Sorry to be rather insensitive when talking about your death, but this needs to be discussed, and that discussion cannot be reserved just for those with a vested interest who want to continue to enjoy more of the same!
I never trust the big companies or governments when they talk about big projects because they always take so long and are seldom completed on time. The assumptions made are normally adjusted to make the project appear feasible for the rest of us because those in charge want to keep their jobs – they are tempted to fix the figures and spin the stories like SOTE and Fennovoima.
The problem for ordinary people is that they do not have the capacity or the time to check the figures, and those who have this capacity are normally involved in these projects. There are very few independent engineers, bankers, consultants and other experts who are brave enough to spend time examining these projects and come out with a critical reports. It could hurt their future job prospects and professional relationships.
Your columnist has been spending quite a lot of time looking at Finland’s population age groups because the pension companies and the government as saying that we will be facing big problems for healthcare and for pensions. These 2 “problems”, we are told, have consequences. There will be not be enough people working to support the growing numbers of “old people” who will need expensive healthcare, nor will there be enough cash to pay for future pensions. This means that the healthcare system needs an expensive SOTE and the pension funds need an increase in monthly payments.
Both consequences can be questioned. The assumptions about the numbers of pensioners and workers are based on assumptions about 1% to 2% of the total population, and that is not much. They are based on an expectation that people will suddenly live longer, continue to retire at around 63 to 65, and that we will no longer have enough children, and that the employment rate will remain low.
Look at this graph – we die off pretty quickly after 71 years:
Our ageing population is not that much different from forty years ago when most people retired at 67 years, and when we had a few more babies than today. Foolish thinking in past governments have continuously reduced this retirement age, while other “experts” have been making forecasts that the current 40 to 60 year-olds will be live longer than before. These are the types of fake data that pension funds and their friends are using to lobby for higher monthly payments into the pension funds.
This last assumptions are weak one because this big age group has been fed on MacDonalds’ fatty carbohydrates and sugar based drinks. A tougher work environment and greater exposure to alcohol are also causing increases in heart failure, cancers, obesity and diabetes, all of which will take their toll sooner than later.
It is quite probable that Mr. Death will sort out most of the pension problem rather sooner than expected, and it will occur during a short period starting now and ending by around the early 2030’s. Childbirth will probably increase.The last fall was due to the really bad financial crisis when the media was shouting so much negative news.
A big challenge is to improve the employment rate. This can be done by shortening the total period women may take for maternity leave and increasing paternity leave for men. Education needs to be maintained to help adults find new professions and stay on top of the changes in the workforce. The pension age should be increased to 67 or 70 quickly and we should stop fooling ourselves that older people, including older women, are less productive!
Our pension funds need to be consolidated. Ilmarinen, Varma and Elo are small expensive players in the global pension markets. Their investment policies fail to deliver the best returns because their administrative costs are too high and their asset portfolios are filled with poorly performing bonds and real estate and are starved of equity exposure. You could easily merge them together, reduce costs and increase the equity exposure to earn much higher returns for us pensioners. We already have plenty of exposure to out own apartments and houses where we live and certainly do not need to increase this through the compulsory pension funds. Naturally the banks, brokers, fund managers and civil servants and other beneficiaries scream at any attempt to make these necessary reforms.
Finally a healthcare reform is necessary because we have too many small municipalities. Their number needs to be reduced to between 100 and 120. They should then be forced to participate in some 10 ordinary municipal authorities to handle all social and public healthcare matters in their respective regions under the watchful eye of the Ministry of Finance. This is so obvious and such a well-tested solution that it is no wonder that our self-centred politicians missed it so easily!