Swedish Language Blog

Will you work until you are 75? Posted by on Feb 9, 2012 in Living in Sweden

Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has sparked a huge debate the last couple of days due to his new suggestion that Swedes should keep on working until they are 75- instead of 65 as the standard retirement age is today.

“The pension’s scheme isn’t based on magic. It is a welfare ambition based on large-scale re-distribution and citizens’ own work. If people think that we can live longer and shorten our work life, then pensions will get lower,” Reinfeldt said to Dagens Nyheter (Today’s News).

With the risk of being completely and utterly dull here – here’s a quick guide to the Swedish pension system and how it works – for anyone who might be interested:
The Swedish pension system consists of three main components – national retirement pension, occupational pension and voluntary pension. The national retirement pension is made up of three elements, income pension, premium pension and guarantee pension. The income pension and the premium pension are completely independent from the national budget. The income pension is financed by employer contributions representing 16% of an employee’s gross annual income. Premium pension is financed through an additional contribution from the employer equal to approximately 2.5% of the employee’s gross annual income. Occupational pension is the pension coverage provided to employees via their employer, as a component of salary, which is also known as collective agreement pension. Voluntary pension consists of private pension insurance based on voluntary savings.

The retirement age is normally 65, but it’s flexible and some people start to work less when they are 61 while some keep on working until they are 67. Of Swedes over 65 years old, 7.8 percent were employed in 2010, according to Statistics Sweden.

So, what about this new suggestion then? Well, apart from us living longer and the higher standard of living in general, the Prime Minister believes that employers would be more willing to hire people over 55 if they knew they would stay for another 20 years instead of 10. And that we might have to consider more than one career during our working life – a quite challenging view for most of us.

As mentioned before, this has not been greeted with open arms and cheers. Debates has been raging in the media and on the social networks, people have been rather… well let’s put it this way, unkind to the Swedish Prime Minister and his new suggestion.

What’s the retirement age in your country? And could you imagine yourself working until you are 75?

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  1. George Albaugh:

    I’m 65 and live in the USA. Due to the present economy I plan to work at least another 5 years and probably will never be able to completely “retire”. Retirement is a fantasy except for the rich 1 percenters! My advice is to take up a sport that keeps you in shape in the hopes that you won’t be made redundant and replaced by a younger worker!

  2. Daniel:

    In our country we can go on pension when we are 65 years or worked 45 years. My opinion is that when you worked 45y then you have the right to have a time of. I’m not saying inactive. There’s a lot people can do. In 5y I’ll be 45y active but not 65. Maybe I’ll do some extra years depending on My healt.

    But working till I’m 75, No. Thanks!

    When will the youngster be able to work if we all decide or must work till we are 75?

  3. George A.:

    I started working in my teenage years and full time by my mid-twenties. Youngsters need to be attentive when selecting their educations and make sure that they are getting training for occupations that have a demand for workers. Some occupations like nursing and allied medical fields will probably enjoy a hiring boom as the general population ages. There’s plenty of work for those who want to work. Just be sure you don’t pick an education track that leads to a dead end situation.

  4. J. Eric:

    My full Social Security retirement age here in the USA is 66. I could retire right now and start collecting my Union pension, but that wouldn’t pay all of the bills. I could retire this October at 62, but then I would find another job because I still consider myself young.

    But I will probably continue to work for a few more years because I live in a small town and ride my bike to work year round.

    And “the sleep of a working man is sweet” says Proverbs.

    After I retire, I want to sell Hot Dogs and maybe Tunnbrödsrulle with Carmelcorn for dessert.


  5. ann:

    My mother is 77, in a wheelchair and living alone — and she works full-time. She also has a pension she draws on at the same time. My father died only a few weeks after retiring from full-time work at the age of 74. I tend to think there’s a connection.

    I “retired” when I had my first child at the age of 40, and am only now getting back to work now that my 2nd child is 5 years old. I worked more as a mother of young children than I work now at a desk. I look forward to getting to the office and having my own space!

    I see “work” as day care for adults. Some retirees can keep social and active without a specific job to fulfill on a daily basis, but not most.

    Most of us feel left out, lonely and useless when not working. “Retiring” when one is still capable of contributing to society can lead to all sorts of ills in the individual. “Retiring” means mainly that we make room for younger workers, but it has the effect of society losing respect for age.

    My husband’s plan is to retire as soon as possible. However, in order to accomplish that, he is involved in making some serious money to fund his retirement.