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UK lagging behind Europe for pension provision

getting your finances in check

Retirees have put in decades of time and effort as part of their working life to prepare for retirement, counting on their pension to help maintain a comfortable future. However, the quality of state pensions varies drastically based on where you live – But which countries around the world have the best systems?

Blacktower Financial Management reveals the best pension systems around the globe in 2021 using key metrics, such as public spending, average retirement ages, average pension contributions and the percentage of the population who have participated in pension schemes.

According to the research, the beautiful Nordic state of Finland has the best pension system in the world. With high public expenditure on pensions, and a strong percentage of the population paying into a pension, Finnish nationals can really make the most of their retirement.

Next up in the rankings is Poland taking second place, thanks to high public spending on pensions and one of the lowest average retirement ages. Not far behind, in third place, is Sweden where a high percentage of the population actively participates in funded pension schemes.

The top 15 countries for the best pension systems globally can be found below:

Ranking Country Public expenditure on pensions (% of GDP) Normal retirement age by type of pension scheme Pension contributions as a % of average wage Participation in funded pensions as a % of working population
1 Finland 13.4 67.9 24.4 89.8
2 Poland 11.2 65 27.52 66.2
3 Sweden 8.2 65 21.71 100
4 Slovenia 10.9 62 24.35 39.1
5 France 15 65 27.5 24.5
6 Latvia 7.4 65 20 100
7 Greece 17.3 62 20 1.3
8 Czech Republic 8.2 65 28 52.1
9 Switzerland 9.8 65 16.6 73.6
10 Israel 5.3 62 13.81 80.7
11 Italy 15.6 71.3 33 19.6
12 Austria 13.8 65 22.8 13.9
13 Spain 12.2 65 28.3 3.3
14 Norway 10.7 67 20.1 59.4
15 Japan 10.2 65 18.3 49.4

As a G7 member, you would expect UK retirees to enjoy a bountiful pension. Unfortunately, positioned at a very humble 25th place, the UK’s pension system flatlines with the global average. This study couldn’t have come at a more heated time as the 2011’s triple-lock on UK pensions against inflation has been placed under the spotlight.

Gavin Pluck, Group Managing Director at Blacktower Financial Management, said:  “Moving forward, the UK government needs to reassure pensioners that they will protect them from future economic turbulence, and the government needs to put in place a system that educates young adults around the importance of pension planning. Until then, workers around the British Isles find themselves working for much longer, only to retire into a pension system where they have less spending power and less freedom – not only is this a blow to a person’s quality of life, but it is a massive blow for the UK economy.

“Our research reveals the world’s best countries for pension systems, this research is something to seriously considered when deciding which country to go live and work overseas. Inevitably, this will impact your future pension, meaning you may have to work for longer to fund your comfortable retirement depending on which country you live in.”

The full study can be found here: