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  #31  
Old 06-09-2014, 07:55 AM
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NEW ZEALAND

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/fore...unfair-5994483

Quote:
A New Zealander who has paid taxes for most of her working life has been refused a full pension under rules she says are unfair.

Lynn Kirkland-Hammer is retired but only gets a few dollars a month because her husband's pension, paid by the Swedish government, is enough for both of them, according to the Ministry of Social Development.

"My only option is to get divorced from the man I love if I want to get some pension. How can that be right?" Mrs Kirkland-Hammer says.

In a statement, MSD's Lindsay Meehan says calculations show "Mr Hammar receives an overseas pension which pays more than the married rate of New Zealand superannuation."
.....
Known as Section 70, the rule is intended to prevent people claiming pensions in two countries at once. But it also allows Work and Income to deduct the amount an individual receives from an overseas pension from what their partner is entitled to in New Zealand.

"In principal it is fair to not pay people two basic state pensions. Where the problem arises is where there's confusion or difference over the classification of what is a state pension," says Dr Menzies.

That definition is a sore point for Mrs Kirkland-Hammer because two- thirds of her husband's pension is coming from a savings plan that's income related, not a base pension. Income from personal or company super schemes is not deducted under section 70, but her husband's supplementary pension which is based on his income, is deducted.


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  #32  
Old 06-09-2014, 05:15 PM
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SINGAPORE

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...0OQ1EY20140609

Quote:
(Reuters) - Singapore witnessed one of its biggest protests at the weekend, over the fate of hard-earned pension savings, throwing a spotlight on one of the most sensitive political issues facing the tightly regimented city-state.

.....
Critics of the Central Provident Fund, a mandatory saving system which people and their employers must contribute to while working, say they do not know enough about what happens to money they place in the scheme and that it should be bringing them higher returns.

"In Singapore, we have no transparency and we have no accountability," said author and columnist Leong Sze Hian at the 'Return Our CPF' protest on Saturday which attracted about 2,000 people.

Most funds are invested in risk-free government securities. In the current low-interest rate environment, that means they currently pay the legislated minimum annual rate of 2.5 percent, or 4 percent for funds in an account used solely for retirement.

Many of those protesting argued that the returns were not keeping pace with the rising cost of living, meaning that in real terms they will be left with less money when they retire.

The government says that those kinds of returns are higher than equivalent risk-free investment products available privately, and that higher returns would lead to more risky investment.

"The people want higher guaranteed returns, and if the market cannot give that kind of guaranteed return, then whoever is investing the money has to take more risk," said Benedict Koh, a professor of finance at Singapore Management University

"Then the question is, who is going to bear the losses?"

The debate has also raised further questions for the government about how it deals with online criticism. The issue only became high profile after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sued a blogger for implications of impropriety in connection with the pension funds.

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  #33  
Old 06-18-2014, 09:37 AM
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JAPAN

http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...ow-payout-cuts

Quote:
Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso said the government is considering changes to the pension system that would enable it to cut payments as the nation grapples with the world’s heaviest debt burden.

“It’s true the welfare ministry and related agencies are considering this,” Aso said in Tokyo today when asked about a report in the Nikkei newspaper that the government was weighing the changes. The ministry plans to revise the rules to allow nominal reductions of 0.9 percent a year, regardless of trends in prices and wages, the Nikkei reported, without attribution.

Putting the pension system on a stronger financial footing could reduce the burden on the government, which shoulders half the annual costs of basic pension payments. At the same time, cuts in transfers to Japan’s growing ranks of pensioners, who face rising prices and a higher sales tax, would risk hurting consumption and economic growth.

.....
Pension payments are forecast to increase to 60.4 trillion yen in 2025 from 53.8 trillion yen in 2012, as the ratio of the population 65 or older rises to 30 percent from 24 percent over the same period, according to the welfare ministry.

.....
Tackling rising social security costs with measures that could limit growth in pension payouts marks a shift in policy that puts the younger generation ahead of Japan’s increasing number of elderly, according to Shirakawa at Credit Suisse.

“This government seems to be more in favor of people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, rather than those in their 50s and 60s. That means politically the future could be unstable as long as older people have a higher turnout in elections.”

