During 2017 or early in 2018, the Spanish State Pension system is due to run out of money. At one point, the reserve fund the government created for this was standing at 66 million Euros.
Why has this happened?
During the crisis, millions of jobs were lost, and with them, an almost parallel reduction in contributions to the Social Security. Furthermore, a large part of the new jobs are precarious – temporary, part-time or free-lance – and with low salaries. This means that contributions to the system are way below expectations and the minimum required for it to be able to meet outgoings with incomings.
While this has been happening, payments to retirees have been increasing. In the last 11 years the number of actual pensioners has increased by over a million (8.3 million up to 9.4 million). The average pension amount paid out has also increased, from €647 per month to €906 from 2006 to 2016. In 2007, 79 billion Euros was paid out in pensions, compared to 117 billion in 2016, an increase of 48%. In real terms, the annual deficit for the year is 19 billion Euros.
This issue of funding pensions is made even harder by the lack of people in employment. In many European countries it’s normal for 50% of the population to be in work, in Spain it’s only 40%.
Ideas on how to solve the problems being explored
These range from not putting a cap on contributions (this would generate more income in the short term, but mean more pensions payable in the long run). A more popular idea is to allow those people retired to still work and receive their entire pension, which would generate increased state contributions. Gaining more support is the change to stop those who are not contributing to the system to not receive state pensions/handout, such as widows and orphans. These would instead be funded from current tax revenues.
In essence Spain may have to look at what many other countries are changing, such as making people contribute for more years and lower percentages to effectively cut the average pension payments. As well as increasing Social Security contributions. But what does remain clear is, if you are ONLY relying on the state to fund your retirement, you could be looking at grave consequences.
To talk through what your retirement looks like, and what you can do to shape it, feel free to contact Chris.