Australian retirees have got it pretty good, according to a report ranking the lucky country as having the third-best pension system in the world.
Compulsory superannuation combined with a generous Age Pension helped Australia maintain third place in this year’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index.
Denmark took first place, with the Netherlands coming in second.
The UK was ranked ninth, while the US came in at 11, not far ahead of Brazil and Mexico in 14th and 15th place, respectively.
Superannuation reforms helped Australia to better its overall score this year but there was still room to improve, research author and Mercer senior partner David Knox said.
Dr Knox suggested that to improve the system the pension age should be raised as life expectancy increased and that older people be encouraged back into the workforce.
He also suggested restrictions be placed on how people accessed their superannuation, with a requirement that part of the funds be used as an income stream instead of being accessed as a lump sum.
“What’s put us in third place is our compulsory system that means virtually every employee is covered and has got superannuation, so we’re all saving money for our future,” Dr Knox said.
“But the fact that we have no requirement as to what you do with the money, we believe, is a short-coming.”
Dr Knox said the ageing population meant Australians needed to change their attitudes toward retirement and that businesses needed to develop more flexible workplaces to take advantage of the skills older workers have to offer.
“We’re not suggesting you work until you drop and you also have to recognise that blue collar workers may well be burnt out, but the community needs to recognise that we need to be a bit more flexible about how we retire people,” Dr Knox said.
“We’ve got a lot of people who are going to retire in the next 10 years and the economy can’t withstand the sudden reduction of that workforce, so we have to find ways to ensure they gradually retire.
“It’s all about people recognising the issue of the ageing population, recognising that we all need to do something about it and with a little bit of imaginative thinking, it’s possible for people to work in a part-time capacity.”
The Index ranks 20 countries and covers 55 per cent of the world’s population.
RESULTS OF THE GLOBAL PENSION INDEX
1. Denmark – 80.2
2. Netherlands – 78.3
3. Australia – 77.8
4. Switzerland – 73.9
5. Sweden – 72.6
6. Canada – 67.9
7. Singapore – 66.5
8. Chile – 66.4
9. UK – 65.4
10. Germany – 58.5
11. USA – 58.2
12. Poland – 57.9
13. France – 53.5
14. Brazil – 52.8
15. Mexico – 50.1
16. China – 47.1
17. Japan – 44.4
18. South Korea – 43.8
19. India – 43.3
20. Indonesia – 42.0
Average – 60.0
Source: Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index