This research examines the comparative perceived income adequacy among older Swedes and older Americans. The persisting issue of ‘poverty’ and income adequacy, and the use of monetary-unit income (dollars, kroner, etc.) as a basis for determining levels of poverty or of income adequacy has severe limitations. In an attempt to simplify the problem of developing standard measures for different monetary-unit systems, i.e. between nations, this study utilises a typology of perceived income adequacy to examine, among older persons in Sweden, the extent to which they believe their incomes support a satisfying standard of living. Additionally, the research examines differences in income adequacy between the U.S. and Sweden. Results from the 1981 NCOA/Harris survey data in the U.S. are compared with findings from a representative survey of older Swedes conducted by SIFO in 1986. Among other results, it is found that for older Swedes only 20% feel financially hard-strapped, compared to 35% of older Americans. Discussion of this and other findings is included. Income adequacy of the elderly in Sweden should be of particular interest to policymakers in the U.S. because of the widely held belief that Sweden has achieved a level of income security beyond the ‘safety net’.