Retirement assets worldwide - Statistics & Facts

Retirement assets vary significantly from country to country, driven by differences in government benefits for the elderly and social norms in funding parental care. For example, Germany and Mexico each have a very low ratio of pension assets to GDP, respectively due to high social spending and an expectation for children to fund their parents’ retirement. Countries such as the Netherlands, Australia and United States, meanwhile, have high savings rates. The allocation of pension assets tends to be in stocks and bonds. Globally, retirement savings is evolving due several factors, including changing regulations, economic conditions and demographic issues.

The United States leads the distribution of pension fund assets, followed by Japan and the Netherlands. Most pension assets are held in the public sector and sovereign funds, with the leading pension funds being the Government Pension Investment in Japan and the Government Pension Fund in Norway. The top 300 funds have a value of assets amounting to over 18 trillion U.S. dollars, with over half belonging to private pension funds in the United States.

The most popular defined benefit retirement plan in the United States is the 401(k) plan, but there are other defined contribution plans, including Individual Retirement Accounts. Globally, reserve funds are also important pension funds, but there is no significant interest in these in the United States. However, federal government retirement funds and state and local government funds in the U.S. manage a significant amount of assets. Mutual funds manage both DC plans and IRAs.

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