When compared to other similar countries, retirement benefits in the United States are relatively modest. A report from CNBC took a closer look at retirement systems in numerous countries and found the U.S. to be performing lower than the average.  Retirees in the U.S. generally receive about 47 percent of their pre-retirement income on Social Security.  Similar programs in Europe and elsewhere generally pay about 68 percent of pre-retirement income.

In the 2011 Melbourne Mercer Global Pensions Index, the U.S. was given a middling grade of “C,” along with France, Singapore, Brazil, Poland and Germany.