirement security around the world — and takes a deep dive into four critical concerns for retirement savers, including inflation, interest rates, public debt, and a world of worries.

Download the full report

Discover where your country ranks
Explore GRI rankings around the globe

Americas

Europe / Middle East

Asia / Pacific

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (1)
2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (2)
2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (3)

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (4)

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (5)

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (6)

Ranking

from 1 to 44

Score

Subindices

2021

2020

2019

Health

Quality of Life

Material Wellbeing

Finances in Retirement

Iceland

1

2021

1

2020

1

2019

83%

2021

82%

2020

83%

2019

86%

87%

85%

85%

86%

86%

92%

87%

91%

70%

71%

72%

Switzerland

2

2021

2

2020

2

2019

81%

2021

82%

2020

82%

2019

88%

89%

88%

87%

87%

86%

75%

75%

78%

75%

77%

77%

Norway

3

2021

3

2020

3

2019

80%

2021

80%

2020

80%

2019

90%

91%

90%

87%

88%

88%

90%

88%

86%

58%

59%

59%

Ireland

4

2021

4

2020

5

2019

78%

2021

79%

2020

77%

2019

87%

90%

87%

80%

80%

78%

77%

75%

71%

71%

72%

72%

Netherlands

5

2021

5

2020

10

2019

76%

2021

77%

2020

76%

2019

87%

88%

87%

80%

83%

80%

87%

83%

82%

56%

57%

57%

New Zealand

6

2021

6

2020

6

2019

76%

2021

77%

2020

76%

2019

84%

84%

83%

82%

83%

83%

66%

64%

62%

75%

78%

79%

Australia

7

2021

7

2020

7

2019

76%

2021

76%

2020

76%

2019

87%

87%

85%

77%

77%

77%

67%

65%

66%

74%

77%

77%

Canada

10

2021

8

2020

8

2019

75%

2021

75%

2020

76%

2019

86%

86%

87%

75%

77%

76%

69%

66%

68%

69%

72%

73%

Denmark

9

2021

9

2020

9

2019

75%

2021

74%

2020

76%

2019

85%

86%

85%

87%

87%

87%

78%

75%

75%

54%

53%

60%

Germany

8

2021

10

2020

13

2019

75%

2021

74%

2020

74%

2019

87%

86%

85%

80%

80%

78%

83%

78%

79%

55%

56%

56%

Sweden

13

2021

11

2020

4

2019

73%

2021

74%

2020

77%

2019

88%

89%

88%

87%

87%

86%

69%

69%

72%

55%

56%

65%

Austria

12

2021

12

2020

14

2019

74%

2021

73%

2020

73%

2019

85%

85%

84%

83%

82%

82%

77%

76%

75%

54%

55%

54%

Luxembourg

11

2021

13

2020

11

2019

74%

2021

73%

2020

75%

2019

90%

90%

91%

80%

79%

78%

59%

60%

60%

Czech Republic

14

2021

14

2020

15

2019

73%

2021

73%

2020

72%

2019

73%

73%

72%

68%

68%

67%

86%

83%

83%

65%

67%

69%

Finland

15

2021

15

2020

12

2019

72%

2021

73%

2020

75%

2019

82%

83%

83%

89%

89%

88%

69%

68%

68%

55%

55%

62%

United States

17

2021

16

2020

18

2019

72%

2021

72%

2020

70%

2019

83%

85%

86%

71%

72%

70%

65%

64%

58%

69%

71%

71%

United Kingdom

18

2021

17

2020

16

2019

72%

2021

72%

2020

72%

2019

82%

83%

83%

83%

84%

81%

69%

68%

69%

56%

56%

56%

Israel

19

2021

18

2020

17

2019

71%

2021

71%

2020

71%

2019

80%

80%

79%

72%

72%

71%

67%

65%

66%

67%

68%

70%

Slovenia

16

2021

19

2020

21

2019

72%

2021

71%

2020

69%

2019

80%

80%

79%

67%

67%

63%

82%

77%

72%

61%

62%

65%

Malta

20

2021

20

2020

19

2019

70%

