It is easy to find evidence that Americans' retirement preparations are modest at best.
Fewer than seven in 10 workers report having saved for retirement, and more than half say they have less than $25,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. In retirement, 22 percent of married couples and 47 percent of unmarried people count on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income.
Yet Americans are improving, and doing so faster than any other country, according to new research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in conjunction with the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement.
Preparedness in Britain improved almost as rapidly, and the researchers identified a cause: Both countries have increased the number of workers who are automatically enrolled in retirement plans, in Britain's case through legislation, and in the United States, via employer action.
"This is no coincidence," the study reports.
The Aegon study assessed retirement readiness on a scale of one to 10 by asking six questions on topics such as income replacement in retirement, responsibility for retirement security and the quality of people's retirement plans.
Overall, in the nine countries that have been surveyed since 2012, retirement readiness rose to 5.5 from 5.2. In the United States, however, that figure increased to 6.7 from 5.6.
The U.S. improved on all six questions, said Catherine Collinson, executive director of the Aegon center, while other countries had more mixed results.
"In all the countries in the survey, the U.S. ranks as one of the highest, if not the highest, in the level of personal awareness and the need to save for retirement," she said.