And you may have wondered what such rankings personally mean for you – apart from perhaps making you feel fortunate about where you live.
After all, you are unlikely to move to, say, the Netherlands because it’s retirement-income system ranks as the world’s best.
However, the rankings may prompt you to take measures to improve your chances of a successful retirement lifestyle.
First, let’s look at the Melbourne Mercer global pension index 2018, published by Mercer and the Australian Centre for Financial Services. This ranks Australia’s retirement-income system fourth out of the 34 countries assessed, based on adequacy, sustainability and integrity. Australia was given a B while the Netherlands and Denmark received A grades.
A B-rated retirement-income system is described as having a “sound structure with many good features” but, in the words of many school reports, says: There’s room for improvement.
Irrespective of each country’s social, political, historical and economic influences, this report stresses that many of their challenges in dealing with an ageing population are similar. These include encouraging people to work until older ages, setting the level of retirement funding and reducing the” leakage” of retirement savings before retirement.
Although the suggestions of the Global Pension Index are directed mainly at government and the pension/retirement sectors, individuals may pick up useful personal pointers from most of its suggestions. In short, consider taking a personal perspective on this global retirement-income challenge.
Personal pointers may include:
Think about whether to work until an older age than planned. A longer working life may provide a chance to save more for a shorter, and, therefore, less-costly retirement. And as the report says, working until an older age will limit the impact on retirement savings of increasing longevity. In reality, your ability to work past traditional retirement ages will much depend your personal circumstances including health and employment opportunities.
Save more in super within Australia’s annual contribution caps. This can include making higher salary-sacrificed contributions if employed. If self-employed, consider making voluntary super contributions, which are not compulsory for the self-employed.
Aim to repay your debts before retirement. Otherwise, you face repaying that debt with your retirement savings. One of the reasons why Australia has achieved a lower score this year (down from B-plus to B) for its retirement-income system is that the latest Global Pension Index includes pre-retirement household debt in its calculations for the first time.
Take your super as pension rather than a lump sum upon retirement. This will keep your savings in the concessionally-tax or tax-free super system for longer and, most importantly, make your retirement lifestyle as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. The Global Pension Index suggests that a way to improve Australia’s retirement-income system is to compel super members to take part of their super as a pension.
As Dr David Knox, a senior partner of Mercer in Australia, comments in the report, retirement income systems around the world are under pressure from ageing populations; low growth and low interest from investments reducing long-term compounding interest; and lack of “easy access” to pension plans (superannuation in Australia) in the gig economy; high government debt in some countries; and high household debt.
In this environment, individuals have more of an incentive to take matters into their own hands to maximise their retirement savings.
Best countries for retirees
The 2018 Best Countries report once again ranks Australia as the world’s second-best country for a comfortable retirement – behind New Zealand and ahead of Switzerland, Spain and Portugal in the top five. This is an annual survey and analysis by US News & World Report, BAV Consulting and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Survey respondents aged over 45 ranked the best countries for retirement on seven attributes: affordability, favourable tax environment, friendliness, “a place I would live”, pleasant climate, respect of property rights and a well-developed public health system. (The survey did not seek views about the adequacy of a country’s retirement-income systems.)
For the main report, more than 21,000 survey participants from around the world were asked to grade 80 countries on a range of factors from quality of life to economic potential. It aims to gauge global perceptions of the countries.
Australia came seventh overall with Switzerland again taking first place. Specific areas where Australia ranks in the top five are: quality of life (Australia fifth), best countries to invest in (Australia sixth – up from 22nd last year) and best countries for a comfortable retirement (Australia second).
Now think about what these findings may mean for you personally.
Written by Robin Bowerman
Head of Corporate Affairs at Vanguard.
04 November 2018
For more than 20 years, Sam has been a financial planner helping individuals and families achieve their financial planning goals, by providing advice on Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning; and Estate Planning. Working with a network of highly skilled professionals in Sydney he is dedicated to providing high-quality advice and integrated wealth management solutions that simplify and enhance the quality of his clients' lives.
Sam established his own firm in 1997 and has overseen its steady development and growth. Attention to detail, good listening skills and great empathy are symbols of his appreciation by his clients. He has built long-term relationships with his growing client base and aims to provide excellent customer service.
Sam began his financial planning career in 1993 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in 1991. Since this time he has accumulated many professional qualifications such as:
Sam has volunteered with the Cancer Council of NSW and can be seen almost every year volunteering or participating in the 7 bridges walk.
Away from the business, he enjoys spending weekends with his son. He is also a football (soccer) tragic and is a massive Chelsea FC fan.
Having worked for national financial planning companies in the past, George has extensive experience in the provision of advice in risk insurance, investments and retirement planning and is focused on forming long-term relationships with his clients.
George has been awarded a Masters of Commerce (Financial Planning) and a Bachelor of Commerce through University of Western Sydney as well as having the Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning).
Jane Lim is a friendly character with a bubbly personality. She has the unique ability of making complex information sound simple and easy to digest.
Jane entered the financial services industry in 2006, and worked with big blue-chip financial companies such as Count Financial Limited and AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd.
She holds a Master's degree in Applied Finance through Macquarie University, and she is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table.
Being a self-confessed "tennis nut", Jane spends many weeknights in the tennis court, and is a frequent member of Sydney's Eastern Suburbs Tennis Competition.
Being a highly motivated professional, Jane is always eager to help her clients on a wide range of financial planning needs.
Paul has been a financial planner for over 15 years helping individuals and families successfully achieve their financial planning goals. He is very focused on building successful long-term harmonious relationships with his clients.
He provides a holistic approach on various aspects of financial advice encompassing areas such as Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning and has extensive experience and knowledge in these fields.
Paul's professional qualifications are:
Away from his professional life, he enjoys spending his time with his family doing various activities such as coaching his son and taking him to games. He is a very avid sports fan and a cricket enthusiast.
Client Services Manager
Christian joined Capitalwise as Client Services Manager, with backgrounds in both customer service and administration.
Christian is passionate in providing excellent customer service by being attentive to client’s need as well as being able to circumnavigate challenges.
He holds a Master's degree in Commerce specialising in Marketing through the University of New South Wales.
Volunteering is one of his delights in life, where he had spent time being involved with the Centre for Volunteering, St Vincent de Paul's Society, and Sculpture by the Sea in a variety of positions.
Jenny is a University of New South Wales graduate who joined the team as an Administration Assistant. She is keen to put her customer service and organisational skills to use, making sure day to day operations run as smoothly as possible.
Outside of work, Jenny focuses her efforts on karate and ice hockey. She can often be found coaching and practicing karate at her alma mater. The rest of her time is spent at one of Sydney’s many ice rinks playing, practicing, or officiating ice hockey.
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