Pensi-Meter for the Baltic Countries

The Centre for Sustainable Business at SSE Riga (CSB), in cooperation with SEB, has carried out research in order to determine the awareness of Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians about the pension system and how they are preparing for retirement. The “Pensi-Meter” research discloses that the readiness of residents of the Baltic states for retirement, in aggregate, is to be assessed as low. Employees in Latvia are the least ready for retirement, compared to residents of the other Baltic states.

This is the first research of such a type, within which residents of the Baltic states provided their opinion in in-depth interviews, characterising the level of readiness of the population for old age and receiving a pension in the future.

The author of the research and the director of the Centre for Sustainable Business at SSE Riga, Arnis Sauka admits: “In general, the results show that people in all three countries not only have poor knowledge of how to better save for their pension, but also expect to be financially secured upon retirement, while at the same time showing distrust in the pension system. The activities to save for pensions are not sufficient, either. In general, one might as well say that the research shows a short-term planning trend in all three countries, and Latvia, unfortunately, is the most striking example.”

Less than one third of those employed in Latvia are thinking about their pension and getting ready for retirement years. Even though in pension issues Estonia is ahead of the other Baltic states, the result still shows that the readiness of Estonian residents for retirement should still be considered as weak, because, as evidenced by the population poll in the Baltic states, the value of the indicator is below the average level.

The value of the pensi-meter or the average readiness of employees for retirement is determined by assessing four indicators – knowledge, trust in the pension system, personal action and confidence in old age. Pensi-meter value in Estonia reached 3.6 points out of the maximum 10 points, in Lithuania – 3.3 points, whereas in Latvia – only 2.9 points. Thus, the readiness for retirement of those employed in Latvia is the lowest among the residents of all three Baltic states.

In terms of knowledge about pension formation, first place among the Baltic states is taken by Lithuania with 4.1 points out of the maximum 10 points. This could be connected to the recent pension system reform in Lithuania and the subsequent informative campaign, facilitating the growth of this awareness. Despite the above mentioned, the knowledge about pensions is still not sufficient, because two thirds of the working population in Lithuania are not aware of how much of their income is being allocated to the 1st and 2nd pension level and what the potential size of their pension upon retirement would be.

The largest values in three other criteria (trust, action and confidence) were obtained by Estonian residents. Latvia has the lowest degree of trust in the sustainability of the pension system and those employed are quite sceptical about the ability of the State to ensure them with a sufficiently large pension in old age.

It is interesting that Latvian residents are outpacing Lithuanians, in terms of the confidence indicator about sufficient income at retirement age and the possibilities to relax in old age, however in all three Baltic states more than half of the working population believe that their financial situation in old age will not be better than that of retired persons nowadays.

The explicitly low value of the action criterion shows the predominance of the so-called “ostrich syndrome” in all three Baltic states, and it is especially characteristic of Latvia. The poll data show that the largest percentage of those saving for their pension in the Baltic states is in Lithuania (39% of those employed). Latvia has the lowest percentage of pension savers, namely, 18% of the population. Latvia also stands out with the largest number of residents who have never saved and are also not planning to save money for old age.

The public polling in the Baltic states was carried out in November of 2014 in cooperation with the research company TNS, by means of computerised telephone interviews. A total of 1,800 working residents were interviewed in the Baltics or 600 respondents in each country in the age group from 30 to 55 years old.


Quick Facts

  • Readiness of the Latvian residents for retirement is the lowest among the residents of the Baltic states – the pensi-meter value comprises only 2.9 points out of the maximum 10 points.
  • Less than one third of those employed in Latvia are thinking about their pension and getting ready for retirement years.
  • 43 % of those employed in Latvia might be exposed to the risk of poverty in the future.
  • The best knowledge about the pension system is in Lithuania; out of the three Baltic states, Latvia has the least awareness about pension formation and the amount thereof.
  • Latvia stands out with the lowest trust in the sustainability of the pension system and the ability of the State to ensure a sufficiently large pension.
  • More than half of those employed in the Baltic states consider that their financial situation in old age will not be better than that of retired persons nowadays.
  • Part of the employed assume that they will have other alternatives for an increase of income in old age, nevertheless only a small proportion of them are proactive in ensuring a larger income.
  • Latvia has the smallest percentage of pension savers, besides Latvia stands out with the largest number of residents who have never saved and are also not

Pilns pētījuma "Pensometrs" pārskats latviešu valodā

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SSE Riga research shows that the readiness of Latvian residents for retirement is the lowest among the three Baltic states.

 

The research was presented on February 18th, 2015.