Areas of research  

  • Pensioners’ income, pension adequacy  
  • Gender gap in pensions  
  • Citizens’ perceptions of and trust in pensions  


I am the Head of Research at the Finnish Centre for Pensions and in charge of our research in support of the evaluation and development of earnings-related pensions in Finland. Recently, my research has focused on the livelihood of retirees and the gender gap in pensions. I have a Ph.D. in social politics (2004). My areas of interest are pension and social security systems, as well as research on the income and welfare of the population. I am active and will participate in, among other things, the social security reform committee during the period 2020–2027. 

Ongoing research projects  

In this study we outline Finnish citizens’ opinions and views on pensions and the reliability and future outlooks of the pension system. In addition, we examine Finns’ assessments of their retirement income and how they have prepared themselves financially for retirement. We also outline how much they know about pensions and of the impacts of the 2017 pension reform and how these impacts may affect retirement.

The study is based on a questionnaire survey sent to 5,000 randomly selected 25–67-year-old Finnish citizens. The dataset is supplemented with register data. The privacy statement (in Finnish) is applied to the processing of personal data.

Schedule: 2019–2021

Researchers: Sanna Tenhunen, Liisa-Maria Palomäki, Jyri Liukko, Juha Rantala, Susan Kuivalainen

The Pension Barometer examines how well Finns know pensions and how well they think pensions are implemented. The Barometer reveals Finns’ perceptions of how well they will manage financially in retirement and measures their trust in the pension system. The annual survey allows researchers to monitor how people’s opinions, perceptions and trust in the pension system change and develop. 

The Pension Barometer is based on annual telephone interviews carried out five years in a row with 1,000 persons between the ages of 17 and 79 who live in mainland Finland.

Researchers: Mikko Kautto/Jaakko Kiander, Susan Kuivalainen, Sanna Tenhunen

Schedule: 2017–2021


We continue producing new and up-to-date data on retirees’ perceptions of their livelihood and economic well-being. In the autumn of 2020, we will repeat the questionnaire survey “Pensioners’ income and economic well-being” that we carried out in 2017. The survey, carried out online and by post, is targeted at 55-85-year-old persons on an old-age and disability pension so that part of the respondents are new and part the same as in the previous wave. Our aim is to better recognize factors that affect pensioners’ perceptions of their livelihood and follow changes in these perceptions during retirement.

In our analyses, we focus on reporting on the central indicators (for example, financial satisfaction, covering regular and necessary expenses, consumption). However, we will also produce data on new subjects such as incurring debt, wealth, financial relations between the spouses and causes that prevent working in retirement.

Schedule: 2020–2022

Researchers: Kati Ahonen, Susan Kuivalainen, Anu Polvinen, Liisa-Maria Palomäki, Anniina Kaittila (University of Turku)

Life-course trajectories have become increasingly important for retirement and pensions as recent reforms have strengthened the link between lifetime employment and benefits, introduced measures to lengthen working lives and increased the role of private supplementary pensions. At the same time, life-courses are increasingly fragmented due to diversified and discontinuous employment, family dynamics, and migration. These developments raise concerns about the adequacy of pensions as well as socioeconomic and gender inequalities in old-age income not only for current, but also for future retirees. The articles of this special issue deal with life-course effects on inequalities in retirement and pensions. The collection provides strong empirical and comparative evidence based on micro- and macro-level data from affluent democracies across Europe and the OECD.

Schedule: 2019–2021

Researchers: Kati Kuitto, Susan Kuivalainen, Katja Möhring (University of Mannheim)