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Retirement readiness improves globally, but still at low level — report

Despite a slight improvement over last year, the aggregate retirement readiness among workers in 15 countries remains at a low level, according to an annual report by the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement.

"Governments in many countries are coming under increasing strain to meet the costs of an aging society," said the report issued Thursday based on survey results.

The overall retirement readiness score — based on six factors — reached 5.92 this year vs. 5.81 last year. Any score below 6 is considered a low level of retirement readiness. The medium retirement readiness score ranges from 6 to 7.9; a high retirement readiness is a score of 8 to 10. The six factors measuring retirement readiness are personal responsibility, financial understanding, retirement planning, financial preparations, income replacement and awareness, the report said.

The United States had the second-best performance with a score of 6.9, up from 6.7. India was the leader with a score of 7.6, up from 7.3. Japan had the worst score, holding steady at 4.7.

For the first time in the survey's six-year history, Aegon reported that eight countries achieved a minimum score of 6.In addition to the India and the U.S., they are Brazil (6.4), China (6.3), U.K. (6.2), Australia (6.1), Canada (6.1) and Germany (6).

The report attributed improvements to people feeling more prepared for retirement "as many economies rebound from the 2008 financial crisis," a strong stock market performance in many countries and a more positive feeling by workers about their financial outlooks.

The survey was based on online interviews of 14,400 workers and 1,600 retired persons in 15 countries during February. The survey was conducted by Aegon in collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and the Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon in Brazil.

The report is available online.