Feel Capital | Until September, the government will have pay out over €39.4 billion euros in benefits to the more than 9.8 million pensioners in Spain, as well as to people claiming widowhood, permanent disability, orphanhood and family favour benefits. As a result, it will be forced to take extraordinary measures this summer after the emptying of the pensions’ piggy bank.
The average replacement rate in Spain -which is defined as the average pension divided by the economy’s average salary – is 57.7%. This is the third highest in the Euro Zone, 13.6 points over the Euro Zone’s average and 7.2 and 15.7 points higher than that in France and Germany, respectively. Funcas’ experts agree that the replacement rate, one of the highest in Europe, will need to be reduced.
The Spanish Ministry of Finance rules out a new specific tax hypothecated to finance pensions. In fact, the majority of developed countries has reformed their pensions systems basing them on various pillars (public/private; obligatory/voluntary) especially the nordic countries. Only Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain maintain a pensions system based solely on obligatory social security contributions.
Raimundo Poveda | The Spanish pension system is one more which exists in the OECD and, probably, not one of the worst. Neither are its problems very original. Just like in other countries in the club, the financial hardships which were the result of the Big Recession led to cuts. These were implemented in 2011 by the PSOE, with the PP causing a big scandal, then in 2013 by the PP, with the roles reversed.
The IMF highlights that the Spanish population, like that of the other developed economies, will age over the coming years. The number of pensioners is increasing faster than the number of active workers. So the average salary is beginning to come in at the same level or below that of the average pension.
Carlos Bravo | To be able to maintain current Spanish pensions model in 2050, when the large majority of the baby-boom generation will reach retirement age, we will need to raise pension spending to around 15% of GDP. This is a significant challenge, but one which is perfectly doable. The challenges of the system are two-fold: guarantee its financial sustainability and ensure there are sufficient funds available.
There is a lot of talk at the moment about Spanish pensions. But, it would appear, not enough. At least it is by no means clear that public opinion and voters are very aware of what is about to land on top of them: that in 2017 the pension piggy bank will be empty. And what will happen then?
If demographics fail, the economy doesn’t grow and employment stagnates, then there is no difference at all between the pay-as-you go system (Spain’s current state pension system) and the capitalisation scheme (put forward as a miraculous solution, now used in private pension schemes), says expert Niko Garnier.
The Social Security’s pensions fund is emptying. And this is causing huge alarm amongst current and future pensioners who believe, incorrectly, that “there’s going to be no money left and one day they’ll tell us that there is no monthly payment.”
Wages decline has put Spain back in the beginning of the century. But the warning sign for the country are citizens’ pensions: crucial for the most defenseless. Both President Mariano Rajoy and the Spanish society have an enormous stake in social welfare.