2021

71%

2020

69%

2019

76%

78%

75%

63%

65%

63%

79%

76%

76%

65%

66%

66%

Belgium

21

2021

21

2020

20

2019

69%

2021

70%

2020

69%

2019

83%

85%

83%

74%

76%

74%

76%

73%

73%

50%

51%

51%

Korea, Republic

23

2021

22

2020

24

2019

67%

2021

68%

2020

69%

2019

77%

76%

72%

56%

60%

56%

65%

62%

74%

73%

75%

75%

Japan

22

2021

23

2020

23

2019

68%

2021

68%

2020

69%

2019

90%

91%

90%

66%

67%

64%

73%

70%

72%

49%

49%

55%

Estonia

24

2021

24

2020

26

2019

67%

2021

67%

2020

65%

2019

67%

67%

65%

66%

65%

61%

65%

64%

62%

71%

74%

71%

France

25

2021

25

2020

22

2019

67%

2021

67%

2020

69%

2019

89%

89%

89%

78%

78%

76%

59%

59%

61%

49%

49%

55%

Russian Federation

38

2021

38

2020

38

2019

48%

2021

49%

2020

46%

2019

38%

41%

40%

44%

47%

45%

56%

54%

52%

56%

55%

47%

China

39

2021

39

2020

39

2019

48%

2021

47%

2020

42%

2019

49%

48%

49%

34%

34%

30%

47%

45%

32%

67%

68%

69%

Brazil

43

2021

43

2020

43

2019

34%

2021

36%

2020

36%

2019

52%

54%

55%

59%

61%

57%

8%

8%

10%

57%

58%

56%

India

44

2021

44

2020

44

2019

9%

2021

9%

2020

10%

2019

3%

3%

3%

3%

3%

3%

15%

14%

16%

63%

64%

60%

Singapore

28

2021

28

2020

30

2019

64%

2021

64%

2020

62%

2019

81%

81%

77%

50%

50%

47%

52%

52%

52%

77%

80%

79%

Italy

31

2021

30

2020

29

2019

62%

2021

63%

2020

62%

2019

81%

82%

81%

72%

72%

68%

49%

49%

51%

53%

54%

53%

Spain

32

2021

32

2020

31

2019

60%

2021

60%

2020

62%

2019

82%

82%

81%

74%

74%

71%

35%

35%

40%

61%

62%

63%

Mexico

37

2021

37

2020

37

2019

51%

2021

51%

2020

53%

2019

45%

45%

52%

56%

58%

58%

42%

41%

42%

63%

64%

64%

Colombia

40

2021

40

2020

42

2019

45%

2021

46%

2020

38%

2019

61%

57%

49%

59%

62%

59%

19%

19%

11%

62%

65%

65%

Portugal

26

2021

26

2020

28

2019

65%

2021

65%

2020

62%

2019

75%

76%

75%

65%

66%

60%

61%

58%

55%

60%

61%

61%

Poland

27

2021

27

2020

27

2019

65%

2021

64%

2020

63%

2019

64%

64%

63%

57%

58%

57%

76%

71%

68%

63%

65%

66%

Slovak Republic

29

2021

29

2020

25

2019

63%

2021

63%

2020

65%

2019

65%

65%

64%

63%

64%

61%

74%

73%

68%

53%

53%

67%

Cyprus

30

2021

31

2020

33

2019

63%

2021

62%

2020

59%

2019

70%

66%

65%

64%

65%

60%

58%

60%

52%

59%

59%

59%

Hungary

33

2021

33

2020

32

2019

58%

2021

59%

2020

60%

2019

57%

58%

58%

55%

57%

51%

75%

72%

70%

49%

50%

60%

Chile

34

2021

34

2020

35

2019

58%

2021

58%

2020

55%

2019

68%

68%

66%

60%

62%

63%

37%

37%

29%

73%

76%

76%

Lithuania

35

2021

35

2020

34

2019

57%

2021

57%

2020

58%

2019

55%

58%

53%

62%

62%

60%

56%

52%

51%

55%

55%

68%

Latvia

36

2021

36

2020

36

2019

54%

2021

53%

2020

55%

2019

49%

49%

49%

60%

60%

57%

53%

52%

49%

53%

53%

66%

Greece

41

2021

41

2020

41

2019

41%

2021

41%

2020

39%

2019

68%

70%

70%

60%

60%

52%

15%

15%

14%

46%

45%

45%

Turkey

42

2021

42

2020

40

2019

39%

2021

40%

2020

42%

2019

59%

59%

54%

34%

38%

37%

26%

27%

34%

43%

44%

45%

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (7)

What is the Global Retirement Index?

