Why America lags the rest of the developed world in retirement security

The U.S. ranks 19th when it comes to taking care of people in their golden years

(Image credit: (Sam Diephuis/Blend Images/Corbis))

The United States may have placed second at the Winter Olympics, but when it comes to retirement, America isn't winning any medals.

In fact, a recent report by Natixis Global Asset Management finds that the U.S. ranks a paltry 19th place in retirement security across the globe. That means that the nation falls far behind many other developed countries — like Germany, Canada, Iceland, and South Korea.

While we've reported before on the scary reality of Americans' retirement savings, the Global Retirement Index is based on more than just money; the ranking takes into account a number of qualities that affect citizen's golden years, including health care, finances, material well-being, and general quality of life.

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So what's dragging the U.S. down? As CNNMoney notes, high-ranking countries like Switzerland, which came in first overall, support strong pension systems — while in the U.S., you're largely on your own when it comes to socking away enough funds for retirement. And while countries like Austria, which placed third in the report, have first-rate universal health care systems, many U.S. retirees still struggle with steep health care costs.

"The responsibility for financial security in retirement is falling even more heavily on individuals than ever before," John T. Hailer, C.E.O. of Natixis Global Asset Management in the Americas and Asia, said in a press release. "It is becoming increasingly apparent that to ensure financial security in retirement, individuals need to set personal goals and view planning and saving for retirement as a serious, conscious and strategic pursuit."

For help getting started, learn the basics of how to save for retirement, and for inspiration along the way, read how one couple is on track to reach their retirement goal — on just $40,000 a year.

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