Home |  Elder Rights |  Health |  Pension Watch |  RuralAging |  Armed Conflict |  Aging Watch at the UN  


Mission  |  Contact Us  |  Internships  |    


  Back to current issues



















Pension Issues around the World


- Archives 2009 -


Also see our sections on Social Pensions, Trade Unions and Pensions
and US Pension Issues

Articles in Arabic | Chinese | French | Russian | Spanish



Mauritania: The State Repatriates Victims of 1989 Conflicts (July 10, 2009)
(Article in French)
Between 1989 and 1991, the conflict between Senegal and Mauritania along the Senegal River created a crisis leading to the breakdown of diplomatic relations for many years. It also led to thousand of refugees in both countries. However, Mauritania has recently decided to repatriate the public officers who were victims of the 1989 conflict, granting them retirement pensions if they are too old to work. By taking into account those twenty years of deportation, Mauritania is taking necessary measures to compensate refugees. 

Kenya: Kenya Ups Pension Payout (July 27, 2009)
In Kenya, the government has approved a pension increase for all its 195,000 retirees and their dependents starting July 1, as provided for in this year’s budget. In March, the government raised the retirement age for civil servants from 55 to 60 years in a bid to reduce the number of pensioners and give them more time to give their input. The increase will raise the monthly pension at the rate of three percent or Sh300, whichever is higher.

Zimbabwe: Older Zimbabweans Lose Life Savings (May 27, 2009)

The Zimbabwean government has suspended the use of its dollar for a year, resulting in the loss of savings for many older people. The only currencies now in use are the South African rand, the Botswana pula, and the US dollar. This renders the savings of thousands of older people worthless, leaving them unable to buy food and other essential goods.


Ghana: Pension Reform in Ghana: Special Pension Scheme for the Informal Sector (May 4, 2009)
The Presidential Commission on Pensions examined the current pension schemes and made recommendations to ensure stability, an increasing need as traditional ways of caring for the old are breaking down. The Commission noted the absence of any formal pension system for the informal sector. The PCP recommended creating a new contributory three-tier pension system comprising two mandatory schemes and a voluntary scheme.


Kenya: Millions Faced With Poverty Trap Upon Retirement (April 13, 2009)
Kenya faces extreme levels of old age poverty in the next 20 years as the number of people above 60 years of age doubles with no corresponding increase in pension coverage. Kenya’s pension coverage is one of the lowest in the world, with less than 15% of its 12 million workers covered, a poor comparison to the global average of 30%.


France: Enjoying One’s Retirement Abroad…Why not in Mauritius? (April 9, 2009) 
(Article in French)
French retirees are now settling abroad permanently (+13% in five years) and the numbers continue to go up. With a milder climate and lower living costs, seniors do not hesitate to cross seas and oceans to live in places where daily life is more pleasant, especially in North Africa or to more remote countries in Southeast Asia. Due to this tendency, Mauritius is now trying to attract French seniors to its own tropical paradise. 

Nigeria: Strict Regulations, Safety of Pension Funds (April 8, 2009)
The National Pension Commission (PenCom), normally criticized for its strict regulations, is partly vindicated because through its strict regulations on investments. PenCom successfully prevented enormous losses to the nation’s pension funds in the wake of the financial crisis. This is in part due to passage of the Pension Reform Act of 2004. Nigeria must continue to search for ways to strengthen its system; particularly they must move to stabilize the investments of those already retired.

Kenya: Secure Old Age Now (March 28, 2009)

Kenya recently extended its retirement age from 55 to 60 years, which means a new lease on life as retirement often translates into death in Kenya. Years of economic difficulties have crippled the country’s pension system. It is claimed that civil servants regularly pillage state resources and the treasury, using taxpayers’ money that otherwise could be used for pensions to pay for shortages.

Mauritius: Retirement Age: Explanations Are Always Necessary (March 18, 2009)
(Article in French)
Civil servants and workers from the private sector have gathered again to try to explain why the the legal retirement age of 65 years should be postponed. The Government wants to encourage employees to retire later to allow the National Pension Fund (NPF) to be profitable in the long run, because life expectancy has become longer in Mauritius. Today there is quite a lot of confusion, and affected persons deserve clarification. In the pension area, formulas are used. When there is change, they become really complex, and that is why a pedagogical approach is so important. The current reforms will have a major impact on strategic decisions made at the human resources level within companies, whatever their size or sector of activity. 


Ivory Coast : Legal Retirement Age : Workers Adjudicate on Advantages and Drawbacks of the Reform. Interview of  H. Oulaye (March 3, 2009)
(Article in French)
The interviewee explains the different reasons why the civil servants’ legal age for retirement was extended to 57 years old. In his country, as in many African states, some people are afraid of retirement because they have not prepared it. The proposed change will not lower retirees’ incomes so the reform is not necessarily seen as bad. The decree is supposed to provide a transiton to the eventual retirement age of 60 years. One of the pernicious effects of this measure is that it does not encourage hiring of young graduates. Rather, it leads to maintaining some categories of workers to their positions. 

Uganda: Helping Aged Persons in Uganda (January 29, 2009)

An alarming number of Ugandans, over 90%, will continue to work far into old age due to a severe lack of financial protection for older persons. Although Uganda does have a pension system, even those citizens who can make claims, have problems getting assistance. The government is taking steps to change the current situation, for example, adding seats to Parliament specifically for older persons. Leaders are debating the pro’s and con’s of a universal social pension system. 


Return to Top of Page

Americas & Caribbean

Reports | Articles



Americas: Social Security Throughout the World: The Americas (2009)
Authors of this comprehensive report outline and describe the Social Security programs for all countries in the Americas. Researchers can use this material to review different ways of approaching the need for income support in old age. This information will help governments to adapt their social security systems to the varying needs of individuals, households and families. This comprehensive guide is especially useful in light of the ongoing demographics changes, such as growth among the older population. 


Latin America: Is Latin America Retreating from Individual Retirement Accounts? (July 2009)

In 1981, Chile initiated old-age pension reforms that introduced mandatory funded individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and moved away from public systems. Beginning in the 1990s, ten other Latin American countries followed in Chile’s wake. In recent years, even before the onset of the financial crisis, a second round of pension reforms reversed this process and began to address the myriad problems in the privatized individual accounts. This brief reviews the two rounds of pension changes and their results thus far.



Trinidad and Tobago: Old Age Pensioners Exempt from Paying Tax (December 22, 2009)
In Trinidad and Tobago, a Government Minister explains the Government's exclusion of elderly persons receiving Senior Citizens' Grants from having to pay the new property tax. Minister Imbert asserts that senior citizens receiving the grant cannot afford to pay for the rest of their lives more than they qualified to earn at age 65. 


Chile: Education on Social Welfare: Another Aspect of the Reform (December 7, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
Education on social welfare has marked President Bachelet's welfare reform. She wants to educate the poorest elders about the importance of preparing for old age and the most convenient alternatives to secure a better pension plan. Some 34 labor unions are also working on this project. They have reached more than 300,000 older people who were uncertain how the pension system works. The process is expected to take a long time, but the results have been positive.


Canada: Negotiations in Public and Para-governmental Sectors: Retirees Afraid of Having to Pay for Inaccessible Benefits (December 7, 2009)
(Article in French)
The Quebecois Association of Retirees of the Public and Para-governmental Sectors fears the consequences of the negotiations about pensions between the government and trade unions. Unions and management appear to have agreed to increase the pension for people who continue to work (up to three years). It's the funding for this measure that worries the Quebecois Association of Retirees: A pension increase will come from 
funds of current retirees who consequently will not benefit from the measure.


El Salvador: Pensions for Older Persons Distributed in Ten Days (November 7, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
The Social Development and Investment Fund in El Salvador developed a program for an additional pension to be handed over to 32 low-income municipalities. A $50 pension will be distributed twice a month. The government wants give universal social protection to older persons living in extreme poverty. Until 2010, the government plans to give pensions to all municipalities that have extreme poverty, with more than 43 million beneficiaries.


Venezuela: 737 Thousand Elders with no Possibility of Receiving Pensions (September 3, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
The Venezuelan Institute for Social Security says that some 737,000 older Venezuelans are excluded from receiving financial benefits pegged at 60% of the minimum wage. In Venezuela, a total of 800,000 elders do not receive any type of economic aid or pensions. Apparently, certain “agents” promised to negotiate elders’ pension benefits but then they disappeared, leaving the older people had no benefits. 

El Salvador: The President of El Salvador Announces a Subsidy for Elders Without Social Security (September 2, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
The president of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes, announced that starting in November the government will provide a monthly subsidy of 50 dollars to elders without a social security pension. The subsidy will benefit some 9,000 older people who reside in the 32 poorest municipalities of the country. Although older adults have worked all their lives, only a minority of them receive pensions at retirement. A society that abandons its grandparents will never be happy, much less be known as a country that is fair and supportive.

Bolivia: 60% of Elders of the Country Work for Their Survival (August 25, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
Despite Bolivia’s universal social pension, the author claims that 60% of older Bolivians work in the national labor market. He writes that families have abandoned their older relatives, forcing them to stay in the labor market to generate their own income. 

Argentina: The Aging of the Population Poses Questions to the Social Security System (August 18, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
The Argentine social security system maintains a healthy surplus. But an aging population and an increase in unemployment or a gloomy employment picture could change that equation. Many other countries face this issue as well.

Latin America: The Laboratory of Global Pension Reform (August 5, 2009)

(Article in Chinese)
Latin America has become a “laboratory” of global reform of the pension system. Latin America once had a high birth rate, huge families and a long-term surplus labor force. Its main challenge was a quickly accelerating youth population. But Latin America is now experiencing a major demographic transition. The average life expectancy has been increasing, close to that of developed countries. Now Latin American countries must examine pension issues. 

Canada: Frozen Pensions Decreasing for Thousands of Retired in Quebec (July 31, 2009)
(Article in French)
This month, the Canadian government issued a lower pension check to retired citizens from Quebec due to deflation. Many people now think that indexing pensions based on the current overall economic situation must be reviewed. Such a policy on benefits retired people during inflationary periods. Moreover, it appears that last month’s deflation was essentially due to decreasing gas prices. Elders do not buy much gasoline and therefore do not benefit from the deflation


Panama: Panama Offers Monthly Voucher for Seniors over 70 (July 26, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
Citizens of Panama who are over 70 years old who do not have any pension, can now breathe easy thanks to the program “100 for the 70.” It guarantees an official monthly payment of 100 dollars for each person over 70 years of age. This initiative can potentially benefit more than 70,000 Panama elders living in extreme poverty.

Chile: Michelle Bachelet Allocates a Bonus to Women (July 15, 2009)

(Article in French)
Beginning on July 1, when Chilean women turn 65 years old, they can retire with a financial bonus depending on the number of children they have. In President Michelle Bachelet’s view, this financial compensation rewards mothers with dignity. From now on, every mother gets about 300,000 pesos (370 euros) for each child they birthed or adopted. This bonus is frozen until the mother is 65 and then it is added to her old-age pension. Chilean lawmakers want to give a decent retirement to the maximum number of Chilean people.

