A look at pension systems

The thought of a system for security, like a pension system, is not unique for any country. In Venice during the fifteenth century a form of pension system was in place where the workers from the ship yards received a basic financial security when they became old or if they were injured. In addition, there was even a form of pension for widows of deceased workers. Venice, which was then not a city in Italy, but a self governing country that had become rich by controlling the trade routes to the orient and by being a leading sea faring country. They were also involved in a lot of wars. The people who fought were mostly hired mercenaries, and even they had a form of pension system included in their hiring agreements.

The first pension plan in England was introduced in sixteen seventy and included the navyandrsquo;s marine officers. This pension system was also introduced in Sweden around the same time, the reasons for both countries being wars at sea. England also gets its first general pension system at the same time as Sweden; The Old Age Pension Act was introduced in nineteen and eight.

Many similarities among the western European countries exist even today. Of the fifteen countries that were members of the European Union at the end of the nineteen nineties twelve hade the same pension age of sixty five, even if the pension age for women were lower in some countries. France had a pension age of sixty years. The levels of pension are of course greatly varied among the different countries. One can assume that the pensions in Portugal the hardest to grasp because many continued working after their pension, about thirty percent of the people between sixty five and sixty nine years of age. Many people in Greece and Ireland also continued working after the age of sixty five.

The amount of pension people are able to receive in a generally rich country with a well established pension system is usually dependant of three things. Firstly, a general, basic pension to prevent poverty. Secondly, one part which is related to the amount of work put in, how much and for how long. Thirdly comes the part which consists of own money saved.

Poorer and undeveloped countries naturally have a harder time establishing a working pension system. If there is an existing general pension system at all, the payouts are extremely low and they have all been established quite recently. In Namibia they introduced a pension system in nineteen ninety, in Nepal in nineteen ninety six and in Antigua and Barbados in two thousand and four.

The pension ages for undeveloped countries, which have a pension system, are similar to Europe or lower; for example sixty for Namibia, sixty five for Botswana, Bolivia, South Africa and Costa Rica. Worth remembering here is that life expectancy in these countries are much lower than in Europe. In Nepal, one of the poorest countries of the world, pension age comes at seventy five years of age. Life expectancy in Nepal is currently around sixty years of age.