Recent reforms of pension systems have helped to contain the rise in future cost resulting from ageing populations and increasing life expectancy. These are the findings of the new OECD report Pensions at a Glance 2013. The study presented in Brussels confirms the European Commission's recommendations set out in the February 2012 White Paper on adequate, safe and sustainable pensions.
Governments now need to do more to encourage people to work longer and save more for their retirement to ensure that benefits are adequate enough to prevent poverty and maintain living standards in old age. Policy action is also needed to limit rises in inequality among retirees and to avoid pensioner poverty.
According to the report, most OECD countries will have pensionable ages for both women and men of at least 67 years by 2050. From current levels this implies an average increase of 3.5 years for men and 4.5 years for women.
When looking to the effects of reforms on replacement rates after a full career:
- low earners would receive around 70% of their former earnings in pension benefits;
- middle earners would receive about 54% and thus face a larger drop in their living standards;
- high earners would receive only about 48% but many of these would be less vulnerable due to higher personal savings, including in the form of owner occupier housing.
The report shows how unequally the wealth of retirees is distributed. Differences in homeownership and financial wealth exacerbate the inequality in the distribution of income from pensions. Beyond the social divide there is a marked gender divide in pension income, housing and financial wealth.