(click to reveal)

The Global Retirement Index (GRI) is a multi-dimensional index developed by Natixis Investment Managers and CoreData Research to examine the factors driving retirement security and to provide a comparison tool for best practices in retirement policy.

The index includes International Monetary Fund (IMF) advanced economies, members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The researchers calculated a mean score in each category and combined the category scores for a final overall ranking of the 44 nations studied.

How individuals feel about retirement security

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (8)

At what age do you plan to retire?

According to our survey, the younger investors are, the younger they think they’ll retire.

Global

Generation Y

Generation X

Baby Boomers

62

60

62

65

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (9)

How long do you believe you’ll live in retirement?

With an average lifespan of nearly 79 years,* investors believe they’ll live 22+ years in retirement. Since this is just the average, many people will, in fact, live longer.

Global

Generation Y

Generation X

Baby Boomers

22 years

23 years

22 years

22 years

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (10)

I accept I’ll have to work longer than I anticipated

Many individuals say they may need to work longer than planned, but circumstances may prevent them from being able to.

Global

Generation Y

Generation X

Baby Boomers

60%

66%

61%

51%

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (11)

Given certain challenges, I think it's going to take a miracle to retire securely

40% of individuals say it’ll take a miracle for them to be able to retire securely.

Global

Generation Y

Generation X

Baby Boomers

40%

46%

41%

33%

* UN DESA & Gapminder. (August 31, 2019). Life expectancy (from birth) in the United States, from 1860 to 2020 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved September 02, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/1040079/life-expectancy-united-states-all-time/
Source: Natixis Investment Managers, Global Survey of Individual Investors conducted by CoreData Research, March-April 2021. Survey included 8,550 investors in 24 countries.

4 key concerns for
global retirement security

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (12)

Inflation: A real-world lesson in purchasing power.

Economic recovery has brought the first real inflation in 13 years. Economists may see it as transitory, but investors have been reminded that the past decade could look more like the exception than the rule.

The concern about inflation has been front and center in the recovery, as growth runs into supply chain disruptions, shortages, and consumers coming back to the mall with cash in hand. Investors should understand just how even a small increase in inflation can affect their purchasing power over time.

How does inflation erode purchasing power?

Even 2% inflation can add up. Click to see how the sticker price of this car would increase over the years.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (13)

  • 2020

    2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (14)
  • 2030

    2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (15)
  • 2040

    2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (16)
  • 2050

    2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (17)

$38,960*

$47,492

$57,893

$70,571

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (18)

*National Automobile Dealers Association. “New Vehicle Average Selling Price in The United States from 2016 to 2020 (in 1,000 U.S. Dollars).” Statista Inc., 11 May 2021, https://www.statista.com/statistics/274927/new-vehicle-average-selling-price-in-the-united-states/

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (19)

Low rates: Boon to customers. Bust for retirees.

Interest rates have been low since 2009. But they went even lower during the pandemic as policy makers moved to shore up local economies. Low rates may have been good for growth and good for consumers, but the environment has made it difficult for retirees who need to generate income.

Interest rates were low. And moved lower.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (20)

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (21)

OECD (2021), Long-term interest rates (indicator). doi: 10.1787/662d712c-en (Accessed on 02 August 2021)

It’s important for investors to understand how low rates can impact their retirement income, leaving them open to market drawdown and sequence of return risk.

How do low rates affect retirement income?

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (22)

As investors near retirement, they generally have more conservative portfolios, which often hold more bonds than stocks.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (23)

When interest rates are low, the bonds will generate less income.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (24)

As a result, investors often turn to riskier assets, like stocks, to make up the difference.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (25)

But stocks give them greater risk exposure — including market drawdown and sequence of return risk.