El Salvador: Bond Deliveries of $50 to Older Persons Set to Begin (June 11, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
The President of El Salvador, Mauricio Funes, plans to follow through on his promise of distributing $50 bonds monthly to older persons in the poorest municipalities. The beneficiaries of the payments will be persons older than 70 years who do not receive pensions and reside in the poorest regions in the country. The government has already begun by identifying the older persons who are eligible through information gathered in a 2007 population census.

Mexico: Authorities Give Economic Aid to Elderly (June 9, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
The State of Jalisco, through the Direction of Civic Participation, delivered 250 cards to older persons as part of a program for older adults that offers economic aid of 500 pesos a month. On the morning of June 8, the first 250 cards were delivered to beneficiaries in the Capuchinas area. The program will distribute aid to municipalities with a population of over 10,000 inhabitants.

Bolivia: Steps Toward a Bigger Pension (June 2009)

In November 2007, the Bolivian government passed a law replacing the Bonosol, an annual allowance worth US $220 for everyone over 65 years, with Renta Dignidad, a monthly payment of US$25 (US$300 a year) for everyone over 60 years. Fearing a possible cut in pensions at the end of 2007, older people’s organizations mobilized to fight against any such proposal. After futile discussions with government officials, 15,000 older persons took their argument to the streets in an eight-kilometer march around the city. Less than a month later, the government passed the law announcing Renta Dignidad, ending a year of negotiations between civil society and the government.

Paraguay: The Executive Power of Paraguay Vetoes a Pension Project for Poor Elders (May 18, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
On June 1, 2009, the Executive Branch of the Paraguay government vetoed legislation that would provide pension and free health care benefits to impoverished older persons. The plan would have provided persons over 60 years, who do neither receive retirement checks from the state nor a salary, with a monthly pension payment equivalent to one fourth of the minimum salary.

Canada: Finally Some Good News: The Doctor Is In (April 21, 2009)

Many family doctors are postponing plans to retire or working more hours to fill shortages in small communities due to the recession. This is inadvertently good for areas that have shortages of doctors. However, doctors aren't the only ones reconsidering their twilight years. Nearly 40% of Canadians are postponing retirement for financial reasons.

Canada: Pension Plan Protection in a Recession (April 16, 2009)

Pension plan protection has many Canadians worried, especially now when there is a serious lack of assets and a greater chance of companies shutting down. In 2005, more than 13.7 million Canadians did not have any type of employee retirement plan. The author summarizes the recent struggles pensioners face, the ways in which they can receive better protection, and questions that they may have.

Cuba: Ageing Cuba Ups Retirement Age (March 29, 2009)

Sweeping poverty forces most of Cuba’s 2.2 million retirees to get new jobs that enable them to keep a steady income and supplement their pensions. Faced with an aging population and a life expectancy of 77.3 years, nearly the same as the US, Cuba’s government has raised the retirement threshold by five years to 60 for women and 65 for men. About 90% of Cubans have government jobs, and now work at least 30 years, not 25 years, to get a full pension. 

Mexico: Older Persons Neglected (February 24, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
In the settlement of El Torito in Naucalpan, many older persons live in cardboard boxes with dirt floors, with nothing to eat and no money to get much needed medicine while living in a high-risk flood zone. There are more than one million old people. Many live literally on the streets without any pension or medicine. The 750 pesos some do receive as pension only covers basic food and perhaps medicine. 

Mexico: Mexicans Receive the Lowest Pension of the OCDE (February 13, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE) estimates that Mexicans receive only about 36% of their final salary in pensions when they retire, placing them at the bottom of the ranking. Due to the financial crisis, over 5.4 billion dollars worth of pension fund assets have been lost, totaling an estimated 23% loss of all workers’ savings. The OCDE recommends additional efforts to support public pension systems by drawing on the reserve fund of public pensions. 

Bolivia: The ‘Dignified Rent’ Will Benefit Almost 700,000 Senior Citizens in Bolivia (February 1, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
Beginning this year, the Bolivian government will pay a pension to citizens older than 60 years old, including those living in remote areas of the country. Older persons currently not receiving a pension will get 200 Bolivianos (approximately $28), while those who do receive a pension will obtain 150 Bolivianos a month. 

Guatemala: Is it Possible to Retire in Guatemala? (February 1, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
Last year, 88,000 Guatemalan retirees received a pension of 200 quetzals a month, which cannot substitute for a wage. Retirement is just a dream. The government has proposed many plans including one that entails readjusting pensions with inflation. No substantial changes have been made. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the Guatemalan population is not economically active or involved in the cash economy, making it difficult to collect pension contributions. 

Cuba: Retirement Age Increased 5 More Years in Cuba (January 26, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
A new law delaying the age of retirement is adopted in order to increase the labor force before a downturn in economic productivity affects the country. The law approved at the end of December changed the retirement age from 60 to 65 years for men, 55 to 60 years for women; and 25 to 30 years necessary before retirement. Not only does the law reincorporate retiree labor but extends protection rights of orphans studying in universities until they finish their studies.

Canada: Multiemployer Pension Plans Touted (January 21, 2009)

John Crocker, CEO of the Hospitals of Ontario Pension Plan, has urged the Ontario government to draft and implement larger pension plans to respond to the volatile nature of the job market. Under larger pension plans, a worker can retain their pension as they move among employers within the same industry or association. A multiemployer plan can minimize the upheaval when an industry is changing by making it easier for employees to switch jobs.

Puerto Rico: Senior Citizens Living in Poverty (January 14, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
In 2006, nearly 44% of persons 65 years or older lived below the poverty line in Puerto Rico. Due to inflation, seniors now pay twice as much for the same medicine and services than they did in 2001, forcing many to go without medical care. With 18 % of the population above the age of sixty years old, the US government needs to find a solution. Women are particularly affected due to their much longer life-span expectancy. 

Chile: Chile's Homemakers Sign Up for Pension Reform (January 13, 2009)

Chilean women comprise 80% of the people applying for the new public pension benefits that President Michelle Bachelet announced last March as the major fulfillment of her campaign commitment to improve women's financial security.

Costa Rica: One out of Five Older Adults Survive Without Any Income (January 6, 2009) 

(Article in Spanish)
A study was done in Costa Rica to show how many older people are living without any income, including pensions. Out of 278.000 older adults in the country, 22% live without any sort of income. Some survive with the help they receive from people or care centers that give them shelter and food.

Mexico: In 2020, the Number of Senior Citizens Will Double, Informs National Population Council (January 5, 2009)

(Article in Spanish)
According to the National Population Council, Mexico must take measures to change its pension and health care systems. Otherwise, the authors believe both systems could collapse with the increase among older persons. The government is striving to anticipate the needs of its future population while making necessary institutional changes. Although every country encounters challenges with an aging population, Mexico, with lagging development and profound social disparities, has a lot of work ahead to ease the growing problem. 

Return to Top of Page

Asia Pacific

Reports | Articles


Australia: Accumulating Poverty? Women’s Experiences of Inequality Over the Lifecycle (September 2009)
In this report, the Australian Human Rights Commission analysts reveal the gender gap in retirement savings through the lens of a woman’s lifecycle. This gender gap reflects the gender inequalities in Australia; women disproportionately do unpaid work and also receive lower pay relative to men. Therefore, instead of accumulating wealth through the retirement income system, women are more likely to accumulate poverty. For instance, research indicates that, between 2000 and 2005, single elderly female households have been at the greatest risk of persistent poverty.

Nepal: The Universal Social Pension in Nepal: An Assessment of its Impact on Older People in Tanahun District (April 2009)

The report assesses the social and economic impact of the non contributory pension in rural and urban areas in the district of Tanahun in Nepal. Despite being small, the pension has become an important part of older people’s lives and is highly valued by them. The results also varied by each person’s situation. Rural dwellers and people living alone valued it more than urban dwellers and people living with family. The pension not only serves social welfare, but also underscores the respect for older people in Nepali society. 

Vietnam: Ageing, Poverty and Social Pensions in Vietnam (March 2009)
Can a social pension reduce poverty among older Vietnamese? Using data from the 2004 Vietnam Household Living Standard Survey, analysts learned that such pensions did reduce poverty, although some non-poor people received the pensions as well. The authors think that targeting rural elders who are usually poor might be the most effective use of limited resources. Even with limited budgets, a social pension scheme would significantly reduce poverty for old people in Vietnam. 

Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Asia and the Pacific, 2008 (March 2009)
This report is the second issue in the current four-volume series of ‘Social Security Programs Throughout the World’ reports on the countries of Asia and the Pacific. The International Social Security Association (ISSA) under the sponsorship of the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA), collected the survey information. The Report highlights features of social security programs in those political jurisdictions that have such programs and answered the survey. It also provides general definitions of terms which are relevant to the topic of social security. The country summaries provide a detailed snapshot of the history and benefits of the social security program for each participant country in the region.

China: The Development and Prospects of China’s Old-Age Security System (February 2009)
This study examined the operation of the old-age security system currently in effect in China. According to the researchers, the current system bears its own problems, including a development imbalance between urban and rural social security, wide gaps between different groups, the absence, fragmentation and artificial segmentation of the social security system, etc. The paper proposed establishing an old-age subsidy for urban and rural residents without income security, improving basic old-age insurance for enterprise employees in urban areas, and setting up rural old age insurance.

Asia: Ageing Asian Must Face its Pension Problem (January 7, 2009)
The coverage of formal pension systems is relatively low and withdrawn of savings before retirement in Asia. In order to deliver sustainable and adequate retirement income for today’s workers, many Asian countries will need to reform their pension systems.


China: How to Manage Your Money after Retirement (November 20, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
Chinese have many ways to manage their retirement funds these days. Some have insurance; some play the stock market; others simply depend on their pensions. However, not all older persons understand how to manage their finances well. The article offers some tips about how to manage retirement money.

China : Selling Home for Pension (October 12, 2009)
(Article in Chinese) 
Selling the family home is becoming another way to secure income upon retirement in China . It can be tricky for older people in terms of legal contracts and agreements. An eighty-year-old man who sold his house to secure financial support became the very first lawsuit in Shanghai with regard to selling his house for not moving out his apartment.

China: Launching Pensions Reform for Peasants (September 11, 2009)
(Article in French)
This month, the Chinese government launched an experimental pension system in some areas of the country. This program could be the first step toward a real pension system for peasants, reducing the inequalities between rural and urban older citizens.

South Korea: In South Korea, Retirement Can Be Elusive (September 12, 2009)
Thirty thousand or so South Koreans ages 65 and older are exploring openings for work that most never expected they would need. Only 28% of the working population is covered by the government pension system. In an effort to assist the rapidly growing population of older Koreans, the government has established “silver job fairs” to find jobs for people 60 and older. Although the government offers subsidies to private companies that hire older people, there are still not sufficient openings for older job seekers. 

China: Anxiety for Life Support After Retirement Starts from Age 30 (August 17, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
According to a recent study, more and more people start to feel anxious as early as age 30 about financing their life after retirement. Among those who were interviewed, over 40% said they need a fixed income of 4,000 to 8,000 yuan per month to retire. Over 50% belong to nuclear family households and said that have not purchased any insurance for retirement. This fact helps explain the growing uneasiness about retirement and also implies a potential market for Chinese pension premiums.

