What will become of our pensions?

People are living longer and having fewer children - in almost all European countries this trend is putting pension funds under pressure. Governments and societies are having to deal with the fact that ever fewer young people are financing ever more older people. Commentators in different countries propose different approaches to the problem.

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Iltalehti (FI) /

Making your own provisions is a must

As life expectancy rises pensions in Finland are decreasing automatically. Those who want to prevent this must work longer. Iltalehti explains the alternatives:

“The legal age of retirement in Finland is 65, but because of the life expectancy coefficient a 49-year-old worker, for example, will have to work until he's 68 to receive a full pension. For the pension system the life expectancy coefficient is positive because it encourages people to work longer and ensures that the pension payments will be enough to cover everyone. But at the individual level this model can be very harsh. ... For these reasons all employed persons should be informed about the current pension requirements and if necessary make additional provisions for their old age.”

Világgazdaság (HU) /

Support the family rather than immigration

To ensure future pensions Hungary is showing foresight and trying to increase the birth rate, Világgazdaság comments approvingly:

“The social insurance systems that form the consensus of European societies and stabilise them are based on solidarity between generations. They're complemented by private insurance, but it will take decades before the responsibility of the individual entirely replaces the system on which the community is based. ... We see that certain western and northern European countries believed for decades that they could solve the problem by accelerating immigration from outside the Western world. ... Our country, by contrast, has proclaimed the biggest project for supporting families in the entire Western world, and important partial successes of this programme are already apparent.”

Metro (CZ) /

We shouldn't be embarassed about getting old

Shame prevents many elderly Czechs from seeking help, Metro notes:

“The main reason why elderly people in our country don't want to move in with their children, for example, is that they don't want to be a burden and want to look after themselves for as long as they can. They think they can cope with their situation, both mentally and financially. But that can lead to them seeking help only when it's too late. It's shame that makes us want to be self-reliant. Senior citizens find the idea that they can no longer take manage their daily lives unpalatable. Nevertheless it's crucial that they talk with their children about such issues.”