November 27, 2016


Majority of Japanese Elderly Not Saved Enough for Retirement, More than Double U.S.

Keywords: Aging Society Money Resilience Well-Being 

Photo: Old Couple
Image by Richard Revel

The Japanese Cabinet Office released the Annual Report on the Aging Society 2015 in May 2016. An international comparative survey in the report showed that 57.0% of Japanese elderly (ages 60 and older) say they have insufficient savings and resources to cover expenses in old age, compared to 24.9% in the U.S., 18.9% in Sweden, and 18.0% in Germany. This indicates that many Japanese seniors are anxious about the longevity of their retirement nest egg.

The report also revealed that the percentage of elderly who want or want to keep paid work is the highest in Japan, at 44.9%, compared to 39.4% in the U.S., 36.6% in Sweden, and 22.7% in Germany. Broken down by primary reason, about half of respondents in Japan and U.S. listed income, while half in Germany and Sweden say their work is interesting and gives them energy.

It is often said that Japanese people continue working after retirement due to their industriousness. However, the survey results imply that they are actually working for their bread.

The survey also suggested that many Japanese seniors do not have close friends: 25.9% of Japanese respondents said they do not have friends outside their families to whom they can go for advice or mutual caring, compared to 17.1% in Germany, 11.9% in the U.S., and 8.9% in Sweden.

About the survey

  • Survey title: International comparative survey on life and attitude of the elderly in 2015
  • Surveyed countries: Japan, U.S., Germany, and Sweden
  • Survey subjects: Male and female individuals 60 years old and over not in nursing homes
  • Survey period: October 2015 to December 2015
  • Valid responses: 1,105 in Japan, 1,003 in U.S., 1,008 in Germany, and 1,000 in Sweden

Written by Naoko Niitsu

From Happiness Studies News (Institute for Studies in Happiness, Economy and Society) (Available in Japanese)