China: Payment into Pension Fund Rises 19% (August 14, 2009)
Payment into China's national government social security fund rose 19.1% to 696.6 billion Yuan ($102.4 billion) in the first half of this year. At the end of June, 224.13 million people had pensions, an increase of 5.13 million from the end of last year; about 336.79 million have basic medical insurance, up 18.57 million from the end of last year.

China: China Closing the Gap between City and Farm Life (August 11, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
The Chinese government has promised to begin efforts to close the gap that separates prosperous cities from the impoverished rural world. China plans to create the first retirement security program on a national level, in rural areas. They estimate that the pension plan will benefit hundreds of millions of people.

Sri Lanka: Old and Abandoned (August 9, 2009)
The number of old people in Sri Lanka keeps growing, but little has been done to ensure that the country’s senior citizens can live in comfort and financial security. In 2006, the number of older persons in the country stood at 2.2 million, and the figure is forecasted to grow to 5 million by 2031, occupying 22% of the total population. In this article, HelpAge International discusses their research and advice for the growing Sri Lankan population.

China: New Pension Plan to Benefit China's 900 Million Farmers (August 5, 2009)

The government will sponsor farmers over the age of 60 to receive a monthly endowment of varying amounts according to certain areas' income standards. The trial program will have a huge influence on China's social security system, as it encourages farmers to purchase endowment insurance for a more secure life. 

China: State Government Will Subsidize Farmers’ Pension After 60 Years (August 4, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
The new pension method differs from the previous one in that it combines three sources of financing: individual contributions, collective benefits and government subsidies. The central government’s budget makes local grants that directly subsidize farmers possible.

Asia: China and India: Constantly Growing and Rapidly Aging (July 21, 2009)
(Article in French)
China and India, the world’s most populated countries, will face strong aging concerns, projected to the year 2040. The number of older people is constantly increasing, whereas the number of births remains low. In China, the one child policy is weakening the fecundity rate, lowering the ratio of young to old persons. In 1995 India initiated a Social Assistance Program to help older persons and may consider a law requiring citizens to maintain and contribute to the welfare of parents and senior citizens. If enacted, the law would impose sanctions of up three months in prison or a fine of up 5.000 rupees in case of breach of trust.

China: Chinese Government to Determine 3,900 Million Dollars for Subsistence Pensions (July 21, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
The Chinese Treasury Department of Civil Matters has approved a total of 26,400 million yuanes (approximately USD $3,900) to finance pensions for the urban and rural people of China. The subsistence pensions--as an important element of the social security system in China--are meant to allow families with minimal incomes in urban and rural areas access to adequate food and clothing in old age.

China: China’s Elderly Will Overwhelm the Nation (July 6, 2009)
The one-child rule imposed 30 years ago in China has created too few young people to support the expanding aging population. By the middle of this century, fully a third of China's population will be age 60 or older, compared with 26% in the United States. China's projected 438 million senior citizens will outnumber the entire US population. With fewer workers to support an aging society in need of care, China faces the same demographic squeeze confronting Western nations. The difference: China's family policy has accelerated a shift that the country may be ill-prepared to manage and finance at this point. (It should be noted that climate change experts credit the one-child policy as one of the most valuable tools to slow down global warming brought on by human growth and consumption.)

China: Social Insurance Pension System Pilot Program Launched This Year (July 2, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
Last week, China’s Department of State launched the China Social Insurance Pension System Pilot Program. This new program is a start at social pensions, and is considered as important as the abolition of Agricultural Taxation in 2006. For the first time, millions of Chinese farmers could enjoy their older lives with government support for a non-contributory stipend based on age.

Tahiti: The French Polynesian Statistic Institute Predicts That the Population Will Unavoidably Get Older and Older After 2017 (July 1, 2009)
(Article in French)
“Politicians keep saying that we need to think about young people. Indeed. However, one also has to think about the fact that people are going to get older and older. Should we start building rest homes right now?” Hervé Bachère, director of the French Polynesian Statistic Institute, is preoccupied with this question. Because nearly everyone is living longer, “people will have to pay more for old people’s pensions.” The institute has calculated that in 20 years, there will be only 2.2 contributors between 20 and 59 years of age to support the care of each person older than 60 years. 

China: Rural Public Pension Insurance Program is Going to be Launched in Guangdong Province This Year and is Projected to Reach Full Coverage Within Three Years (June 17, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
Reports from Guangdong Provincial Department of Labor and Social Security indicated that the Rural Public Pension Insurance Program being launched this year will have 1.4 million enrollees. Several pilot programs have already been conducted successfully. According to the plan, the project will reach full coverage within the following three years. 

Vietnam: New Rules Are Necessary for Older Persons in Vietnam (June 8, 2009)
(Article in French)
During the 5th session of the General Assembly in Hanoi, deputies discussed new regulations for older persons, including women’s retirement age, special prices for medicines and reduced transportation fares. Old people could also receive some advantages in cultural or artistic activities. This session enlightened the very important role of family to take care of older persons before asking for help from social organizations.

China:  President Urges Promotion of the Social Security System (May 25, 2009)
(Article in Arabic)
Chinese President Hu Jintao wants to accelerate social security system coverage in both urban and rural areas. Referring to a study conducted by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, he stated that the social security system should be built on the principle of broad coverage and multi-layered and sustainable growth in order to meet the basic needs of the people. He also stated that the social security system should focus on improving the service of old-age pensioners and their access to primary medical insurance, attempting to address the older population, particularly those in rural communities.

Australia: Australia Raises Pension Age, Tax Rates for Rich Retirees (May 12, 2009)
By 2023, the pension age in Australia will increase from age 65 to 67 years. Reductions will be made to retirement tax benefits for higher paid workers and matching contributions to low-middle income earners will terminate. Also, the government will be cutting tax breaks for workers saving for retirement. As a result of all the changes there will be an increase in the single-aged weekly pension. Changes are required since Australia has the fourth highest life expectancy in the world, placing a stronger demand on the pension system.

China: Age Wave to Come Crashing Soon Over China’s Economy (April 27, 2009)

The main concern of China’s policymakers should be the pension system with its immense unfunded liabilities, empty accounts and low coverage, especially if UN predictions are correct. By 2050, 438 million Chinese citizens will be over the age of 60. In addition, the unbalanced sex ratio will prove to be a challenge when China builds old age income support financed out of general tax revenues and creates a national, fully portable system of funded retirement accounts. Currently, China is not making enough reforms for the trials ahead.

Thailand: Thailand Government Gives Pension Stipend to Old People To Deal With Economic Crisis (March 24, 2009)

(Article in Chinese)
The Thailand government initiated a temporary social pension aid measure, giving a pension stipend to people over 60 years old who have no form of pension. During his visit to local provinces, Thailand’s Prime Minister said that all citizens above 60 years old are eligible to receive the stipend except those who have already been granted other government subsidies.

China: A Critical Point in Handling Aging for China (March 17, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
The Deputy to the National People’s Congress, Chair of Chinese Population Development and Research Center, recently said that now is a critical time for China to handle its aging issue. Unlike developed countries, the arrival of an aging society in a still quite undeveloped economy has made it more difficult for China to establish a comprehensive social security system. There is an increasing risk for the elderly. The number of people over 80 years old in China is growing by 3.7% annually and is expected to reach 22 million by year 2020 and 83 million by year 2050.

China: Nearly 17,000 Rural Old People in Gui Yang City Receive Pensions Every Month (March 12, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
By the end of February 2009, the number of rural people participating in the rural old-age insurance program in Gui Yang has reached 46,400 persons.. Some 16,914 people above 60 years old have started receiving monthly pension. Gui Yang City has also made efforts to expand coverage of old-age insurance and medical insurance for urban workers to migrant rural workers in the city. By January 2009, some 39,000 employees have signed up for old-age insurance.

China: Prime Minister Promises Retired People’s Pension Increase (March 6, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
Prime Minister Wen Jiabao recently said that this year and next year the government will further increase retired people’s pensions by 10% per capita per year. The Chinese central government budget will allocate 293 billion yuan to fund the social security program, 43.9 billion more than last year, an increase of 17.6%.

Australia: Elderly Poor are the Victims of an Unfair pension System (March 3, 2009)
The pension system was originally intended to be a retirement safety net against poverty for those who could not afford to save, but now everyone seems to feel entitled to a pension despite their own financial security. After studying the Australian pension system, findings showed that 14% of age pension recipients actually live in the wealthiest 25% of households in the country, 6.5% of recipients pay more than half their income on rent, and that single pensioners and renters are more likely to live in poverty.

China: 40 RMB a Day Rewards A Well-Secured Old Life (February 24, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
Life insurance expert suggests that young Chinese start putting aside a certain amount of money for old age by purchasing proper commercial insurance or financial plans. Forty RMB everyday will accumulate into a big amount in twenty years. This investment will be rewarded by a decent income to secure old age. A report from the World Bank shows that by 2019 the social old-life pension account in China may be short by RMB 6,000 billion, and RMB 10,000 billion by 2075.

Australia: Avoiding Austerity-Caring for our Aged (February 10, 2009)
Not immune to the global financial crisis and recession that is felt by everyone throughout the world, Australia must take immediate steps to ensure that its most vulnerable group, older persons, are cared for properly. The article highlights different aspects to consider when developing a plan, including allowing a choice between work or retirement, improving the pension system and looking at the overall quality of life for the aging population. The conclusion reiterates the necessity for serious action. 

Korea: More Seniors to Get Pension Through Reverse Mortgage (January 27, 2009)
Given the current economic recession, the Financial Services Commission plans on further developing a housing-based pension plan. The FSC is considering easing conditions to join, lowering the minimum age requirements and increasing the total amount a subscriber can receive. At this moment, on average, a subscriber receives 945,000 won per month, about 76% of their total monthly income. 

Taiwan: New Elderly Care Program Planned by Government (January 22, 2009)
The Taiwanese government announced plans for an insurance program for long-term care of senior citizens as early as next year. The decision came after the Council of Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) expressed concern at the expected 22.5 percent increase in the elderly population within the next 20 years. The CEPD is responsible for drafting a plan by next year to cover a wide range of services, including basic food, housing, and financial planning.

Asia : Pension System : Asian States will have to reform… (January 21, 2009)
(Article in French)
A recent join report from the OECD and the World Bank highlights that it is urgent to reform pension systems in most of Asian countries. The fast population’s ageing foreseeable for the two decades to come demands to think solutions ahead. Formal pension systems in Asia are limited and pension savings are not sufficient to provide for people old age. Among the different recommendations, the report suggests that pensions should be indexed and the cost of living. 

