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Global Retirement Index: S’pore tops list of countries for retirement finances, scores low in quality of life and material wellbeing

Singapore scored first for retirement finances out of 44 countries surveyed in the latest edition of the Global Retirement Index (GRI) for this year.

In the GRI report released by Natixis Investment Managers last Fri (20 Sep), Singapore came in close competition with New Zealand in the Finances sub-index, with similar rounded scores of 79 per cent in the past three years.

According to the GRI framework, retirement finances encompass how sound a country’s financial system is, how much savings and investment it has made, and to what extent it has preserved the purchasing power of savings.

Source: Natixis

While Singapore demonstrated “the largest improvement” in the health sub-index among all of the countries surveyed, having gone up five places in the list, the Republic obtained the “seventh lowest score among all countries measured”.

Source: Natixis

Following such, Natixis said that there is “still room for improvement” in terms of insured health expenditure in Singapore’s overall ranking in the health sub-index.

An increase in the life expectancy indicator is also observed, as Singapore moves up three spots to fourth place.

Quality of life and material wellbeing, however, are the sub-index areas in which Singapore has performed relatively poorly – at 52 per cent in both areas – in comparison to retirement finances and health.

Singapore also fell by two spots to 41st place, reportedly due to lower scores in terms of happiness in society and a decline in environment factors.

The quality of life sub-index gauges the level of happiness and fulfilment of members of a particular country’s society, as well as basic living conditions such as air quality, water and sanitation, and biodiversity and habitat.

The material well-being sub-index in particular measures the ability of a country’s population to provide for their material needs.

Singapore fell from 29th place last year to 32nd overall this year in terms of the material well-being sub-index despite ranking highly in terms of income per capita and employment indicators.

This can be attributed to a decrease in income equality, according to Natixis,

“With the increasingly uncertain economic conditions and improved life expectancies, it has become imperative for individuals to be proactive in starting early for retirement planning,” said Madeline Ho, executive managing director and head of wholesale fund distribution for Asia-Pacific at Natixis Investment Managers.

“Individuals in Singapore are well-equipped to leverage a conducive environment to plan for their retirement security well into their silver years, given Singapore’s established track record in good governance and a robust financial infrastructure,” she added.

Singapore is ranked 28th place out of 44 countries surveyed in the GRI, as seen in the table below.

Source: Natixis

Notably, none of the five Asian countries surveyed made it to the top 25 in the quality of life sub-index, while several countries out of the top 10 were Scandinavian countries such as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

Iceland, Ireland, Switzerland – and closer to Singapore, New Zealand – also made the top 10 in the quality of life sub-index, as well as in the overall ranking.

Iceland tops the overall list, replacing Switzerland this year, while Norway remains third.

Source: Natixis