If national pension programs were like high school students, the U.S. retirement system would be that kid with a whole lot of potential, spaced out in the back of the class.

The 2014 Melbourne Mercer Global Pensions Index, which compares and ranks the public and private pension components of 25 nations, gives the U.S. just an average grade and a global ranking of 13 on the list of 25.

As an average student (five other countries' systems received a C grade, including France and Brazil), the survey's authors classify the U.S. pension system as having "some good features, but also major risks and shortcomings that should be addressed."

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