Survey: Majority of Estonian pension savers favor voluntary second pillar

Pensioners. Photo is illustrative.
Pensioners. Photo is illustrative. Source: (Martin Dremljuga/ERR)

68 percent of Estonian pension savers support the government coalition's plan to reform the pension system and make the second pension pillar voluntary, it appears from a survey commissioned by the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS.

The survey was conducted in early September and included over 900 people who have joined the second pillar fund but are currently unable to withdraw their money from it, the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues said.

Pension savers were polled both in relation to their attitudes toward the reform more generally as well as regarding their plans for when payouts from the fund become available.

The results of the survey showed that among those who have joined a second pillar fund, 68 percent support the fund becoming voluntary, while 21 percent of respondents oppose the idea.

Those in favor of the planned pension reform formed the majority in almost all socio-demographic groups represented in the survey as well as among supporters of nearly all political  parties. Only among supporters of the opposition Reform Party did the share of those in favor of the initiative at 46 percent equal the share of those opposed to it.

The survey also sought to determine whether respondents were aware when they joined the second pension pillar that their state pension component would decrease. 15 percent of respondents indicated that they were aware of this; 81 percent said that they were unaware, while another 3 percent did not answer the question.

The results of the survey indicate that the majority of people were not sufficiently informed of the effects that joining the second pillar fund would have on their pensions in the future.

From Sept. 6-10, Turu-uuringute AS surveyed 909 respondents over 18 years of age who have joined the second pension pillar but are currently unable to withdraw accrued funds; surveys were conducted online.

Seeder: Estonians still ready to decide for themselves

Commenting on the results of the survey in a press release on Thursday, Isamaa chairman Helir-Valdor Seeder said that despite attacks by political competitors against the pension reform, the people of Estonia are still ready to decide for themselves about their own savings.

"The fact that people support the principle that we should all have the right to decide for ourselves regarding the use of the savings that we have put aside isn't surprising in itself," Seeder said. "What is positive is that support for making the second pension pillar voluntary is so high despite attacks in recent months against the pension reform."

According to the chairman, the survey highlighted another important factor as well.

"The fact that that just 15 percent of those to join the second pension pillar knew that the 4 percent added to the second pension pillar comes at the expense of their state pension demonstrates one of the biggest shortcomings of the current pension system — it shows that at the time the three-pillar pension system was introduced, nobody was able to clarify the details thereof to people," Seeder said.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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