Return to Top of Page

Europe and Central Asia

Reports | Articles 


Europe: Correcting Gender Inequality in Pensions: The Experience of Five European Countries (September 2009)
It used to be that activists ignored gender inequality in pensions. However, people are increasingly seeking divorces. And non-marital unions pose challenges to the pension system rules. The authors present several approaches that Germany has undertaken, along with Italy, the UK, Sweden and France, to reduce gender inequality in pensions and to guarantee that women obtain adequate pension rights. The nations focus their concern on the idea of a pension system based on individual rights. Some experts suggest adopting universal pensions (which are the same amount for everyone) in order to correct for gender inequality

Europe: What Are the Reasons People Retire in Europe : Personal Choice, Family Needs, Professional Status, or Social Protection? (June 2009)
(Report in French)
Economists are trying to answer this question. Different issues, other than pension levels or the legal retirement age, can explain why older persons leave the workforce. Age, health, educational level, gender or family structures impact when we retire. The researchers also point out some similarities between countries; however, important differences still remain and researchers are analyzing them.

Italy: What Explains Fertility? Evidence from Italian Pension Reforms (May 2009)
Why do people have children in rich societies? This paper proposes an empirical test of two alternative theories: children as “consumption” vs. “investment” good. The study uses as a natural experiment the Italian pension reforms of the 90s that introduced a clear discontinuity in treatment between workers. This policy experiment is particularly well suited, since the “consumption” motive predicts lower future pensions to reduce fertility, while the “old-age security” to increase it. The empirical analysis identifies a clear and robust positive effect of less generous future pensions on post-reform fertility. These findings are consistent with “old-age security” even for contemporary fertility.


Russia: Retirees Gained New Opportunities (December 30, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
At a time when governments around the world are cutting social benefits and pensions, the Russian government is heading in the opposite direction. Its goal is to increase pensions by 46% overall by the end of this year, increasing the pension deficit over 1 trillion rubles, the highest figure for the last few years. The government wants pensions to be higher than the minimum salary level by year end and by 2024 make it 2.5 times the minimum salary level. The only problem is, who is going to cover this pension deficit? 

France: They Are 60 Years Old and Over and They Work (December 30, 2009)
(Article in French) 
In France, more and more seniors keep working after the legal retirement age. Why? Using three examples of older workers, this author suggests two major reasons: financial need and social motivation. Many elders work because of economic need; their pension is insufficient for them to live. Others choose to work part-time, enjoying work they really like and the social network that goes with it.

Russia: Vladimir Putin: “For the Increase in Pensions, We are Spending More on Pensions than on National Defense” (2009) 
(Article in Russian) 
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addressed the Russian pension system situation with the observation that this is the first year for the government to operate at a deficit. Due the government’s pension reforms, labor pensions increased by 35% in 2009. Starting January 1 valorization pensions will increase commensurate with the number of years people worked during the Soviet era. The increased pensions will put more pressure on businesses in Russia. Not in 2010 (to allow them to “heal” from the recession), but starting from 2011, business taxes will increase. 

Ukraine: How do you Measure Progress? (December 11, 2009)
(Article in Russian) 
The average Ukrainian lives 68 years, seven years less than the average European. Tomash Fiala, from the Dragon Capital investment company, says he wants the government to improve the business climate. He argues that social compensation to retirees depends on the wealth of a country. At the moment, Ukraine has one of the lowest salaries in Eastern Europe ($0.5/hour compared to $20/hour in Europe), one of the highest taxation rates (a business pays eleven times more taxes than in developed countries) and one of the highest levels of corruption in the world. If the nation wants a 
a good pension system to protect its retirees, the next presidential team must confront these challenges. 

Commonwealth of Independent States: “We were coming closer to this day as much as we could…” (December 3, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
Only five months remain until the 65th anniversary of the victory of the Great Homeland War (WWII). To mark the occasion, the Committee on Veterans wanted its members to discuss whether the rights of veterans in the CIS have been protected. Recently, veterans’ pensions have increased significantly. However, inflation has “eaten up” the increase with higher prices for household services, maintenance, and pharmaceuticals. Veterans are demanding that those who helped in the “rear” during the war get the same discounts and benefits, along with higher pensions, as veterans because they too contributed to the war effort.

Switzerland: A Financial Plan After Retirement; Retiree Satisfaction and Quality of Life Rely on Health, Early Planning and Sufficient Pension (November 30, 2009)
(Article in French)
In most Western countries, pension systems are based on 40 years of contributions for 20 years of consumption. In many countries, the pension system is based on solidarity: the contributions are used to pay the pensions of the current retirees. However, the aging of the population may unhinge this system in the coming years. How can we prepare for this situation? What are the best ways to have a happy retirement? According to a study by AXA, retiree quality of life mainly relies on three issues: health, early financial planning and a sufficient pension.

France: Debate About the Retirement System Has Been Pushed Forward (November
25, 2009)

(Article in French)
The French government has put reform of the pension system on its agenda and scheduled for early 2010. The debate between the government, unions and management will rely on the projections that the Retirement Orientation Council (COR) has produced. However, those projections will not be published in January but rather delayed until after the regional elections to be held March 14 and 21. This delay may seem--because of the election campaign--to
come just at the right time for the government as it pushes forward necessary debate. Indeed, the most recent projections of the COR done before the crisis, already foresaw that pension funding will likely require an additional 15 billion euros in 2015.

Kazakhstan: Breathe Deeper As We Fly Over the Crisis (November 18, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
Despite the stable growth of pensions for the last 10 years (pensions increased threefold), pensions grew mostly in big cities. For example, Alma-Ata garnered 50% of such growth. Before the financial crisis, many people hoped that other towns would start growing as well. Now in the midst of a recession, inflation was up to 18% in 2008 and the currency devaluation on February 4, 2009, “ate” earnings by 15-20% at minimum, showing how quickly rising pensions could devalue. Food is now more expensive with rising tariffs on imported goods. 

Ukraine: The Party of the Regions Warned to Suspend Cabinet Ministers for Social Standards (November 16, 2009) 
(Article in Russian)
Retirees in Ukraine have not received full pensions this month despite a new law that President Uschenko initiated to increase pensions. As a result, nearly 9 million retirees did not receive 75 grivnas (~9dollars) and 2 million did not receive their 150 grivnas (~19dollars) when the minimum pension was about 573 grivnas. It turns out that even those laws that are officially passed do not become executed. Can Ukrainian retirees trust their government?

Russia: Luschkov Forgave Debts to Retirees (November 13, 2009) 
(Article in Russian) 
Yesterday Yury Luschkov, the Mayor of Moscow, declared that Moscow retirees will not be required to repay bonuses that were designed for non-employed retirees. There is a nuance, however, in Luschkov's declaration: retirees who are eligible to receive bonuses will not receive them in entirety because they already received insurance bonuses in August. Therefore, “the government forgave those older people who did not have a right to receive bonuses, but ignored those who had a right to receive them.” Many retirees have no other choice but to work; they can't live on their pension alone, even with negligible bonuses. 

Europe: Retirement, a Youth Cure (November 10, 2009)
(Article in French)
The British magazine, The Lancet, published findings from European researchers on the health of old workers and young retirees. The study underscores that following retirement people feel a revival of their health. On average, after retiring people tend to feel ten years younger. These results shed new light on the key issues of the retirement age and seniors in the workplace. Researchers said that enterprises must improve working conditions, especially for older persons.

Russia: Moscow Beginning to Save Money on Retirees. (November 6, 2009) 
(Article in Russian)
As a result of the financial crisis, the Moscow administration decided to save money on retirees by canceling their bonus pensions designated for non-employed retirees. The administration's excuse this time was that many retirees hid the fact that they were working while receiving 'illegal' bonuses to their pensions. As a result, those who were actually working would have to return their bonuses to the city government and those who are unemployed will lose their bonus pensions. In the opinion of writer Sergey Smirnov, it was a poor time for the city administration to undertake this change, considering the recession, which made the financial situation of retirees even worse. Also, the administration could have chosen alternative ways to save money in the budget. For example, by building local highways instead of a fourth beltway around Moscow to reduce traffic. Why are retirees always the first victims of budget shortfalls in Russia?

Switzerland: Four Pillars to Fund Pensions (November 2, 2009)
(Article in French)
Almost 25 years ago, the Geneva Association created its pension research program called “Four Pillars.” The Association promotes a pension funding strategy based on four pillars: the mandatory public pension (“pay-as-you go” system); the complementary professional pension; individual savings; and seniors’ income earned in the workforce (mostly part-time). The Association encourages redefining the notion of “active period of life,” arguing that many older persons enjoy good health and have experiences and knowledge that can benefit all.

Austria: Austria Will Soon Be Gasping for Breath Under the Weight of its Retirees (November 1, 2009)
(Article in French)
According to the American magazine Forbes, Austria is a paradise for retirees. Indeed, they earn on average 80% of their former wages as a pension (only 53.3% in France) and mothers can count each child as worth five years of contributions to their pension. However, this situation raises major issues: in 20 years older persons will represent more than a third of the population. Some worry about the political consequences since retirees already represent one-third of the voters. Will Austrian older people vote for the welfare of all or for their personal situation?

Ukraine: How Much Are Pensions for the People? (October 28, 2009)
(Article in Russian) 
Seniors are watching Ukraine’s pension deficit growing larger with each passing year. In 2005, pension spending was 25% less than total government funds; in 2009 it is 29% higher. The government is now transferring resources from currency exchange operations, car and jewelry sales into the pension funds.

Russia: A Puzzle for Retirees, or How to Calculate Your Future Revenue Correctly (October 28, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
The government does not yet plan to increase the universal retirement age. However, it is planning to make economic changes. Beginning in 2015, the government promises to increase the base pension funds (the ones guaranteed by the government) by 6% a year to those who have worked 30 years and who continue to work into their retirement and do not take their pension funds. This interesting proposal may help alleviate pressure on the younger generations and increase pension funds for older persons who want to continue to work.

Russia: When and By How Much Will the Pension Grow? (October 28, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said that pensions will be valorized beginning January 1, 2010. That means that pensions will increase according to the number of years that a person worked during the Soviet Period based on the rate of 1% per each year worked, plus 10% overall. That means if a person worked for 15 years until 1991, then his pension will increase up to 25% (15% +10%=25%). Therefore, after valorization there will be no retirees left below the poverty level in the country.

Russia: More Than 2.5 Thousand Employees of “AVTOVAZ” Decide to Retire Early (October 22, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
More than 2.5 thousand employees of the largest car-producing company in Russia “AVTOVAZ.” willingly decided to retire. They will receive twice the compensation of those who retire after November 1. The company provides an incentive for older people to retire due to the global recession. As a result of the economic turndown, the company lost 14.2 billion rubles in the first half of 2009 against the 1.49 billion profit for the same period in 2008. The company decided to restructure by eliminating the older workers and hiring a younger staff. It plans to hire 37,000 new employees, including interns and part-time workers.
How can this be a "willing" retirement if the company eliminated their jobs?

France: Retirement: New Turn of the Screw on Retirement Before 60 (October 19, 2009)
(Article in French)
Since 2003, thanks to the 'extended career plan,' people who started to work very young have been able to retire earlier, as soon as they had worked the required years for retirement. However, last year the government limited access to this plan. Consequently, the administrator now controls the number of persons who benefit from the plan. Those who do not match the 
criteria risk heavy sanctions.

Switzerland: Avenir Suisse: For a Gradual Rise of the Retirement Age (October 14, 2009)
(Article in French)
Avenir Suisse, a task group funded by major Swiss corporations, has reopened the debate on the Swiss social security system: AVS (Survivors and Aging Insurance). In fact, the government wants to change the pension system because it says that funds are not sufficient to support the aging of the population. Avenir Suisse puts forward a much- debated program: gradually increase the retirement age (one month each year) until reaching age 67.

