The largest sums held in retirement savings plans were in the countries listed below, totalling over US$1 trillion. The total for the rest of the world was US$0.2 trillion in 70 out of the 92 jurisdictions covered, which include advanced economies, OECD countries and the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

As a percentage of national GDP, the top countries for amounts held in retirement savings plans were, in order, Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland, Canada, US, Switzerland, Australia, UK, Sweden and Chile.

Total assets

Assets in retirement savings globally topped US$56 trillion at the end of 2020, continuing their long-term upward trend. OECD countries had a combined US$54 trillion in pension assets; other reporting jurisdictions had a combined US$2 trillion. The drop in 2018 was due to the sharp fall in equity markets in the last quarter of that year.


At the upper end of the wealth spectrum, on average 40% of investors with at least US$100,000 in investable assets agree ‘it will take a miracle’ for them to be able to retire securely. According to the Natixis 2021 Global Retirement Index, these investors have a median asset level of US$450,000, which includes US$250,000 in retirement savings. They put away an average of 16.6% of their annual income for retirement, report returns of 12.5% above inflation in 2020 and expect to earn 14.5% above inflation over the long term on their investments, so why the nervousness?

Nataxis attributes it to anxieties driven by socioeconomic trends. ‘At the heart of the challenge is a rapidly aging population and a widening gap between the number of people taking retirement benefits and the number paying into retirement systems around the world.’

State pensions

The table below lists retirement ages on full state benefit (it doesn’t include early retirement/partial benefit variations) in selected countries.

Source: Wikipedia