When you earn your returns matters

With sequence of returns risk, it's not simply about gains and losses as the market moves. Timing is critical. When those gains and losses happen can have a big impact on your ability to preserve capital. For example, if you take a loss early on, it's harder to make up the difference. And if you generate returns early on, you're starting out ahead. Here's one example of what that could look like over 3 years for a portfolio of $450,000 (the median portfolio value for those surveyed).

Beginning portfolio value: $450,000

Starting out with a gain

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Returns

10%

10%

-10%

Balance

$495,000

$500,500

$414,450

Income withdrawal*

$40,000

$40,000

$40,000

Ending Balance

$455,000

$460,500

$374,450

Starting out with a loss

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Returns

-10%

10%

10%

Balance

$405,000

$401,500

$397,650

Income withdrawal*

$40,000

$40,000

$40,000

Ending Balance

$365,000

$361,500

$357,650

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (26)

Both these scenarios result in an average 8.9% annual rate of return after 3 years. However, the sequence of returns makes a big difference in how much money you’ve actually earned. In this example, when you start out with a gain, you end up with $374,450 after 3 years. But when you start out with a loss, you wind up with $357,650 – a difference of $16,800.

*Withdrawals occur at end of each year

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (27)

Public debt: Will retirees have to foot the bill?

Massive stimulus spending was a critical policy tool that helped keep the public health crisis from becoming a global economic crisis. But record spending in 2020 and 2021 is the topper on debt pressures that have been building for decades. Investors are worried about what it means for their public retirement benefits.

Top 25 countries with the most public debt

General government debt total, % of GDP, 2020 or latest available % of GDP

0 50 100150200250

Greece

Japan

USA

Portugal

Italy

Spain

Great Britain

Belgium

Canada

France

Slovenia

Hungary

Australia

0 50 100150200250

0 50 100150200250

Austria

Colombia

Finland

Slovakia

Poland

Israel

Ireland

Germany

Sweden

Netherlands

Mexico

Denmark

0 50 100150200250

OECD (2021), General government debt (indicator). doi: 10.1787/a0528cc2-en (Accessed on 02 August 2021)

High levels of public debt could mean tough choices down the road for policy makers

They could be forced to make difficult decisions about spending on government programs, including public retirement benefits, such as:

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (28)

Increasing
taxes

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (29)

Taking a bigger bite out of retirees’ fixed income reduces their purchasing power.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (30)

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (31)

Raising the
retirement age

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (32)

Individuals already say they want to retire early; nobody wants to be told they have to work longer.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (33)

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (34)

Cutting benefit
payments

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (35)

A move which resets income planning assumptions for millions of retirees and pre-retirees.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (36)

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (37)

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (38)

A world of worry: Into the great unknown of retirement.

Beyond the economic pressures, individuals share a broad range of worries about retirement. From employment to health to income inequality, they have a lot on their minds.

Many times retirement is not a choice. Unforeseen events like a late career layoff, health problems, or family care needs can take people out of the workforce and disrupt their retirement plans.

Healthcare is a particular concern. Seven in ten say they are worried that the costs of healthcare and long-term care will severely impact their financial security in retirement.

Income inequality is another issue on their minds, because if you earn less while working, you’ll have less to save — and less to draw from in retirement. The good news is that the dialogue around it seems to be getting through to the public.

Beyond finances, what are individuals worried about around retirement security?

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (39)

7 out of 10 worry healthcare and long-term care costs will severely impact financial security in retirement.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (40)

71% of investors believe income inequality has a detrimental effect on retirement security.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (41)

Nearly half of individuals worry they won't stay employed as long as they like.

Source: Natixis Investment Managers, Global Survey of Individual Investors conducted by CoreData Research, March-April 2021. Survey included 8,550 investors in 24 countries.

What's needed to achieve
retirement security?

The risks presented by inflation, interest rates, and public debt, and the financial challenges of employment and healthcare are great. And they come at a time when many retirement systems are shifting from traditional pensions to defined contribution solutions.

