Actuarial news and views from Cape Town and beyond

Which are the best countries in the world to grow old in?

1 Comment

This article contrasts the pension benefits provided by various countries around the world. One point that becomes apparent is that there are very low pensions offered in South Africa relative to the other countries in the article. The “Wellness in Old age” chart, present in the article, also reinforces the low standing South Africa has over a range of factors including: Relative mental well-being; Old-age poverty rate and Social connection. I do, however, feel that this pensions report is biased in the sense that South Africa is being compared to many highly developed countries (with far higher average incomes) such as Nordic Countries, UK, US etc. We need to be comparing apples with apples. Nevertheless, it is interesting to compare the various retirement benefits and pensions offered throughout the world.


One thought on “Which are the best countries in the world to grow old in?

  1. This is a great article – so much detail on international arrangements, great for seeing how much or little the state gets involved in old age provision.

    Of course you are right in that SA is not comparable to first world countries in a lot of respects. Actually, though, I am surprised at how close we come on happiness and income measures – given the number of people in poverty in SA, you would expect much lower figures.

    The strange thing about the SOAG in SA is that it is actually one of the most generous social grants in the context of third world countries. It was established during apartheid and originally only paid to poor whites, so was very cheap. But over time it became payable to everyone, and all of a sudden 3 million people are getting it, which is a huge number. The level of the grant seems very low (R1410 this year), but when you consider that the average wage in SA is R2800 (2010 figures from StatsSA), and that 25% of employed people earned less than R1500 pm, this grant is suddenly looking very generous. For a large number of South Africans, retirement (bizarrely) equates to an increase in income.

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