Sweden’s Folksam has come up with a set of proposals for change in the pensions system as well as the labour market to alleviate problems around attitudes to pensions and retirement identified in a new survey.

An increasing proportion of Swedes are hoping to retire before 65, while more than before are also worried about their ability to save enough to get a secure pension, the Swedish pensions and insurance firm has found from a new poll.

Katrin Röcklinger, head of the life business area at Folksam, said: “Saving for your own pension is a way to increase financial security in the autumn of life, but the public pension also needs to change and the labour market needs to get better at making use of the skills and experience of the elderly.”

The Stockholm-based firm said a new nationally-representative survey conducted by Kantar on its behalf showed that 44% of people said they hoped to retire before they turned 65 – a result which is up from 40% in last year’s poll.

At the same time, 48% of Swedes had been found to believe they would have to work until at least 68 to receive a secure pension – up from the 42% who held that opinion last year, Folksam said.

Röcklinger said it was worrying that so many people said they were concerned about not being able to work as long as needed to get a secure pension.

“The conditions for being able to work longer look very different for different people and today, unfortunately, it is not possible for many to work longer,” she said.

The group cited three measures that would probably increase the desire to work longer and reduce anxiety for people about their upcoming pension.

The first is a reform of the general pension system that includes an increase in pension rights and the introduction of a pensions “accelerator” – a mechanism to automatically increase public pensions when there is a surplus in the pension system, similar to the existing “brake” that cuts pensions in the event of a deficit.

The reform should also include a modernisation of the guarantee pension, Folksam said, adding that this reform would raise the general pension to 60% of a person’s previous income, and create increased basic economic security.

Its second proposal is for the creation of a tax-advantaged private pension insurance savings vehicle that gives people a good opportunity to save in order to catch up if they are at risk of getting a low pension.

Thirdly, Folksam called for a labour market where the working environment and long professional and work experience were prioritised.

“Measures that enable more people to work longer are a responsibility that rests on the social partners, but also on our politicians,” the SEK823bn (€73.1bn) pension provider said.

Earlier this year, Sweden’s cross-party Pensions Group agreed on the introduction of a pensions accelerator, and to look into increasing the pension contribution, which is currently only 17.21% — lower than the previous level of 18.5% as a result of tax reforms in the early 2000s.

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