Retirement Funds from around the World

Here’s some super fun facts about retirement funds from around the world for you [Yes, that super pun was intended 😉]

On average, Australia has $72,823 saved per person for retirement in our superannuation plan. This is the largest private pension per person in the world.

This is from a wikipedia article here (which probably isn’t a complete picture because another wikipedia article says we are the 4th largest holder of pension fund assets in the world.)

Here is a table breaking down the average funds per person based on country and population (roughly sorted by funds under management):

CountryAssets US$
(in billions)
( in millions)
Average funds
per person
 United States5662331 $17,105.74
 Australia185725.5 $72,823.53
 Norway10465.42 $192,988.93
 Japan1103126 $8,753.97
 Canada79237.7 $21,007.96
 South Korea46251.3 $9,005.85
 Netherlands38817.1 $22,690.06
 China2511439 $174.43
 Singapore2085.85 $35,555.56
 Malaysia18532.4 $5,709.88
 Netherlands18317.1 $10,701.75
 Chile16019.1 $8,376.96
 India1281380 $92.75
 France12665.3 $1,929.56
 Russia125146 $856.16
 Denmark1195.79 $20,552.68
 South Africa11259.3 $1,888.70
 Brazil80212.6 $376.29
 Ireland304.94 $6,072.87

Wow, look at Norway

Norway has the most saved per person, but their fund is publicly owned and was formed when Norway made lots of money in oil and is now invested in ethically run companies. Individuals don’t contribute to it and the government can only access 3% of the funds each year. You can watch this youtube video to find out why Norway is so rich.

A few other countries of note

The US has the most funds under management, but due to wealth distribution the average per person is lower. Pensions in the UK seems to be a confusing affair and it’s up to the employer to set up a pension plan and to make contributions on your behalf. 

Singapore once had employer contributions set as high as 25% before their recession in the 80’s.

In New Zealand, the pension is called superannuation. It’s a lot simpler than our system and isn’t means tested. Here is an interesting article comparing them.

Why is Australia so wealthy?

The main reason why we have so much saved is because of the compulsory employer contributions; which is currently 9.5% on top of your salary goes towards retirement savings. This was established in the 90’s by the Keating government at the time. Here is a youtube video of Keating ranting about super.

The average working Australian

I’ve told my brother, who’s 22 and works in a supermarket as a fruit and veg manager, that he’ll likely have 400k in super when he retires, even if he does nothing with it. You can use money smarts super calculator to play around with some numbers.

The average supermarket employee makes around 50k a year (plus or minus around 5k). 400k in savings feels like an insane amount of potential wealth for someone in my family (a previously low socio economic but still very bogan family, we are now upper middle bogans 😉)

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