man with umbrella and ocean wave breaking over him This third financial risk is "massive,"says the report, "considering that 40 percent of the world'spopulation, or 2.4 billion people, lives within 60 miles of thecoast." (Photo: AP)

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Both globally and at home, retirement security is under threat from threefactors that can utterly disrupt workers' long-term plans.

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That's according to the Natixis Global Retirement Index, which pointsthe finger at interest rates, demographics and climate change.

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1. Interest rates

With interest rates low and sinking lower, borrowersmay be happy but retirees and plan sponsors aren't. Not only haverates been low since the Great Recession, which has weighed onyields from retirement plans and other retirement investments,they're now on their way down again as the threat of anotherrecession looms—and that drives up pension liabilities.

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Says the report, "Ten years after the crisis, every 25-bps cutoff rates means a $25 cut from income earned off $10,000, $250 off$100,000, and $2,500 off $1 million."

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That means that would-be retirees really can't abide by outdatedlong-term advice about withdrawal and yield rates if they want tomake it to the end of their lives without running out of money.

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In addition, as bond investors seek to reinvest funds once theirlong-term bonds mature, they're finding they can't do so atanything like the yields they once relied on.

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So as they age and their expenses likely rise from health carecosts, if not just from overall inflation, they're not getting asmuch as they did when their expenses might actually have beenlower—compelling them to live on less or find an alternate sourceof retirement income.

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And some will turn to riskier forms of investment in search ofhigher yields, which doesn't bode well for the long term—andperhaps not even for the short term.

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2. Demographics

Demographics turn low interest rates into a double whammy byextending lifespans so that people need more money, not less, toget by till the ends of their lives.

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Not only does this pressure the individual investor, but it alsoweighs on countries' retirement systems, particularly as the boomergeneration ages and is not "replaced" by an equal number of youngworkers entering the workplace.

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The old age dependency ratio, which looks at the number ofpeople age 65 and above for every 100 workers (age 15–64), hasrisen globally from 8.6 in 1960 to 12.6 in 2015.

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But, says the report, more developed countries have more olderpeople; it cites the United Nations reporting that "the impact ofaging populations is most pronounced in more developed countries,where the ratio is now close to 30.0."

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That means the number of people taking money out of retirementsystems is growing by leaps and bounds compared to the number ofpeople putting money into retirement systems.

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And the longer they live, the longer they'll be doing so. Saysthe report, "OECD projects that pension spending will grow from 8.9percent of GDP in 2013–2015 to as much as 9.5 percent in 2050.That's a $4.6 trillion total increase in public spending onpensions. By way of comparison, the U.S. GDP has grown by anaverage of only 2 percent annually since 2000."

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3. Climate change

Last but far from least is climate change. From the report: "Thefinancial risk is massive considering that 40 percent of theworld's population, or 2.4 billion people, lives within 60 miles ofthe coast. Ten percent lives in coastal areas that are less than 10meters above sea level. Considering that many retirees are livingon a fixed income, sharp climate-driven insurance rate hikes couldupend financial plans. In many instances, a primary home may be thesingle largest personal asset owned by individuals. Withoutinsurance, retirees could be financially wiped out by extremeweather damage."

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Not only are they at risk of displacement (and of course manyretirees flock to the coasts in the U.S.), but higher temperaturesput a greater strain on elders' health, particularly among thosewith chronic illnesses.

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So climate change can rob retirees not only of their homes butalso of their health and possibly their lives, as death tolls risefrom storms and increased illnesses.

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Absent some drastic action, retirement may not be the golden-agedream that so many have looked forward to.

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