Declined Trust in Pension Provision Among Citizens

The trust of Finnish citizens in the adequacy and fairness of pension provision has clearly declined. According to the Trust in Pension provision survey conducted by the Finnish Centre for Pensions, only half of the citizens believe that the pension guarantees a reasonable income in old age, and even less trusted in the adequacy of the disability pension.

The trust in the Finnish pension system was measured in 2011 and again in 2014. In nearly all respects, the trust of Finnish citizens in the pension provision and the pension system has declined in the past three years.

According to Mervi Takala, Senior Researcher at the Finnish Centre for Pensions, the underlying factors to this decline may be the uncertainty regarding the pension reform since its content was not agreed on when the survey was made. The general financial situation and the discussion on the sustainability of the system may also have chipped away at the trust in the pension provision and the future.

“On the other hand, people seem to have a fairly realistic view of their own economy. People have understood the relation between a low income and a low pension,” Takala explains.

Satisfactory grade for the pension system

On a scale from one to ten, the Finnish citizens awarded the Finnish pension system a grade of 6.5, i.e. a satisfactory grade. No equivalent grade was given in 2011.

Approximately 54 per cent believed that pensions provide reasonable security in old age. The equivalent figure in 2011 was 62 per cent. Of women, less than half (49%) assumed that the pension will offer a reasonable income in old-age.

Only 37 per cent considered pension to guarantee a reasonable income in the case of disability. The share of those agreeing was considerably higher in 2011, with a difference of 10 percentage points between the different times of polling.

One third of the respondents agreed with the statement that pensions promised will also be paid in the future. The figure dropped by five percentage points from 2011. Those already retired trusted in the realisation of the pension promise more than those of working-age, the unemployed and those outside working life.

According to Mikko Kautto, Director at the Finnish Centre for Pensions, the results of the survey reflects a growing economic concern.

“Those who are less fortunate see the future development, the pension provision and its adequacy more pessimistically”, Kautto says.

Every third respondent found the pension system to be fair, although the number of people who were uncertain about this issue has grown. 63 per cent of the respondents found it unfair that the earliest eligibility age for old age pension will be linked to life expectancy, as agreed in the pension reform.

A total of 2,032 citizens responded to the survey. The respondents were aged between 18 and 68 years and represented different educational levels.

Further information

Mervi Takala, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 29 411 2162, mervi.takala(at)etk.fi

Mikko Kautto, Director, tel. +358 411 2185, +358 40 740 8095, mikko.kautto(at)etk.fi

Trust in Pension Security in 2011 and 2014 (Executive Summary) , Finnish Centre for Pensions, Reports 04/2015