Where Canada really ranks on retirement

The situation may seem dire but a recent survey of 43 countries suggests Canada is outperforming many of its peers.

As Canadians, we’re constantly hearing about how the country is drastically underprepared for retirement – but if we’re in dire straits, it seems scores of other nations are up a certain creek without a paddle.

In a recent survey analysing the retirement security of 43 nations, Canada came in at a respectable 10th place – safely outdoing the U.S. which followed in 14th place.

Released yesterday, the 2016 Global Retirement Index examines the key factors that drive retirement security and provides a comparison tool for best practices.

John Hailer is the CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management – the company behind the comprehensive index – he says nations will have to reinvent existing approaches if they want to improve their standing.

“Demographics and economics have rendered the old model unsustainable, but the leaders in our index are finding innovative ways to adapt to the new reality and provide a blueprint for the rest of the world,” he said.

Northern European countries dominated the leader board for retirement security with Norway in first place followed by Switzerland (2), Iceland (3), Sweden (5), Germany (7), the Netherlands (8) and Austria (9).

They are joined by New Zealand in fourth place, Australia in sixth place and Canada in tenth.

Paula Allen is the VP of research and integrative solutions at Morneau Shepell – she encouraged employers to take a more active role in educating employees on retirement.

“It makes sense for employers to be active in this education for two reasons,” she told HRM. “One is fiduciary responsibility when the employee-employer responsibility is changing or dissolving, along with the associated supports, as it does at the point of retirement and two, is the corporate reputation.

“No employer would want people who identify themselves as retirees of their company to be in dire straits. It is not a good message for current and potential employees or corporate reputation in the community.”

Allen also urged employers to implement mandatory education as well as utilizing tools to their advantage.

“Much of the current education is passive and positioned as voluntary. Employers might consider something more structured for retirement as they do for on-boarding,” she suggested.

“Also education is rarely enough. Tools are critical. Consider how effective it is to tell someone to lose weight by eating and exercising, versus giving them calorie calculators, a scale and scheduling exercise sessions at the start of each day.”

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