"Forget about me—save Social Security." - New Yorker Cartoon
養老金改革反思 孫亞南譯， 北京：中國人民大學，2010
Rethinking Pension Reform
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洲 現在的麻煩就已經夠讓人操心的了﹐但另一場危機正在悄然逼近。歐盟(European Union)大多數國家向在職和退休人員承諾的養老金數額已經超過本國年國內生產總值(GDP)的兩倍。隨著政府削減福利開支﹐企業和個人的負擔正在加 重。但是﹐向老年人發放足額養老金可能使這些國家的經濟增長遭到毀滅性的打擊。
歐洲目前存在三種類型的養老金缺口。第一種來自政府﹐即歐 盟主要的養老金發放者。在瑞典、丹麥和波蘭﹐政府會留出一定資金﹐承擔部分國家養老金債務。但其他大多數歐盟國家的養老金財源來自稅收。養老金缺口通常不 算做公共債務﹐但歐盟國家平均每年要拿出GDP的8.3%來支付養老金﹐而且這還是美國國家政策分析中心(National Center for Policy Analysis) 2009年時給出的估測數據。之後歐洲增長惡化、利率下降可能已經導致這一比例上升。
人口老齡化問題 帶來了進一步的壓力。2010年﹐歐盟領取養老金的退休人員與在職人員數量之比差不多為1:4﹐而到2050年這一比例將變成1:2。目前歐盟的平均退休 年齡為61歲﹐據JLT Pension Capital Strategies估測﹐如果要實現養老金體系的可持續發展﹐未來的平均退休年齡可能必須延長至75歲。英國政府在這方面走在了“前列”﹐該國打算到 2046年把退休年齡延長至68歲。瑞士和希臘則通過下調離退休人員養老金的方式來填補養老金缺口﹐希臘每月向退休人員支付的養老金金額已最高下調 40%。
第二種養老金缺口來自企業﹐這一類型的缺口也在擴大。荷蘭和英國存在大量確定 給付辦法的養老金計劃﹐企業須按一定比例往員工養老金賬戶存入資金。但養老金的投資表現很令人失望﹐2008至2010年間﹐大多數經濟合作與發展組織 (OECD)國家退休基金的年實際回報率為負值。在英國﹐此類養老金計劃的缺口估計為2,170億英鎊。近期的一項受託人調查預計﹐未來幾年企業必須拿出 13%的現金來填補養老金計劃的缺口。
第三種養老金缺口來自個人。在法國、塞浦路斯和盧森堡﹐個人需要繳納的養老金費用很少﹐但是隨著政 府債務增加﹐越來越多的國家開始把養老金負擔轉移到員工頭上﹐鼓勵他們向養老金賬戶繳納更高比例的資金。而英國等一些國家還在推動確定給付辦法的養老金計 劃向確定提撥辦法的養老金計劃轉變。但是﹐當前的低收益率環境著實無法讓人生出儲蓄的動力。歐盟統計局(Eurostat)的數據顯示﹐目前歐盟的家庭儲 蓄率已經從2009年的13.4%下滑到11.4%。
據保險商Aviva估計，在意大利﹐企業員工現在每年要向養老金計劃多繳納 3,100歐元﹐才能確保退休後領取到足額的養老金﹐而在英國﹐企業員工每年要多繳納12,000歐元。假設退休基金的投資回報率為5%﹐員工退休後才能 領到相當於他們退休前工資70%的養老金。一些最需要提高個人儲蓄率的國家是愛爾蘭、西班牙這樣經濟正在衰退的國家﹐但提高儲蓄率無疑將使它們的經濟增長 受到更沉重的打擊。
Page last updated at 00:04 GMT, Saturday, 27 February 2010
Reader's Digest fall sparks UK pension fund gap fears
That is the warning from a firm of leading pensions experts, which comes just over a week after the UK arm of magazine Reader's Digest went into administration under a large pension burden.
Readers Digest UK, which was founded in 1938, was for decades a successful magazine with readers all over the world.
But the group's pension deficit hit £125m and a deal could not be reached to pay it off.
Around 1,000 members on the firm's pension plan are still waiting to hear how they will fund their retirement.
The Reader's Digest story has reignited fears about the safety of pensions for millions of employees relying on schemes with big deficits.
And pensions consultants Lane, Clarke and Peacock say it is a real possibility that the same thing could happen to other firms.
"This is going to have an impact on company balance sheets, on their profits and their cash flow.
"I'm sure there'll be some companies who as a result will go the same way as Reader's Digest, with members getting lower pensions."
Mark Walsh, from Cardiff, told the BBC about how he lost his job and his pension last year when the company he worked for went bust, which he believes was partly due to its huge pension deficit.
He had been paying into his final salary pension for 15 years but is now unsure about how he'll fund his retirement.
"I know the pension we had was a very good pension."
There are a number of big-name firms who have been in the news because their pension fund deficits are too high.
British Airways, BT and BAE Systems are all known to have large pension shortfalls and though none of these firms are about to fail, experts believe the coming years will be difficult.
"Companies are having problems with their final salary pension schemes because profits have got squeezed as the economy's turned down and we've moved into recession," says Tom McPhail from Hargreaves Landsdown.
"They're also finding that because of accounting standards, improved life expectancy, falling investment returns, all of these factors have created holes in the pension schemes and these companies don't have the money to fill those holes."
Mr Walsh has now found another job but is unsure about investing in a pension again.
"No way am I going to pay into a pension again. I've been bitten once and I wouldn't want that to happen again," he says.
"In these difficult times I'm going to have to look at alternatives for my future.
"I don't know what I'm going to get out of this pension when I retire, I know I'm probably going to have to work longer."
With around 90% of final salary pension schemes now in deficit, the worry is that the era of generous retirement plans for employees is over.