Russia: The Government Will Pay Higher Pensions to Low-Income Retirees (October 14, 2009) 

(Article in Russian)
The Russian government passed a new law providing for all non-working retirees to receive bonuses to their pensions so that they reach a minimum survival pension for the region in which they live. The greater the minimum pension is in the region, the more the retirees will receive in terms of a bonus. However, this new law does not apply to retirees who work or receive other types of social benefits. 

United Kingdom: Collapse of Pension Funds Threatens British Pension System (October 13, 2009)
(Article in French)
Because of the financial crisis, the Tories have tackled a sensitive issue: the legal age of retirement. They have decided to postpone it to 66 years old. To address such an issue a few months before the general election illustrates the depth of the crisis in the United Kingdom : the writer explains its consequences on the mixed British pension system in this article. In fact, he claims that companies and employees have to support most of the financial costs for pensions.

Slovakia: Slovak People Try to Balance Public and Private Sectors (October 13, 2009)
(Article in French)
In Slovakia , as in many other countries, the current financial crisis threatens the pension and health care systems. Since 2005, the Slovak pension system has been based on three pillars: public, private and complementary optional funds. To face the upcoming massive retirement of post-'Prague Spring' baby-boomers, the government gave citizens the opportunity to pay their contributions only to the state social insurance fund.

United Kingdom: Meet the Returnment Generation; for the Growing Army of People Working into Old Age, Retirement is now a Thing of the Past (October 11, 2009)
“Returnment” (returning to work having already having retired) is an increasing trend in the UK. Currently, one in eight Britons is working beyond retirement age. The causes are many: increased life expectancy and redefining of old age, but also tumbling house prices and lack of pensions. The proposition of David Cameron to raise the state pension age to 66 years beginning in 2016 follows this trend. However, because of the ageist attitudes in the job market, it is extremely difficult for older workers who have lost their jobs to get back to paid work. Unemployed workers over 50 years have only a one in five chance of being employed two years later.

Lithuania: The Gift to the Minister is a Bag for the Corps (October 8, 2009) 
(Article in Russian) 
On October 1, retirees protested in front of the Lithuanian Parliament with the banner: “Genocide Towards Retirees: No, No, No!” Why? The government says it will cut retiree pensions next year by as much as 4-5%. When Minister of Social Protection Donatas Yankausas tried to address retirees, protesters drowned him out. Despite such resistance, the Prime Minister said that pensions must go down because the average salaries are also decreasing in the country. Retirees argue, however, that they deserve to have the same amount of pensions because they earned them. 

Russia: Is it Easy to be an Older Person? (October 1, 2009)

(Article in Russian)
Even though the actual retirement age is 60 years old for men, the real retirement for many men starts as soon as their early 40s. As seen in the Perm region, employers are less willing to hire people above 40 years, and those who already work into their 40s are always under threat of being fired due to their age. Moreover, the government warns that people should not count on social benefits from the state. Rather, people should accumulate their own money for retirement while they are still working. 

France: The End of Early Retirement: Businesses Experiencing New trends with Older Workers (October 1, 2009)
(Article in French)
With the lengthening of life expectancy, most people can expect to extend their working lives. This author puts forward the problems and some current changes related to the issue. First, the mentality of workers has to evolve: they will likely have to work to an older age than their parents. Moreover, the State is introducing many policies to increase employment among older persons. For instance, corporations will now have to set some goals concerning employment opportunities for an ageing work force. The journalist also underlines many other problems, such as age-related discrimination at work and adapting the work environment to an older workforce. Finally, this article showcases examples of companies that are already dealing with older workers.

Netherlands: Crisis Did Not Kill the Hedge Fund (October 1, 2009)
(Article in French)
APG (Algemene Pensioen Groep), a Dutch civil servants’ pension fund, has already lost 45 billion euros due to the current financial crisis. This fund, which is the second most important one in the world, keeps paying the pensions, but with fewer advantages for retirees: for at least two years pensions will not meet inflation. Moreover, contributors will have to pay 1% more for their future pensions.

Russia: The Day of the Elderly: Expectations from “Valorization” (October 1, 2009) 
(Article in Russian)
Russians retirees likely will not see significant improvement in their lifestyles from the “valorization” of pensions that are barely enough to support most retirees. Even if the pensions were increased, retired people would still not be able to live independently. The government’s measures are insufficient to improve the quality of life for retirees. 

Russia: What Can Retired People Count on in Russia? (September 30, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
The most widespread feeling among Russians with regard to retired people is a sense of respect, then pity and a desire to help them. Every fifth person feels injustice and anger towards the government. The main reason that underlies this attitude is that elderly people cannot live solely on the pension that the Government provides. More than half of retirees are looking for employment. For the last four years the number of retirees needing help from their children has increased twofold. Statistics shows that the government still cannot meet its obligations to retirees. 

France: In 2008, 12.9% of Early Retirement for 55-59 Year-Olds Was Financed by the State (September 21, 2009)
(Article in French)
On Monday, the Secretaries of Employment and Labour presented a study about “early exits” from the labor force in France in 2008. This study underlines the fact that almost 13% of the 55-59 year-olds had access to early retirement in 2008, thanks to public funding. Consequently, the unemployment rate has been almost stable for older people, whereas it has increased for younger persons.

France: Pensions: The Housewife’s Benefits Safeguarded (September 21, 2009) 

(Article in French)
Beginning January 1, 2010, fathers will be able to benefit from the new pension plan. The mother will automatically be credited with one year of pension for each child, but both parents may share the second year, or it may go to the father. In order to avoid conflicts, parents must agree on the distribution for four years following the birth. If there is no agreement, the mother will keep her two years of pension. Xavier Darcos, the French Secretary of Labor, explained that this plan safeguards a major right for women who still suffer from inequalities during their careers.

United Kingdom: Survey Finds Huge Deficit in Funding Pensions of Britain's Top Bosses (September 20, 2009)
The costs for funding UK executives’ retirement incomes have been underestimated. Indeed, the companies’ provisions are based on outdated figures. Therefore, while the average employee’s retirement income is less than £8000 pounds a year (if they have a pension), the gold-plated pensions for their top bosses will cost hundreds of millions of pounds to their companies.

Russia: No Pension Age Increase for Russia (September 11, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
Russia's government decided not to increase the pension age despite the fact that Russia has one of the lowest pension ages in Europe: 55 years for women and 60 years for men. Instead, now the government will give a financial incentive of a 6% salary increase for those people working beyond pension age. The government hopes that this incentive will encourage pensioners to stay in the job market longer. 

United Kingdom: European Court of Human Rights to Rule on Pension Policy for Brits Abroad (September 1, 2009)
The European Court of Human Rights is set to rule on a UK law that will freeze the state pension of anyone who leaves Britain to live in certain countries. UK authorities have refused to up-rate some applicants' pensions in line with inflation and this might be discriminatory according to Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The 13 British Nationals’ applicants spent most of their working lives in the UK, paying National Insurance contributions. As ECHR requires applicants to exhaust all domestic possibilities of appeal before applying to it, the applicants first went before the National Courts, but their claims have been dismissed on the grounds they were not in an analogous situation as a pensioner living in the UK.

Netherlands: Dutch Union Continues to Oppose Proposed Pension Age Increase (August 26, 2009)
In the Netherlands, the government wants to raise the state pension age from 65 to 67 in order to bolster its finances, but the National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands (CNV) keeps fighting this policy change. Unions have until October 1 to suggest an alternative solution. Some alternatives include imposing a tax increase on higher incomes or even increasing the pension age in stages. Union complaints aim at protecting older worker so that they don’t become more vulnerable and discriminated against than they already are.

France: Public Officers Retirement: European Commission Urges Paris (August 25, 2009)
(Article in French)
The European Commission believes that gender equality--concerning retirement rights to public pensions for parents who raised children born before 2004--is not respected in France. Women contribute less to pensions than men and therefore they are more vulnerable when they retire. Now France wants to correct the inequity by giving certain advantages to mothers when they retire from the labor force.

Russia: Pensions will be Collected from the Whole World (August, 19, 2009) 
(Article in Russian)
For the next three years, Russian earnings will fall due to low prices on oil, decreasing its international trade resulting in falling fiscal earnings. Expenses for the next three years will also fall. To cover the National Pension Plan in 2010, the government will spend 1.166 trillion rubles, but in 2011, it expects to spend only 662.4 billion rubles. Pension plans will put pressure on the government to borrow money abroad to fulfill its obligations to retirees. 

Italy : Italian Pensioners are Helped, but at Lower Cost (August 18, 2009)
(Article in French)
With a fifth of its population aged over 65 (the highest percentage in Europe), Italy helps seniors with a minimum retirement pension granted to all Italians over 65 years, whatever their situation with regard to their contributions to the National Institute of Social Security. The State also provides compensation in certain cases. Knowing that the elderly will constitute about 70% of the population in 2050, the Italian government is increasingly moving towards a policy to assist the elderly at a lower cost. So no major project is underway.

United Kingdom: One Million More Workers Face Poorer Retirements (August 18, 2009)
A million people in the United Kingdom will lose their final-salary pension benefits over the next three years. Financial managers say that poor investment returns and rising longevity have boosted the cost of running final-salary schemes and pushed most of them into a deep deficit. Forty-eight percent of employers that still run final-salary schemes for long-term staff plan to withdraw the benefit by 2012. As a result, one million employees, mostly older and long-term employees, will be transferred to less generous defined contribution schemes. 

France: A New Reform for the ‘Fifth Risk’: the Risk of Dependency (August 5, 2009)
(Article in French)
Coverage of the ‘fifth risk’ is one of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s projects. Thanks to solidarity, it would finance costs that families pay to care for their old and dependent family members. The costs continue to increase. An example is the current price for one month in a rest home: about 1,800 euros. However, it was about 1,200 euros in 2004. Retired people who only get 1,200 euros of pension often need their family to help support them. Instead of taxes, two other means could provide some funding: credits granted to older persons or the creation of a new Day of Solidarity. During that day, all employees would work without pay and their salary would be redistributed to the pension funds to support dependant older persons.

France: Women Pensions: Say No to a Decline! (July 22, 2009)
(Article in French)
Next fall, the French parliament will discuss women’s retirement. The time mothers devote to their children’s upbringing often interrupts their professional careers and limits their retirement rights. In order to provide time for their professional and their family life, women often choose part-time jobs and therefore receive lower pensions compared to men. That is why the French government plans to set up some form of compensation for mothers within the Social Security budget.

France: "Undocumented Does Not Mean Without Rights” (July 13, 2009)
(Article in French)
An older person can get different kinds of elderly allowances from Social Security even when she or he has not contributed. The pension request can be made from abroad, and, for some pensions, it is not necessary to live in France or to have a residence there. In addition, according to the Constitutional Council’s decision on August 13, 1993, the administration has to facilitate delivery of the older residents’ permits if they have contributed to a retirement pension for at least three months. 

