Those who received the brochure knew the pension reform well, as much as three times better than those who did not get the brochure. Brochure recipients also regarded the pension reform as just and fair more often than non-recipients. However, the brochure had no effect on retirement intentions.
In the questionnaire study conducted by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) and the Finnish Centre for Pensions, the brochure on the 2017 pension reform was sent to 1,000 people in Finland. The comparison group consisted of the same number of people who did not receive the brochure. Three fourths of those who received the brochure read it. Most of them were over 50-year-olds.
One in three brochure recipients thought they were very or rather knowledgeable about the pension reform, compared with just one in six among those who did not get the brochure. The information brochure had the greatest effect among respondents with a lower annual income and those with a basic level and upper secondary education. In all age and income categories, those who received the brochure knew more about the pension reform. The difference in knowledge between income categories were smaller among those who received the brochure than among those who did not receive it.
Regardless of whether they had received the brochure, people were by and large quite knowledgeable about the general principles of the pension reform. About 70% of the respondents were aware that increasing life expectancy had the effect of reducing pensions, and almost 90% knew that the rise in life expectancy would push up retirement age. The majority of the respondents had received previous information about the pension reform through traditional media.
“Those who had received the pension brochure clearly knew the pension reform much better. They also found the reform to be more fair than did those who did not receive the brochure. Even in the times of digitalisation, a printed brochure is an effective means of communication, particularly to the older age groups,” explains Ilpo Airio, Senior Researcher at Kela.
According to Airio, adequate and clear communication is also important in terms of equality since it evens out information gaps between different population groups.
Hardly any impact on retirement intensions
Most respondents considered linking retirement age to life expectancy and pension accrual harmonisation to be just and fair. About half of the respondents were worried about the adequacy of their pension income and about the rise in retirement age.
Although the pension brochure increased knowledge of the reform, it had hardly any effect on the respondents’ retirement intentions. The respondents found retirement between the ages of 63 and 67 to be the most appropriate. On average, the respondents plan to retire at age 65.
Four out of five respondents intended to retire late or early. Receiving the booklet had no impact on their retirement intentions. However, knowledge of the effect on the amount of pension when retirement is postponed reduced intentions to retire earlier and increased intentions to retire late.
“If we want Finnish people to retire later than currently, it is important that we tell them of the benefits of retiring late,” Sanna Tenhunen, Economist at the Finnish Centre for Pensions, points out.
The questionnaire survey conducted by Kela and the Finnish Centre for Pensions aimed to answer two questions. First, how much do people in Finland know about the 2017 pension reform? Second, how do their knowledge of the retirement age and their opinions of the pension reform change when given information on these issues? An ample 1,800 persons responded to the questionnaire.
Ilpo Airio, Senior Researcher, Kela, phone +358 20 63 41954, ilpo.airio(at)kela.fi
Sanna Tenhunen, Economist, Finnish Centre for Pensions, phone +358 29 411 2492, sanna.tenhunen(at)etk.fi
Photo: Lehtikuva/ Markku Ulander