The chair of Swedish pensioners’ association SPF Seniorerna has challenged Alecta’s recent study showing today’s pensioners had average income that was 75% of pre-retirement income, claiming that the pensions giant’s data is misleading.

Eva Eriksson, chair of SPF Seniorerna, said: “Alecta’s study does our members, current and future pensioners and the pension debate, a disservice by not showing the whole picture and shuffling the cards.”

The lobby group, which has 250,000 members, said Alecta had included earned income in the pension figures, and also incorporated tax.

Eriksson took issue with tax having been taken into account, arguing that tax cuts had increased the net amount of money that Swedish pensioners received, but had nothing to do with the pension system itself.

She also said that Alecta had not analysed the effects of the tax cuts on pension income.

“The fact pensions in kronor are higher for each new cohort is not surprising, it would be strange if it were otherwise when wage development has been good in the last 15 years,” she said.

SPF Seniorerna also said it believed short-term withdrawals of occupational pensions and the higher initial income pension both drove up pensions in the first years after retirement, but that they steadily declined after that, resulting in an increasingly weaker financial position for pensioners.

Eriksson said Alecta had also neglected to include two demographics most disadvantaged by the pension system – those aged over 80, and single, older women.

She said that measuring relative poverty was a way of examining economic standards, and the design of the Swedish pension system meant pensions became weaker over time, so it was therefore imperative to include all pensioners in such a comparison.

“It is not only strange [that the two groups were not included in the study], as relative poverty is clearly higher among those aged 80 and older, especially among women, but it is also age-discriminatory,” said Eriksson.

As part of its study, Alecta claimed poverty was more common among Swedes aged between 20 and 50 than in pensioners up to the age of 80, and that every fourth individual was actually better off as a pensioner.

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