Spain: Spanish “Silver Tide” Would Hit the Social Security System (July 13, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
A Spanish newspaper, The World, recently conducted a survey on the Spanish Social Security system and its sustainability. Most respondents think that the Social Security system in Spain needs a change. Otherwise, it will have an insolvency problem by the end of 2020. The President of Spanish Central Bank also expressed the same concerns, claiming that there are structural defects in the system.

France: Developed Countries Consider Extending the Retirement Age (July 7, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
Last month, the new Prime Minister of France proposed to extend the French retirement age, stimulating a national debate. The world financial crisis shrank pension funds of most developed countries. At the same time, baby boomers will be retiring in the very near future. These two converging developments have contributed to the insolvency problems in the public pension systems. Most developed countries are considering extending their retirement age. 

Netherlands : Michael Jackson Financing Dutch Public Agents Retirement (July 7, 2009)
(Article in French)
Since Michael Jackson died, one of the biggest retirement institutions of the Netherlands, ABP, is hitting the jackpot each time his songs are played on the radio or his records are bought. Last year, in order to diversify its investments, the retirement institution bought some copyrights, and now “Remember the time,” “You are not alone” and “Dangerous” has made ABP a lot of money. These financial-musical investments have been a gold mine for Dutch retirement funds.

Latvia: President Cuts Pensions by 70% (July 1, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
Latvian economics have suffered the largest losses among all the countries in the European Union. Starting this month, the Latvian government is cutting old age pensions by 10% and slashing pensions of those who still work by a whopping 70%. The government says that the move is needed to keep the country afloat financially. Pensioners are outraged and are ready to contest the decision in the Constitutional Court.

France: The End of Pensions (June 29, 2009)
(Article in French)
France won’t escape population demographics. More pensioners and fewer contributors: this is hard to face, but it is a reality. That is why, the author argues, France needs new policies for pensions. The President re-opened the subject during his speech of Versailles, and François Fillon, the Prime Minister, said that a “large debate” would begin in mid-2010. Officials say that changes must take into account older persons on the one hand and on the other hand, young people, who want jobs. This reform has to reintroduce flexibility, visibility and intelligence into the French pension system.

France: The Government Finances Early Retirement Ten Times Less Than Ten Years Ago (June 26, 2009)
(Article in French)
According to a survey from the Labor Department, this trend began in 2002 with a very slight increase of people over 55 years old receiving unemployment benefits. Since the beginning of the current economic crisis, several trade unions have pleaded for a return to early retirement with new formats designed for current needs.

France: The Revolution or the War of Ages (June 25, 2009)
(Article in French)
In 2008, the Foundation for Political Innovation asked young people from different countries this brutal question: “Are you willing to pay enough taxes to pay elders pensions?” Sixty-three percent of young Chinese replied yes, 56% young Russians and 50% young Indians replied positively, whereas in France only 11% said yes. Such a rate shows how the pension system is viewed by young people in France and it shows that neither the 1993 nor the 2003 reforms have enhanced the system. Confronted by the same issue, other countries have decided to extend the length of the professional work life, whereas in France it seems that no serious solution has been found yet.

Germany: Retirement Age at 67 Contested (June 24, 2009)
(Article in French)
In Germany, campaigning for legislative elections on September 27 has reopened the debate about postponing the retirement age to 67 years. This issue was supposed to be decided after a law was enacted in 2007. On one hand, some influential German groups want to return to the earlier system because the unemployment rate is increasing. On the other hand, some politicians claim that the retirement age must stand at 67 years to deal with the increasing age and longevity of the population.

Latvia: Pensioners Oppose Pension Age Increase (June 20, 2009)

(Article in Russian)
Latvian Pension Federation leader Aina Verze categorically opposes a pension age increase by the year 2012. While 65 years is an average pension age in most European countries, Latvia is not ready for this change due to the country's high unemployment rate and low average life expectancy. However, pension age may be increased in the future, but “very gradually,” said Verze.

France: National Public Pension Fund Shrank by 20% in 2008 (June 19, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
Last September the financial crisis spread to Europe, making the financial market there extremely unstable. An annual report released on June 18 stated that in France the public pension fund dropped from 34.5 billion euros at the end of 2007 to 27.7 billion euros at the end of 2008, shrinking a total of 20%.

France: Narbonnais: A CGT Union for Nursing Homes (June 18, 2009)
(Article in French)
A union, currently with 30 members, wants to unite all nursing homes and personnel who are part of care-giving for older people in Narbonnais in southern France. Organizing the union played a necessary role in creating awareness of the working conditions and needed controls that came to light during testimonials given at the union meeting. There are about 20 facilities for older people in the region. 

Latvia: Latvian Government Cuts Pensions to Appease Leaders (June 14, 2009)
Suffering from a recession, the Latvian government agreed to controversial measures including cuts to state pensions. Reduction in pension funding represents an attempt to receive money from international lenders. The state pension will be reduced by 10% for most pensioners, but those still at work will see their allowances slashed by 70%. 

United Kingdom: Worlds Apart (June 11, 2009) 
Britain’s private-sector pension plan holders are facing potential changes in their provisions. Big companies are putting an end to final-salary schemes, and the British company Barclays is even planning to close the bank’s current scheme for existing members. By comparison, public schemes are collectively far more generous than those available to private-sector workers. With the gap between private and public pensions widening, Britain has begun seeking ways to diminish the disparity.

United Kingdom: Senior Generation: the Risk of Longevity (June 2009)
(Article in French)
According to the London Business School, governments should help insurance companies insure themselves. The increasing life expectancy adds to the fact that baby boomers will retire very soon. Pension funds and capitalized retirement investments need to be financially protected against the increased longevity of their clients. Health care providers in the UK must respond to this big challenge.

France: Label Vie: Towards a New Vision of Senior Insurance... (May 26, 2009)
(Article in French)
The insurance group, Prevoir, just launched a new product named “Label Vie.” An innovative offer for people between 55 and 75 years old, the insurance company will offer assistance to elders, not simply financial service. Today, in partnership with Mondial Assistance (a private insurance and assistance company), Prevoir Autonomie Bien Etre provides access to doctors and nurses to specific advice about healthy behaviors that their patients should adopt. Advice, regular check-ups, and answers to health questions are some of the different actions made in order to keep the good health of the clients.

United Kingdom: Chancellor’s State Pension Guarantee Is “Virtually Worthless” (May 14, 2009)
The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) calculates that the proposed 2.5% increase in state pensions will make little difference in rising poverty among pensioners. With millions of older people having lost money from their savings, one in four pensioners is still living in poverty. Every day last year, 822 pensioners fell below the poverty line.

France: Computer Bug: 25 Years of Errors of Insurance Benefits for Retirees (May 12, 2009)
(Article in French)
A computer program error discovered three months ago resulted in an over estimation of validated semesters of unemployment since 1984—a period of 25 years! One million employees may be affected. The estimated amount for the National Old Age Public Insurance Fund would be approximately 300 million Euros. 

France: The Retirees From the CFDT Are Worried At the Hands of Actual Inequities (May 11, 2009)
(Article in French) 
Meeting in a national assembly from May 5-7, 2009, the leaders of the Confederation Union (CFDT) for retirees stated their most important pressing concerns. They worry about pension cuts and the lack of doctors and healthcare in rural areas. They are asking for an increase in the minimum pension allocated to poor older persons. They called on all retirees to participate in days of mobilization and demonstrations on June 13, when decisions will be announced.

Russia: Retirees in Moscow Better Off Than in Other Regions (May 8, 2009)
(Article in Russian) 
Retirees in Moscow will be receiving at least 10.5 thousand rubles per month at the end of 2009, significantly greater than in other regions of Russia. This amount will be greater than twice the minimum wage. Moreover, for retirees with special needs in Moscow, there will also be a 20% increase to their new pension. However, only retirees in Moscow will enjoy 'high' pensions. The government seems to care more about those living in Moscow than in other region in Russia. 

Germany: As Elections Near, Germany Courts Its Pensioners (May 7, 2009)
Two of the largest political parties in Germany have united to protect pension benefits. The German cabinet voted on Wednesday to prevent the reduction of pensions. In addition, several weeks ago they agreed to increase benefits, demonstrating the growing influence of pensioners as senior voters. The protection of benefits is coming despite the economic downturn due to the necessity to protect 20.2 million pensioners who make up close to a quarter of the German population.

UK: Britons Rely on Inheritance to Help Fund Retirement (May 5, 2009)
Nearly one in three British adults is planning to fund their retirement with an inheritance that could easily fail to materialize. More than half admit being ill prepared for retirement. One in three expect to solve the problem by inheriting money and property from their parents and other relatives. Despite falling house prices and a turbulent stock market, a majority of adults are unconcerned about the recession’s effect on their retirement savings or potential inheritance; they are unaware of the value of the estate being left behind. However, increased life expectancy is producing many families with two generations of retirees. Despite the hope that an inheritance will fund retirement years, researchers show this can no longer be relied upon. With more than half of Britons admitting to not saving enough for their retirement, their future care appears in real jeopardy.

Italy: Can Migrants Save Italy’s Older Population? (May 4, 2009)
(Article in Arabic)
New studies show that an influx of immigrant labor is helping Italy address concerns relating to an aging population. By boosting GDP, this migrant population also improves the situation of pensioners. However, as the immigrant population ages, the Italian government will need to find a balance between internal and external forces for the improvement and development of the pension system, for example, by providing more job opportunities for the category of "young senior citizens" between the ages of 55 and 65 years.

France: Retirement: Majority of French People Worried (April 29, 2009)
(Article in French)
According to the French Observatory for Pensions, 67% of French people are worried about their standard of living once they retire, and 75% of them worry about the level of pension they will receive. Elders are doubtful about their capacity to live independently (54%) and about their health and access to care (58%). For French people to have a secure retirement they need a mix of several components: You should own your own home (49%), have saved money (34%) and know what kind of pension you are entitled to (27%). The fact of having contributed to a system of complementary pension schemes remains an important point (23%) as well as the fight against loneliness (22%). Being surrounded by your relatives when you get retired also appears essential.

Russia: Money for Seniors (April 28, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
More than $45.5 billion will be spent on elimination of poverty among seniors in 2010 in Russia. The Minister of Finance calls it “a global and a worthwhile step.” The government also plans to increase pensions by 9% so that old-age pensions will not be below a pensioner's minimal subsistence level starting from the year 2010. 

United Kingdom: Without Urgent Action on Pensions, Old Age Will Be something to Fear (April 25, 2009)
Chancellor Alistair Darling's Budget delivered yet another blow to the British ailing pensions system, according to Ros Altmann, a former pensions adviser to the Labour Government. According to Altmann, the measures will “damage the pensions of top earners, while doing nothing to help other people's pensions at all.” Until about 10 years ago, the UK had more money in private pensions than the rest of Europe put together. Today the chances of a decent retirement are very low and policy-makers have remained in denial about the pension crisis.

France: Retirement Abroad: How to Prepare for Those Leaving? (April 24, 2009)
(Article in French)
A lot of preparation is needed when retirees decide to leave France to enjoy their retirement in the sun. It is easy for a retiree to receive retirement pensions in the new country if he or she has signed a social security convention with France. If there is no convention between the new country and France, the retiree will be taxed in both countries. 