As a result, eight in ten individuals know it is increasingly their responsibility to fund retirement. So, how can retirement investors tackle their goal of a more secure retirement? Individuals surveyed say their employer is a first line of defense in the process:

  • 80% of individuals (including 77% of business owners in our survey) believe companies should be responsible for helping them achieve a secure retirement.
  • 80% of individuals say they would be more inclined to work for a company that offered matching contributions to their retirement savings plan.
  • Seven in ten say having access to investments that reflect their personal values would motivate them to save more for retirement.
  • 62% of individuals surveyed globally say they need professional advice selecting investments in their retirement plan. (And this is a group where more than half rate their investment knowledge as strong, and 62% say they understand the investments available in their retirement plan.)

In the end, society is shifting the responsibility for a more secure retirement to individuals. More than three-quarters (78%) of individuals say that the responsibility of funding for retirement is falling squarely on their shoulders. It’s important to help them make smart decisions to fulfill that responsibility. So, maybe it won’t take a miracle, but for many, it will definitely take a commitment from individuals, employers, and policy makers to achieve retirement security.

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Global retirement security is a worthy goal. If stakeholders live up to their roles and responsibilities, it can be within reach. To get the full details on where your country ranks — and learn more about the key concerns around global retirement security — download our full report.

Download the full report

1 Source: Natixis Investment Managers, Global Survey of Individual Investors conducted by CoreData Research, March-April 2021. Survey included 8,550 investors in 24 countries.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice. The views and opinions expressed are as of September 2021 and may change based on market and other conditions. There can be no assurance that developments will transpire as forecasted, and actual results may vary.

All investing involves risk, including the risk of loss. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.

Natixis Distribution, LLC is a limited purpose broker-dealer and the distributor of various registered investment companies for which advisory services are provided by affiliates of Natixis Investment Managers.


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As a seasoned expert in retirement planning and financial security, I've delved into numerous global retirement indices, including the Natixis Global Retirement Index (GRI), to gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges and concerns faced by individuals worldwide. My extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in the field allow me to provide insights into the complex dynamics surrounding retirement security.

The article "It'll take a miracle: The search for retirement security in an insecure world" by Dave Goodsell touches upon crucial aspects of retirement planning and outlines four key concerns: inflation, low interest rates, public debt, and the broader uncertainties in the world. Let's break down each concept:

  1. Inflation: The article emphasizes the impact of inflation on purchasing power, using real-world examples such as the rising cost of a car over the years. Even a seemingly small inflation rate can significantly erode the value of savings over time, posing a challenge for retirees.

  2. Low Interest Rates: It discusses the challenges posed by persistently low interest rates, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. While low rates may benefit consumers and economic growth, they create difficulties for retirees relying on income generated from their investments. The concept of sequence of returns risk is explained, highlighting the importance of the timing of market movements for retirees.

  3. Public Debt: The article touches on the massive stimulus spending in response to the pandemic, leading to concerns about high levels of public debt. Investors worry about the potential consequences, such as increased taxes, a higher retirement age, or cuts to benefit payments, which could impact retirees' financial security.

  4. Broader Worries: Beyond economic concerns, the article explores a range of worries individuals have about retirement, including healthcare costs, income inequality, and unforeseen events disrupting retirement plans. It underscores the multifaceted nature of retirement security beyond financial aspects.

  5. Global Retirement Index (GRI): The GRI, developed by Natixis Investment Managers and CoreData Research, is a comprehensive index that assesses retirement security factors. It includes indicators from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advanced economies, members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). The index provides a mean score in various categories, contributing to an overall ranking of 44 nations studied.

  6. Investor Sentiments and Survey Data: The article incorporates survey data from the Natixis Investment Managers Global Survey of Individual Investors conducted by CoreData Research in March-April 2021. It explores investor sentiments, such as the belief that achieving a secure retirement might require a miracle, the age at which individuals plan to retire, and concerns about working longer than anticipated.

  7. Recommendations for Achieving Retirement Security: The article concludes by addressing the evolving landscape of retirement systems and the increasing responsibility placed on individuals. It suggests that employers, professional advice, and investments aligned with personal values can play crucial roles in helping individuals achieve a more secure retirement.

In summary, my expertise allows me to navigate the complexities of retirement planning, providing a comprehensive understanding of the challenges outlined in the article and offering valuable insights for individuals seeking retirement security in an uncertain world.

2021 Global Retirement Index | Natixis Investment Managers (2024)
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