By The Straits Times/ANN
The latest Global Retirement Index, which measures indicators like health and material well-being, has ranked Singapore at 27th place - one place better than last year.
The index of 43 nations assesses factors that drive retirement security. It considers how 18 measures across four categories - health, finances in retirement, quality of life and material well-being - affect retirees.
Norway was ranked top, followed by Switzerland and Iceland, as the three best countries with the most favourable retirement security.
Compiled by Natixis Global Asset Management, the index showed that among Asia-Pacific countries, Singapore registered some of the best scores across almost all indicators within the finances in retirement sub-index.
Japan also rose in the same ranking, mainly owing to improvements in its interest rate competitiveness, bank non-performing loans, and tax pressure indicators.
New Zealand and China have jumped up the finances in retirement sub-index, with the latter scoring 66 per cent - higher than the overall score for the Asia-Pacific - to end up in the top 20.
Madeline Ho, executive managing director, head of wholesale fund distribution, Asia-Pacific, for Natixis Global Asset Management, noted that the stability and robustness of government finances are vital for a snag-free retirement but it may not suffice to guarantee retirement security over the long term, given demographic pressure.
"That's why it's important for investors to take on a more active role in planning their retirement to ensure that they will be able to meet and maintain their desired quality of life when they retire," she said.
Overall, New Zealand and Australia are the region's highest ranking performers, securing fifth and sixth place respectively in the index, ahead of Japan (22nd), South Korea (23rd), Singapore (27th), China (38th) and India (43rd).
New Zealand and Australia are the only non-European countries to feature in the top 10 of the quality of life sub-index, where Australia has the second-highest score for air quality and the ninth-highest for happiness - on the back of improvements in its environment. The country registers the fifth-strongest improvement of all countries in the environmental factors indicator, primarily due to declines in CO2 emissions and increased prevalence of renewable electricity.
New Zealand ranks sixth in the sub-index and finished in the top 10 for air quality (fourth) and happiness (eighth). China significantly improved its overall performance, driven by a six-point increase in its material well-being score and a three-point rise in quality of life.
However, Singapore shows mixed results with respect to these sub-indexes. It has the fifth-highest life expectancy of all the countries studied, yet finishes second-to-last in the insured health expenditure indicator, which measures the portion of that expenditure paid for by insurance.
Its only decline was registered in the material well-being sub-index, where its performance is a story of two halves. While it boasts the highest score for two of the three indicators in the sub-index - employment and income per capita - it has the fourth-lowest score for income equality among the surveyed countries. If its score for income equality was on a par with the other two indicators, Singapore would comfortably finish in the top five for material well-being.