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Friday’s papers: Pension problems, the conquest of English and happy retirees

A quarter of Finland's future workforce could be foreign, worries about the gravitational pull of English and the health-improving benefits of retirement.

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Workers tend to stop using anti-depressants when they retire, a new study finds. Image: AOP

To prevent pension costs from spiraling out of control, Finland needs 1.4 million migrant workers by 2050, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

That figure is based on calculations commissioned by the national daily from the Finnish Centre for Pensions and based on the assumption that Finland will not see a significant uptick in the birth rate. The pensions agency said Finland’s low birth rate will cause significant pressure to raise employees' pension contributions.

For the pension system to remain viable, immigration to Finland must double, meaning that some 30,000 foreign workers would have to relocate to the country annually.

Stemming the English tide

Meanwhile as HS homes in on Finland’s need to attract more foreign labour, Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet has latched on to Justice Minister Antti Häkkänen’s comments that Finland must do more to safeguard national languages Finnish and Swedish from the onslaught of English.

“Defending your mother tongue doesn’t make you a nationalist,” Häkkänen said.

Häkkänen said he believed it wasn’t always necessary to write academic papers in English, pointing out that Finnish and Swedish will fail to keep up with specialised terminology if the domestic languages are sidelined in academia.

Golden years

While much news has recently centred on how Finland will pay for its residents’ pensions, business daily Kauppalehti foregoes the doom and gloom to report that retirement has many health-boosting benefits.

A fresh study by the Etla think-tank suggests that hospital visits and antidepressant use decrease as people leave the workforce. Researchers found that people take mood-boosting drugs--often as sleep aids--to manage their final years at work.

The link between anti-depressant use and working was more pronounced among women than men.

Researchers asserted that any policies to further raise the retirement age should consider how working longer affects health and overall wellbeing.

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