Spain: The Crisis Forced Europeans to Work Longer (April 24, 2009) 
(Article in Spanish)
An ongoing debate about the possibility of increasing the age for retirement is not only occurring in Spain but in many other countries. This article summarizes the key debates and changes that are taking place around the world. Kenya is increasing the retirement age to 55 years, making it a country with one of the earliest retirement ages, and Russia is debating unifying the retirement age of both sexes in addition to raising it. 

Scotland: Call Over Support for the Dying (April 16, 2009)
Many health care homes fall short of providing palliative and end of life support, essential for patients with cancer and dementia, according to a recent authors of a report in Scotland. Apparently, more than half of the homes failed to train staff on how to deal with sensitive issues surrounding death or dying, including the last wishes of residents.

France: Pensions: What Changed on April 1 (April 2, 2009)
(Article in French)
Brice Hortefeux, Secretary of Work and Solidarity, and Eric Woerth, Secretary of Budget, have just confirmed a different Social Security pension plan to implement a 1% pension increase beginning April 1. Pensions had already increased by 0.8% last September 1, to take into consideration high inflation in 2008. Basic pensions will be increased by 1.3% on average every year at a time when projected inflation is 0.4% in 2009. What is more, the Government has taken unprecedented measures to increase low pensions in conformity with presidential commitments. The article focuses on “The Older Persons Solidarity Benefit” (formerly called “Minimum Old Age Benefit”), its components, the people concerned and the resources necessary for its implementation. 

GIP Pension Info: 3 Million Social Insurance Contributors and Four Generations Informed (April 2, 2009)
(Article in French)
Almost four years after the beginning of coordination by the GIP Info Pension, a new step has been taken to assure the right to information from insurance contributors about their pension as set by the August 21, 2003 law. In 2008, mandatory pension organizations sent three million people personalized documents of information, consolidating the data held by each of them. Surveys of beneficiaries showed a very high satisfaction with this initiative, the content of the documents and the warm welcome given by pension organizations when contacted. 

Finland: Finland Encourages Late Retirement (March 24, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
The government of Finland is changing its retirement and pension system that allows government officers to retire at between 63 and 68 years old. Those who continue working after 63 years of age can receive more pension support. The new system encourages people to work longer in order to alleviate the current labor shortage. So far, the speed of ageing in Finland has been faster than in other countries of the European Union.

France: Complementary Pension : Postponed to 2010 (March 24, 2009)
(Article in French)
Salaried employees who are about to retire may be relieved that rules that govern the pensions of salaried employees from the private sector and of senior executives and middle management will be maintained until 2010, following an agreement between unions and employers. Nonetheless, the following generations may be worried about the durability of complementary pensions. The issue of money in reserve has to be tackled. Unions and management demand that the government balance the budget and re-examine a number of parameters such as the legal age of retirement, the term and level for contributions and pensions. 

Russia: Care of Seniors Stimulates Economic Growth (March 22, 2009)

(Article in Russian)
International Forum “Older Generation” was held in St. Petersburg this week. The forum attracted over 300 delegates including researchers in gerontology and elder care from all over the world. Representatives of the Russia's Pension Fund emphasized that care of seniors in times of the economic crisis is a national priority and the government will continue to increase pensions in 2009. 

France: Half of French People Believe They Will Have to Keep Working After 60 (March 10, 2009)
(Article in French)
Forty-seven percent of French people wish they could retire at 60 years of age, but they are well aware that it may not be feasible. Thus, 49% are ready to work until 62. Their concern and anxiety are obvious, and 59% admit they are really worried. They are more and more required to save money to finance their old age. A positive point is that French people have a better visibility of what their future pension will be. On the whole, the younger generations have understood that they will have to provide their own retirement. As far as the pension system is concerned, most people (52%) believe it must be mixed, based on both distribution and capitalization. 

France: Pension: The Increase Would be Limited to 1% (March 10, 2009)
(Article in French)
A 2.1% raise in pensions was announced at the beginning of the year, but the Government revised it to only 1%. The explanation is quite simple: the mechanical increase of pensions follows the changed in prices. The downward annual inflation is set to 0.4% instead of the 1.5% initially foreseen. Nonetheless, this rate has been increased to 0.6% and there might be a helping hand by the State. Confronted about the deception of retired people’s associations, the government invoked many arguments, and highlighted the fact that many measures have already been taken or are on the agenda in favor of retired persons. The recent hike in pensions, the increase of the minimum elderly benefit, and the improvement of agricultural pensions are quoted as examples.

Sweden: Swedish Women Stuck in Pension Shortage (March 9, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
Swedish women working half time are more and more worried about the shortage of pensions in their retirement. Although 70% of Swedish women go to work, a majority of them only work a half-day. Not only do they earn less than full-time workers; the half-time workers can only receive accumulated retirement pensions based on earnings, reducing their potential retirement income. Many women who have long been doing half-time work will have to rely on other sources of social security funding after retirement. 

France: Women’s Retirement: What You Need to Know (March 6, 2009)
(Article in French)
Whether in the private or public sector, women employees are compensated for maternity leave or care of children. According to the gender equality principles supported by European legislation, the Pension Orientation Council (POC) has proposed modifying the increases in pensions granted to women. 

United Kingdom: Pension Savers Are Still Denied Better Income (March 3, 2009) 

Last year, the Financial Services Authority uncovered the fact that four in ten insurance companies fail to clearly reveal a pensioner’s right to look for a better pension. The FSA allowed the insurance companies six months to make improvements, but the options do not appear to be any clearer. In 2008, 63% of savers who bought annuities failed to get the best rate, which could potentially be a major income loss over the course of their lifetime. 

France: Old Age Pension and Widowhood Benefit: Less Beneficiaries in 2007 (February 25, 2009)
(Article in French)
A recent report highlights a continuation in the cuts of the number of people granted old age pensions, perhaps explained by the fact that these people may now get a “reversion pension” at a much younger age. Yet, some reforms are underway. The conditions to accept financial responsibility for premature widows will be amended by 2010. The number of old age pension beneficiaries keeps decreasing as well. This may be explained by continuous improvement of retirement systems and of social benefits rights since the 1960’s. 

Sweden: Swedish People Worry about their Pensions Partially Invested in Stock Exchange (February 23, 2009)
(Article in French)
The Swedish pension system introduced in the 1990’s has long been the object of admiration by other European countries, and especially by France. The system takes into consideration the life expectancy when people reach retirement and the level of economic growth (index on wages). Nonetheless, it raises concerns among some Swedes who witness the melting away of a part of their pension, directly funded on the Stock Exchange.

France: How Can People Think that Older Persons Can Live on 400 Euros without Struggling? (February 20, 2009)
(Article in French)
According to an association studying the needs of the elderly, people most affected by a decrease in purchasing power are older persons. Many problems surface, including the need to bring all pensions into line with the ones in metropolitan France, while there are discrepancies in living costs in other parts of the country. Further, pension payments should be made at the beginning of the month rather than mid-month because banking direct debits are done at this time. The association denounced the lack of means dedicated to old people and appealed for a social plan to assist them. ced the lack of means dedicated to old people and appealed for a social plan to assist them.


Russia: Government Raises Pensions (February 12, 2009)

(Article in Russian)
Pensions in Russia will increase by RUB 2,000 in 2010. In 2008, the average pension was increased up to RUB 4,902, exceeding the nation's minimum wage of RUB 4,600. In 2009, the government plans to increase pensions twice--in March by 8.7% and in December by 26.15%. 


France: Pensions: Minimum Average Retirement Age Will Be 62.4 years in 2020 (February, 5 2009)
(Article in French)
Today’s average retirement age is 60.5 years. This number will increase to 62.4 in 2020, according to a Center for Employment Studies’ projection. Both research studies and the pension reforms of 1993 and 2003 contributed to the change. This projection, researchers say, may well underestimate the reality since it is based on today’s behaviors. Most researchers predict a behavioral change.


Spain: Corbacho Finalizes Changes of the ERE for Persons Older than 50 Years (February 2, 2009)
(Article in Spanish)
The Ministry of Work announced that they are modifying legislation so that those older than 50 years who are in the workforce can suspend their benefits under the ERE, an employment regulatory group. If they lose their work, they can recover their benefits. When they become 61 years old, the possibility of receiving early retirement will be an option. Although the Ministry cannot end the economic crisis, they are working with the trade unions to guarantee social protection and to study ways to encourage hiring. 


France: The New Legislation on Retirees at Work is Limited (January 30, 2009)
(Article in French)
The French government passed a bill on pensions without consulting the two biggest pension funds. As a result, the new income earned by people who are entitled to retire but decide to pursue a professional activity is in fact limited to 1.6 times the minimum wage, as stipulated in previous legal arrangements. The new legislation is really helpful only to those who earn small pensions. Pension advisors recommend that clients stick to previous regulations.


Ukraine: Ukraine's Struggle to Control Payments of Wages and Pensions (January 29, 2009)
(Article in Russian) 
Ukraine's budget deficit and salary debts are growing fast. The government already has high salary debts to doctors, teachers and other state workers. In February 2009, there is a real threat of a Pension Fund deficit, says Ukraine's government. 


United Kingdom: Pensioners Support the Idea of Compulsory Insurance for Care in Old Age (January 20, 2009)
Age Concern conducted six focus groups in which it found that most seniors would prefer that the entire population share the cost of nursing home accommodation or support at home. One option is to increase the National Insurance contributions earmarked to cover support for all elders. Currently, the state only helps those with less than £22,500 in assets. Those with assets greater than the benchmark must pay for their care and often must sell their liquid assets to pay for nursing home care. 


France: Explaining the Latest Pension Reform: Having to Retire at 70 (January 9, 2009)
(Article in French)
In 2010, French employers will have to allow their employees over 70 (instead of 60) to retire. French employees who contributed long enough are still allowed to retire when they reach the age of 60. From 65 onwards, those who have not contributed will be able to leave their jobs without penalties. The rules will be different in the public sector. A period of transition will be observed in 2009.


Russia: What Will Happen to Pensions in 2009? (January 8, 2009)
(Article in Russian)
Pensions in Russia will be increased twice this year despite the financial crisis sweeping the country. The government has approved a budget allocating a pension increase by 8.69% in March and by 26.15% in December 2009.


Italy: Anger Mounts Over Italian Pension Plan (January 5, 2009)
Italy privatized part of its pension plan. The program was intended to help the government meet its pension obligations and lure more people into investment funds. However, the average return for private, non-union pension plans fell from an increase of 2.6% to a decline of 24%.


Return to Top of Page

Middle East
& North Africa



Tunisia: From Now On in Tunisia, the Minimum Salary is 225 Dinars (August 3, 2009)
(Article in French)
In a statement published on Monday, the Tunisian Prime Minister declared that retirement pensions would increase as well as the SMIG (Minimum and Guaranteed Salary). Moreover, the State has decided to allocate 10 more dinars for old or disabled people so that they reach 170 dinars quarterly. Those measures went into force August 1, 2009. 


