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Two-thirds in Finland trust the pension system, survey finds

The "pension barometer" also asked what people think about the system's intergenerational fairness.

Young adults (between 25-34 years of age) were most sceptical about the long-term stability of the pension system. Image: Toni Pitkänen / Yle

Roughly one-half of residents in Finland said young adults pay an excessive proportion to the country's national pension programme, according to the Pension Barometer survey commissioned by the Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK), published on Thursday.

While about 50 percent of respondents said younger people are paying more than their fair share, only about a quarter said they disagreed somewhat with that opinion.

"The middle-aged are worried about the contribution burden of the young. About one fifth agree completely with the statement. Retirees disagree the most. One-third of them do not find the contribution burden to be too high," ETK economist Sanna Tenhunen said in a press release.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents of all ages said they trusted the pension system, which was a seven percentage point increase year-on-year. Pensioners (87%) and nearly a quarter of those aged 50-64 said they trusted it the most.

The pension agency's head of research, Susan Kuivalainen, said the recent boost in trust could be linked to the country's economic situation.

"The increased trust is at least partly also related to the favourable economic and employment development. These factors have been observed to be linked to trust," Kuivalainen said.

Among all age groups, young adults (25-34 years of age) trusted in the pension system the least, but the majority of that age group said they did. Fifty-three percent said they trusted the system, while 32 percent said they did not.

Varying opinion on possible changes

The barometer also asked respondents whether they were prepared for Finland to make adjustments to the national pension system.

Forty-two percent said they agreed to the idea of making increases to pension fees paid by workers and employers, while 36 percent said they were not onboard with fee hikes.

Nearly one-third of respondents said they agreed with the idea of raising the retirement age, while 55 percent said they did not wish to raise it.

Just 11 percent said that the amounts paid out to pensioners should be reduced, while the overwhelming majority (78%) said they thought pension levels should not be slashed.

Another majority, 87 percent, said they did not agree with reducing pension payment levels of those already receiving their pensions.

The median monthly pension in Finland is 1,460 euros, and pension amounts have been gradually rising for decades, according to Social Insurance Institution Kela.

The Pension Barometer survey was carried out in May, using telephone interviews of more than 1,000 residents aged 18-79. The survey had a margin of error of three percentage points in either direction.