Personal Finance

The Fed's rate cut may hurt US retirement security. These countries offer more

Key Points
  • Retirement security in the U.S. could be negatively impacted by lowering interest rates, as retirees earn less on their investments.
  • A new ranking takes a look at which countries offer the most retirement security, based on metrics related to finances, health and quality of life.
  • The U.S. didn't make the top 10.
Marcy Maloy | Photodisc | Getty Images

If you're looking for security in retirement, America might not be the first place you want to look.

The U.S. didn't crack the top 10 in a new ranking by Natixis Investment Managers. The annual report scores 44 countries based on how well they address retiree needs when it comes to areas like finances, health and quality of life.

The U.S., which ranked 18 this year, did improve on one key metric: interest rates.

As the Federal Reserve hiked rates last year, that put the U.S. ahead of some other countries which have held rates low, said Dave Goodsell, executive director of the Natixis Center for Investor Insight.

But Wednesday's move, in which the Fed cut rates by a quarter point for a second time in recent months, could affect the nation's ranking in the year ahead.

"Interest rates are one of the things we consider a threat to retirement security," Goodsell said. "It makes it hard to generate income in the short term, and in the long term it makes it difficult to preserve capital."

This year, Nordic countries dominate the top 10. Western European countries also held on to their top spots.

Here's the places that landed on top, in case you're ready to pack your bags and move in search of better retirement security.

Luxembourg old city
Moment Open | Getty Images

10. Luxembourg

This year, Luxembourg moved up one spot on the list, replacing the Netherlands.

Some of its big draws: competitive scores when it comes to health expenditures, the environment, employment and overall happiness.

Other areas where it did not do as well: income inequality and income per capita.

Panorama of Cityscape image of Sydney, Australia with Harbour Bridge and Sydney skyline during sunrise.
Prasit photo | Moment | Getty Images

9. Australia

The country holds onto its top 10 status, despite falling three places this year.

Australia boasts the highest score for air quality. It also scores high when it comes to health expenditures.

Some areas where it's weaker: environmental factors and happiness.

Western Canada
Steve Smith | Tetra images | Getty Images

8. Canada

The country moves up one spot after it broke onto the top 10 list in 2018.

It scores particularly high with regard to employment and income equality. It also has high marks for air quality and happiness.

Canada has also made improvements in health and material well being categories.

Copenhagen, Denmark
svetikd | iStock | Getty Images

7. Denmark

This year, Denmark climbs one spot higher on the list. That's mostly due to gains in finance and material wellbeing scores.

But the country also boasts the highest score on the quality of life index.

It also boasts high scores for air quality and the environment. Areas where it improved include employment, interest rates and government indebtedness.

Gothenburg, Sweden.
Mikael Tigerström | Moment | Getty Images

6. Sweden

Sweden drops two spots this year as its scores for health, finances and quality of life came in lower. Other areas where it saw declines: environment and happiness.

But it did improve in one spot – material wellbeing – to help boost its overall ranking. Other criteria where its scores also climbed: health expenditures and employment.

View of Queenstown, New Zealand just after sunset.
Ramiro Torrents | Moment | Getty Images

5. New Zealand

New Zealand holds onto its spot at number five for the third year in a row.

It gets high marks for finances and quality of life. It also scores highly for air quality, environment and happiness.

One area where New Zealand is weakest: health expenditures.

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The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland.
mikroman6 | Moment | Getty Images

4. Ireland

This year, Ireland rises three spots on the list. That's after it first debuted in the top 10 last year.

Better scores in health and finances contributed to its climb. Ireland also got high marks in other areas like government indebtedness, income per capita and air quality.

Areas where it is weaker include happiness and other environmental factors.

Nidelva river and Solsiden area in Trondheim, Norway
Visions of Our Land | Getty Images

3. Norway

Norway stays in the third slot this year. That's as it improved its health scores, and also set itself apart in categories including the environment, air quality and happiness.

Areas where Norway could improve its standing include income equality, income per capita and employment.

Mist above Lucerne City, Switzerland in October 2017.
shan.shihan | Moment | Getty Images

2. Switzerland

The country slipped one notch from its top spot last year.

Still, it ranks highest when it comes to environmental factors. It also scores highly for life expectancy and health expenditure per capita.

Areas where its scores dropped: old age dependency, tax pressure and governance indicators.

Reykjavík, Iceland
Getty Images

1. Iceland

Iceland climbed to number one this year mostly because Switzerland saw a large score decline.

Still, the country boasts high scores related to the environment, happiness and air quality.

It also improved its numbers in finance and health categories.

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