June 13, 2024

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US is just mediocre, survey finds

2 min read

It’s a sinking feeling to get a C+ grade under any circumstances. And so it goes for America’s retirement system.

The US retirement income system earned that disappointing grade, according to the 15th annual Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index (MCGPI) released Tuesday, coming in 22nd out of 47 countries, with its index value decreasing to 63.0 in 2023 from 63.9 in 2022.

The middling ranking largely reflects the growing concerns over Social Security’s future and the shortcomings of employer-sponsored retirement plans in the US.

“Retirement savings coverage and institutional quality retirement vehicles remain out of reach for many Americans, creating a significant adequacy gap that needs to be addressed,” Katie Hockenmaier, a partner at Mercer, told Yahoo Finance. “More and more often, individuals will have an increasingly important role to play as it relates to their own retirement.”

Still, the overall index highlights that no system is perfect even as retirement readiness becomes more important as the older population increases worldwide.

“It is important for all workers to start thinking about their retirement plans now,” David Knox, lead author and senior partner at Mercer, told Yahoo Finance. “With aging populations and rising interest rates on government debt, it is inevitable individuals will need to become more self-reliant in the future.”

How the ranking was made

The index examined both government and private-sector sources of retirement income and used the weighted average of sub-indices that measure three broad characteristics: adequacy, sustainability, and integrity.

Boiled down, these categories try to ascertain what benefits future retirees are likely to receive; whether existing systems can continue to deliver — notwithstanding demographic and financial challenges — and if the private pension plans encourage long-term community confidence. The review also looks at homeownership and household debt levels.

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2023-10-21 13:23:06

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