Lebanon: Retirees Deprived of the Differences (June 19, 2009)
(Article in Arabic)
Hundreds of retirees are outraged at the Lebanese government. A law passed in 1998 to increase the salaries of those in the public sector was supposed to take effect in 1996. However, it actually took effect in 1999, leaving those who retired in 1999 without the increase in pension they were entitled to after 1996. To solve the problem, Act 717, mandating the provision of differences for the benefit of retirees, was passed. This prompted many individuals to contact their banks, but to no avail. One such individual quoted in the article felt that what is being done by the Ministry of Finance represents an attempt to deprive a large group of retirees access to what is rightfully theirs. He remains frustrated by the lack of structure in the system that allows for these retirees to slip through the cracks.

Morocco: The Elderly in Morocco, From Caring Families to Isolation (June 12, 2009)

The number of older people in Morocco is growing rapidly. Expected to rise from 2.5 million to 8 million people by 2030, senior citizens will make up 15% of the Moroccan population. Many of Morocco's elderly find themselves alone and without help, as just 16% receive pensions. The remainder must rely on the state or their families to avoid being homeless. 

Bahrain: Pensioners Angry with Parliament for Failing to Adequately Address their Needs (May 21, 2009)

(Article in Arabic)
Pensioners in Bahrain recently erupted in protest against the parliament for failing to implement improvements in the pension system for the majority. Making matters worse, they accused members of parliament of focusing only on government salaries and benefits in their sessions and failing to acknowledge the rights and benefits of those who put them in office. Further, a huge disparity exists in the size of the pensions between members of the public and private sectors. While the pensions of some citizens do not exceed 150 dinars per month, members of parliament and of the Shura Council of Representatives have fixed monthly pensions of 1,250 dinars.

Iraq: Inflation, Oil, and Their Adverse Effects on Pensioners (May 18, 2009)

(Article in Arabic)
Hyperinflation and rising living costs in Iraq have made it difficult or impossible for many pensioners to achieve the minimum requirements for daily life. However, the solution cannot be found in simply raising pensions, as the entire pension plan needs reform. The current system does not account for disparities in pensions relating to years spent in education, early retirement due to disabilities and pre-retirement salary cuts. A lack of wealth diversity due to oil dependency affects pensioners a great deal. Those who do not receive oil revenues are left paying the price of the inflation caused by soaring oil prices. 

Saudi Arabia: Older Person Waiting Under the Steaming Heat (April 25, 2009)

(Article in Arabic)

Many older persons who visit their pension office to get their monthly pension payment face difficult conditions. In Saudi Arabia, they must wait in very hot weather outside the pension office building. Older persons have filed a request to the ministry of welfare to design a designated waiting room in order to protect them from the sun’s heat in the summer and from rain in the winter months.

Saudi Arabia:  Social Insurance…Improving the Situation of Pensioners (April 13, 2009)

(Article in Arabic)
The Saudi Shura Council recently agreed to increase retiree pensions as well as raise their social security benefits. In the past few years, Saudi Arabia has witnessed a substantial erosion of the middle class largely due to high inflation rates and rising costs of living for retirees. With fixed incomes, retirees cannot improve their living situation, jeopardizing not only their dependents but also the future of Saudi society. The council warns that this threat will remain until pensions begin to match inflation rates. 

Jordan:  Older People in Jordan Take Time to Invest (April 12, 2009)

(Article in Arabic)
Studies show that older retirees’ participation in the Jordanian stock market generates economic growth, increasing the rate of daily circulation in the market. These older men represent “small” investors who, because they are no longer working, have time to research and "play" the market, splitting shares between many companies in order to generate a larger profit. Though this provides a form of entertainment for older people, it can be a risky one, as they are investing their retirement funds in a gamble that does not always pay off.

Jordan:  Raising Retirees’ Pensions in a Worsening Economy (April 8, 2009)

(Article in Arabic)
During their meeting last week, the Jordanian House of Representatives adopted a measure to establish a parliamentary committee to study the situation of retirees. This committee called for a 15% increase in the pensions of retired people in the face of an ever-worsening economic situation. They further recommended the issuance of a special tariff through which retirees can take advantage of specific privileges and fee reductions for many government goods and services. The consolidation of pension benefits will contribute enormously to the living situation of the large segment of Jordanian citizens on their way to retirement.

Algeria:  Increase in the Pension for 750.000 People (February 17, 2009)

(Article in French)
Beneficiaries of the Fixed Solidarity benefits (AFS) will get an increase in their pension that will be brought up from 1,000 to 3,000 AD a month, a measure announced by the President last September during a meeting dedicated to national solidarity. This increase will affect 400,000 older persons, especially retired people with no resources or family ties. A reorganization operation of the beneficiaries’ file of the AFS is in progress and is to be completed by next June. The AFS budget came to about 15 billion of AD in 2008 and will reach 25 billion in 2009.

Jordan:  Complaints Arise from the Refusal of Monthly Allowance to Residents of the Karak Area (February 15, 2009) 

(Article in Arabic) 
Older persons and persons with disabilities in the Karak province have complained about not receiving their monthly financial benefits. A number of the group said they "do not have access to post offices unless they own a wheelchair or walking aids or can afford rental transportation.” 

Iraq:  For the First Time in Iraq: Retirees Received Their Salaries through the Smart Card (February 9, 2009)

(Article in Arabic) 
Iraq’s financial offices provided retirees with their salaries through the Smart Card for the first time. The director of the Bank of Iraq, Abdul-Hussein al-Yasiri, announced that the banks of the sub-Rafidain and Rashid would begin the distribution of pensions by the Smart Card to banks in over ten branches spread over both sides of Rusafa and Karkh in Baghdad.

Return to Top of Page



Report: World: Insurance and the Credit Crisis: Impact and Ten Consequences for Risk Management and Supervision (2009)
Older people often have insurance on their lives, for their possessions such as homes or apartments or for other “risks.” Insurers must use people’s payments to assure that funds are available when the house catches fire or the loved one dies. Experts for the Swiss-based Geneva Association take a look at how the recent credit crisis has affected their industry and offer some ideas for risk management.


Report: World: National Retirement Savings Systems in Australia, Chile, New Zealand and the United Kingdom: Lessons for the United States (2009)
Retirees from paid employment across the globe typically rely on a combination of public pensions, private savings, and corporate pensions to pay their way after their paychecks stop. A new report from the US-based Brookings Institute examines the current and planned retirement savings plans of four countries with unique pension systems- Australia, Chile, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The researchers then attempt to draw lessons that to inform US policy makers as they try to build a pension system to provide retirement security of future generations.


Report: World: A Discussion of Retirement Income Security for Men and Women (December 30, 2009)
This report, written by Annika Sundén, is a sample chapter from a book called Women's Work and Pensions: What is Good, What is Best? The author explores the difficulties women face in working life and in retirement - and what could be done to achieve more gender equality and fairness for women and men alike. Leading pension experts, predominantly women, from Europe analyze the basic challenges through single and comparative country studies. Find more details about this publication on the book page here.


World: Retiring: Netherlands, Australia Offer Better Pension Benefits (September 23, 2009)
This article intends to respond to a major question nowadays: which country has the best pension system? The journalist suggests that even if there is no ideal model pension system in the world, it is best to be a retiree in the Netherlands or in Australia. Government pension architects from other countries should use these models to reform their pension systems and assure that they are secure and financially sustainable.


World: Dodging the Bill (July 9, 2009)
Most new public-sector employees in the UK and US benefit from pensions linked to their salaries. Employees in most private-sector companies no longer receive a pension linked to their final salaries. This article compares the relative cost of benefits in the private and public sector, arguing that private-sector workers suffer for having to pay into their privatized pension for themselves as well shell out taxes to underwrite the cost of government employees’ pensions. The author fails to show that private sector workers generally get higher wage levels than public workers and could, if they wanted, save more for their pensions.

World: OECD Warns on Pensions Crisis (June 23, 2009)

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is warning people about the loss in value of pension plans worldwide. According to the organisation’s annual analysis of the health of pension systems, neither public nor private plan holders are safe. They found that private pension plans lost 23% of their value last year. However, losses in private pension schemes were highest--at over 25%–in countries such as Ireland, Australia and the US where the greatest proportion was invested in equities. OECD says that it still expects population aging over the next 40 years to result in increased demand for public funding to help support older persons.

World: International Update: Recent Developments in Foreign Public and Private Pensions (June 2009)

In the monthly publication of the Social Security Administration's Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, researchers conclude that many countries across the globe are adjusting their pension systems. The writers report on the latest developments in public and private pensions worldwide. Older persons in Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand will likely see some changes in their current pensions.

World: Recession Hurts Pension, Benefit Plans Worldwide (May 25, 2009)

Public and private pension systems in the world’s wealthiest countries are facing challenges while funds in social security institutions in emerging countries in general are performing better. These results can be attributed to better investment programs with tight regulation--such as national funds that cannot be invested abroad, investments concentrated in fixed assets or markets that are not seriously impacted by the current crisis. Experts suggest having programs that are a mixture of both public and private. 

World: The World Financial Crisis Became an Opportunity for Pension Investing Adjustments (May 7, 2009)
(Article in Chinese)
By the end of 2008, total assets of corporate pensions all over the world decreased by 20%. Due to the relatively less risky traditional government bonds, public pensions, also known as the social security trust funds, were not affected seriously. Bing-Wen Zheng, the Director of the Latin America Research Institute of China's Academy of Social Sciences, indicated that this financial crisis will be a turning point for governments around the world to make adjustments in their social security systems. 

Report: World: OECD Fact Book 2009: Public and Private Pension Expenditures
(March 2009)

This OECD Fact Book examines the development of public and private pensions. In recent years, governments have engaged private sector management within statutory pension systems. This trend has been particularly strong in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, but also in OECD countries like Australia, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Fourteen of the thirty OECD countries have some form of mandatory or quasi-mandatory private pension in place. The private pension schemes are increasingly considered part of the national retirement income system rather than just a source of greater benefits for higher income employees. But is this good public policy?

Report: World: Social Security Systems around the World (January 2009)

Social security programs are increasing in numbers around the world. Initially instituted in the European and Latin American countries in the early 20th century, social security plans can now be found in both the developed and the developing countries of the world. However, as is the case in the United States, social security systems have funding problems. One problem that developed countries face is the aging of the population. There are more people retiring and drawing benefits while fewer workers are paying into the system.

Report: World: Pensions at a Glance 2009: Retirement-Income Systems in OECD Countries (2009)
Read this comprehensive report to understand how the on-going world economic crisis is impacting pensions as well as relation between income and poverty among older people living in rich countries. The writer describes how changes in pension policies could influence the levels of income and poverty of the world’s older people. Also, you can read the inner workings of pension system in numerous countries.

Report: World: Investment Risk and Pensions: Measuring Uncertainty in Returns (2009)

This paper explores how uncertainty over investment returns affects pension systems, particularly in the recent global financial crisis. The OECD estimates that pension funds lost 23% of their value in 2008, amounting to a heady $5.4 trillion. In this report, researchers show the scale of investment risk using historical data on returns on equities and bonds in major OECD economies over the past quarter century. 


Return to Top of Page

Copyright © Global Action on Aging
Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us