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Survey: 10% of pensioners in Finland have serious financial problems

About half of pensioners reported having occasional problems paying bills, while 10 percent said they regularly cut spending on items like food and medicine.

Vanhus laskee taskulaskimella.
File photo. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

Roughly 10 percent of pensioners in Finland have serious money problems and find themselves having to cut spending on needs like medicine or health care and even food, according to a survey carried out by pension authority the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Those pensioners who feel the financial pinch most commonly include low income earners, people who are pensioned due to disabilities and single pensioners.

Respondents from these groups said they are often forced to reduce household costs by cutting back on food and medicine. Pensioners who suffer from physical ailments were particularly vulnerable because a larger share of their incomes go toward required medicine and care.

One-half of the surveyed pensioners said they have had occasions when they were unable to pay their bills, and one-third said they have no money left over after all their bills and expenses have been paid.

However, another half of the respondents said they were doing well financially. Some 40 percent said they are able to put money aside in savings while some 20 percent said they were even able to financially assist friends or relatives.

Pensioners who lived alone were found to be worse off financially compared to pensioners who lived with someone. Good health was also a contributing factor to how positively the respondents said they felt about their lives.

The survey was sent to some 4,000 pensioners in Finland in the autumn of 2017 and received responses from about 3,000. Some 1.5 million people in Finland live on pensions, with some 174,000 pensioners in the low income bracket (earning less than 1,200 euros per month).

60 percent of Finns trust the pension system

According to a pension barometer carried out last month by the centre, some 60 percent of Finnish citizens trust the Finnish pension system.

Those already living on a pension and aged 65 or older tended to trust the institution more. Some 82 percent of this group said they found the pension system to be fully or partially reliable, according to data published earlier this month.

However about 25 percent of respondents said they have little or no trust in the pension system. Those who were self employed were particularly critical of the system.

Only 10 percent of respondents said they felt they understood the pension system well, with an additional 25 percent saying they knew the system fairly well. Nearly 80 percent said they felt they understood the system well enough for their own needs.

The pension barometer survey was carried out in May, and queried more than 1,000 people aged between 15-79 years. The poll has a three percentage point margin of error.

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