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Europeans Have Little Confidence in State Pension Provision

Widespread fear of old age poverty. Majority of citizens in countries affected by the crisis consider themselves to be thrifty. Obvious gaps in private pension provision.

The majority of Europeans are concerned about their financial security in old age and have little confidence in state pension provision. This is the result of a representative survey in eleven European countries, which YouGov performed on behalf of "Investmentfonds. Nur für alle.", an initiative of numerous mutual fund management companies. The results show that 78 per cent of the over 11,000 Europeans surveyed are concerned about whether the state will be able to pay their pensions in the future. 69 percent of all respondents stated that they were afraid of old age poverty. More than half (57 percent) do feel sufficiently informed about private pension provision. But a clear majority of 79 percent believe they need to make more private provisions to maintain their individual living standard in old age. However, only around a quarter (27 per cent) of European savers would set aside additional income for private pension provision.

"The survey shows that the fear of old age poverty is a Europe-wide phenomenon," said Thomas Neiße, President of the German fund association BVI, at the presentation of the results in Frankfurt. "At the same time it reveals that the confidence of Europeans in pension provisions offered by the state has been eroded and that there are significant gaps in private pension provision," Neiße said next.

Fear of old age poverty especially prevalent in countries affected by the crisis
The fear of old age poverty is particularly widespread in southern European countries affected by the debt crisis. In Portugal and Italy respectively nine out of ten respondents fear old age poverty. In Greece and France over 80 percent fear old age poverty, in Spain it is nearly three quarters (73 percent). But citizens' confidence is also very shaken in countries with strong economies. So, for example, 63 percent of Germans and nearly half (45 percent) of Norwegians fear old age poverty. In Germany, the fear is slightly less prevalent than the overall country average (69 percent).

Majority of Europeans consider themselves to be thrifty
More than half of all respondents (62 percent) are not in a financial position to make private old age provision. This applies especially to southern Europeans and the French. The citizens of Greece see the smallest financial scope for retirement savings. 78 percent of respondents there indicated that they are unable to make private provisions, followed by the Portuguese (75 percent). In Spain, Italy and France respectively, over 70 per cent of respondents also share this view. With 58 percent, Germany is just below average. The Norwegians see the most scope: There, only just below half (45 percent) indicated that they are unable to make any private savings for pension provision.

Despite this, nearly all Europeans already consider themselves to be mostly thrifty. Between countries, there is little difference with regard to the assessment of their own thrift. On average, three quarters of all respondents said they were "very thrifty" or "mostly thrifty". In the crisis countries Greece and Portugal, 75 percent and 81 percent respectively are of this opinion. The Germans are in second place in terms of thrift with 78 percent, behind the Portuguese. The poorest performers are the Spanish, 40 percent of whom consider themselves "not thrifty" or "not at all thrifty".

Most Europeans would save additional money
All Europeans also exhibit very similar saving behaviour. If they had an additional 100 Euro available per month, the majority of the respondents (65 percent) would be "most likely to save" the money. This was mentioned in particular by the Portuguese (79 percent), Norwegians (72 percent) and Dutch (70 percent). In contrast, 42 percent of Germans would "rather spend" the additional income.
Of all respondents who would rather spend extra money, nearly half (48 percent) would cover current expenses. Of those willing to save, more than half (57 percent) would keep the money for a necessary major purchase. Only about a quarter (27 per cent) would save the money for private pension provision. One in five (22 percent) were however willing to save extra money for health and nursing costs. If one adds these savings to private pension provision, a significantly higher willingness to make private savings for old age becomes apparent.

Future expectations reflect the current economic situation
However, additional private pension provision will remain difficult for many citizens. Because only about 30 percent of all Europeans on average expect "excellent" or "good" economic developments. The citizens of the southern European countries are the most pessimistic: In Portugal and Greece, nine out of ten respondents expect that their country's economic development will only be "mediocre" to "bad" over the next three years. The Italians and Spaniards are also mostly skeptical regarding future economic development. The Dutch and the English are similarly pessimistic. A more positive outlook for the future is held by the Germans, Swiss and Austrians. The Norwegians are the most optimistic. 78 percent of them expect an excellent to good development of their domestic economy.

About the survey
On behalf of the initiative "Investmentfonds. Nur für alle." the international market research company YouGov Deutschland AG established how Europeans handle and approach the topics of money, savings, financial knowledge and private pension provision. For this, YouGov questioned a total of 11.268 participants from 11 European countries (Germany, England, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain) using an online questionnaire. To achieve representative results, at least 1000 participants per country were surveyed. YouGov collected the data between 4. February and 26. February 2013.

About "Investmentfonds. Nur für alle."
"Investmentfonds. Nur für alle." is an initiative of the German mutual funds companies launched in October 2010. Its aim is to provide information about funds and to demonstrate what they really are: An investment that is suitable for all - regardless of investor type, life situation, and plans for the future. The initiative supports financial advisors with, among other things, an online knowledge platform with vendor-neutral information and tools on saving with investment funds. Savers and advisors can find up-to-date information on the website

Mercredi 17 Avril 2013