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As population growth slows, the number of workers paying for the pensions of those in retirement will fall from eight workers today to four per retiree in 2050, putting pressure on the public purse.
As population growth slows, the number of workers paying for the pensions of those in retirement will fall from eight workers today to four per retiree in 2050, putting pressure on the public purse.

WEF Warns of $70 Trillion Global Pension Time Bomb

The WEF believes workers need to save between 10% and 15% of their annual salary to support a reasonable level of income in retirement

WEF Warns of $70 Trillion Global Pension Time Bomb

The world's biggest economies are sitting on a $70 trillion pensions time bomb that will balloon to more than $400 trillion within four decades unless policymakers take urgent action, the World Economic Forum has warned.
Analysis by the WEF showed the six countries with biggest pensions—the US, UK, Japan, Netherlands, Canada and Australia—as well as China and India—the two most populous countries in the world—faced a retirement savings gap of $428 trillion in 2050, up from $67 trillion in 2015, stuff.co quoted the WEF report as saying.
This is based on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's recommendation that savers should aim for a retirement income of 70% of working-age earnings when they stop working. The gap is expected to grow to the equivalent of $300,000 per person by 2050, adjusted for wage inflation, which is larger than the size of the global economy.
In the UK, the current shortfall of $8 trillion is forecast to rise by an average of 4% per year to $33 trillion in 2050.
A study by the OECD in 2015 found that savers in the UK could on average expect the state to fund 38% of their working-age income when they retired, lower than any other major advanced economy. Across the 35 major economies in the OECD, the average was 63%.

Life Expectancy Rising
But while the think tank has praised the UK government's shake-up of the pensions system, which is now linked to life expectancy, it described the notion that it had found a "beautiful balance between affordability and sustainability is some sort of Panglossian fantasy".
The WEF said a five-point plan was needed to ensure those born today can retire and still receive a comfortable income.
The WEF noted that life expectancy has been increasing "rapidly" since the middle of the last century, increasing on average by one year, every five years. This means babies born today can expect to live for more than 100 years.
?According to the forum, the number of people aged over 65 will increase from 600 million today to 2.1 billion in 2050. As population growth slows, this will mean the number of workers paying for the pensions of those in retirement will fall from eight workers today to four per retiree in 2050, putting pressure on the public purse.
All this is against a backdrop of slower growth, lower interest rates and weaker returns on investments.

Investment Returns
The WEF said: "Over the past 10 years, long-term investment returns have been significantly lower than historic averages. Equities have performed between 3% and 5% below historic averages and bond returns have typically been around 1% and 3% lower.
"Low rates have grown future liabilities, and at the same time investment returns have been lower than expected and unable to make up the growing pension shortfall. Taken together, these factors have put increased strain on pension funds as well as on long-term investors that have commitments to fund and meet the benefits promised to current and future retirees."
The WEF believes working longer is inevitable. George Osborne, the former chancellor, linked the state pension age to life expectancy in the previous parliament. As a result, the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government's fiscal watchdog, forecasts that workers will have to retire at 69 by 2055. Under current plans in the UK, the state pension age will rise to 66 by 2020 for both men and women.
The OBR's latest long-term projections suggest this move is necessary for state pensions to remain sustainable. Official projections show 26.2% of the UK population will be aged over 65 in 2066, compared with 18% last year and 12% in 1961.
The WEF believes workers need to save between 10% and 15% of their annual salary to support a reasonable level of income in retirement.
It warned that many workers faced a shock in later life, with current savings rates "not aligned with individuals' expectations for retirement income—putting at risk the credibility of the whole pension system".

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