Monday, 17 December 2007

Pensions scare

Pensions have been a widely discussed issue in the media for some time now here in Finland.

This country seems to be owned by insurance companies as they own banks, real estate and they are also share holders in many companies. They also decide upon your pension as a part of it comes from them, the part counting from your work earnings converted into pension money so to speak.

Anyway, most of the big insurance companies have had extensive ad campaigns painting an exaggerated gloomy picture of the future and in fear of poverty when retiring many people have a monthly investment in a savings fund with an insurance company. That means to give your money to the disposal of the insurance company, money to be invest as they please and hopefully it will still be there for you and not lost, as so often happens in economics when the big boys and not to forget the big girls, are playing with somebody else’s money, when time is for retiring in maybe decades time from today.

Still according to Eläketurvakeskus, the Finnish National Centre for Pensions, the state pension funds have not vanished and the next generation of pensioners will have unmatched purchasing power compared to previous generations as the pensions already have surpassed the pensioners to receive over 60 percent of their salary compared to their last year at work. Is this not misleading of the public by the insurance companies just to make a few bucks?

The government is currently also reducing the taxes for pensioners by 3, 2 % by beginning of next year if I have got it correct. The 3, 2% tax reduction is only to be effective if you earn between 13.000 and 31.000 Euros per year. If you earn less it won’t affect you as much, but they say your taxes will still be reduced. Nobody seems to know how much yet though, but it is apparently to be presented during the parliamentary session today. Why are people with less income not the ones the tax reductions affects the most?

Anyway, the government is now counting how much they can afford to invest in senior citizens, as the amount of pensions as well as health care costs and care taking costs will be going up as a big generation will be retiring soon. Ten years ago 80% of citizens between the ages of 60-64 were retired compared to last years’ 59%.

Does this mean people are healthier or are they just afraid to retire? Or have the demands in the society become so much harsher that you are afraid to retire and enjoy life as you loose your identity that is who you are at work, not who you really are in your private life. Has life become that shallow that only your CV and working merits counts in the eyes of people and not how you act or how you are?

It is so much easier to be the executive of some corporation, the bank clerk or the all-knowing janitor instead of having your dear spouse bossing you around all day; your spouse does not listen to your opinions anyway. As what comes to respecting you, compared to your employees well wives and husbands probably know you better than you do yourself so is it that we get what we deserve when retiring and this is what we really are afraid of and not the money we might have in pension?

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