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  #34  
Old 07-20-2014, 12:01 PM
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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA

http://www.guelphmercury.com/opinion...a-pension-fix/

Quote:
This editorial appeared first in the Charlottetown Guardian:

Prince Edward Island made a wise decision to seek Canada Pension Plan enhancements under the federal umbrella instead of pursuing a risky option with Ontario and Manitoba for a separate, supplemental provincial scheme.

Finance Minister Wes Sheridan is a longtime supporter of a richer Canada Pension Plan (CPP) because he says not enough Islanders are saving sufficient funds for retirement. Former federal finance minister Jim Flaherty started to warm toward the idea but changed his mind before stepping down in March. That reversal likely came on the orders of his boss, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, because enhancing CPP seems like a payroll tax, and those optics would never do with a federal election next year.

In frustration, Ontario announced it would go it alone and found allies in Manitoba and Sheridan. Premier Kathleen Wynne seems determined to carry on, especially after winning a surprising majority government in the early June provincial election, and viewing this as a mandate from the voters to proceed with a supplemental plan.

Perhaps Sheridan has found a more willing ear with new federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver, or at least a minister willing to explore some options. Or he realized a separate provincial plan would involve just too much time and money for P.E.I. His idea was good in principle and he can take satisfaction that he helped push forward the need of better pensions.

Now P.E.I.'s finance minister says he will try to convince Ottawa to increase premiums on the existing CPP.

His original plan was perhaps too rich — it scared businesses and it made low- to middle-income Islanders nervous as well. Sheridan is fearful that only a truly national supplemental plan will work. If Ontario and Manitoba do go alone, it could scuttle any hopes for a universal CPP option.

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  #35  
Old 08-01-2014, 02:18 PM
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UNITED KINGDOM

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/ne...-30474650.html

Quote:
A transsexual's claim to be entitled to receive the female state pension at the age of 60 has been rejected by the Court of Appeal.

.....
Lord Justice Kay, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Lord Justice Justice Underhill, rejected an appeal by MB against a decision of the Department for Work and Pensions refusing a female pension.

The judge said MB was now aged 66 and while still a man married the mother of his two daughters.

He began to live as a woman in 1991 and underwent gender reassignment surgery four years later.

In April 2005 transsexuals acquired the right to apply for a full "gender recognition certificate" under the 2004 Gender Recognition Act.

But a certificate could not be issued to a married person who did not have their marriage annulled on the basis of their gender change.

The judge said: "The appellant does not wish to have her marriage annulled. She and her wife have lived as a married couple for 38 years and do not wish to change.

"Also, as a Christian she says that she and her wife feel married in the sight of God.

"Accordingly she has not applied for a gender recognition certificate, and so far as the law is concerned she remains a man."

When she reached her 60th birthday in May 2008, she applied for a state pension but was refused on the basis that she was a man and would have to wait for the male pension at 65.


I still don't get why the state pension retirement age is so much lower for women. Or different at all.

I'm pretty sure they have to change this because of the EU, but still. Odd.
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  #36  
Old 08-22-2014, 04:33 PM
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SPAIN

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogsp...-security.html

Quote:
The "recovery" news in Spain keeps piling up. Via translation from El Economista, Government has already taken 37% of the total 'pensions piggy bank'. If extractions continue at the current rate, the fund would be exhausted in 4 years.
.....
I am sure glad no one sees a problem here. As we all know, problems vanish if you ignore them. It's mind over matter. I learned that from former US secretary of treasury, Tim Geithner.

And as long as you are ignoring some problems, why not ignore all problems?


.....
To all you naysayer pessimists who may be shocked by the above, please consider this simple question: If Social Security bankruptcy doesn't bother the US, why should it bother Spain or any other country?

Far be it from me, Mish the eternal optimist, to be any sort of worrywart, but your answer must take into account one additional question: Who controls the printing press in the US and who controls the press in Spain?
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  #37  
Old 08-23-2014, 08:26 PM
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SINGAPORE

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...0GH0IZ20140817

Quote:


(Reuters) - Singapore is to reform its mandatory retirement savings scheme and will provide greater support to low-income pensioners, the Prime Minister said on Sunday, in response to growing public criticism of the system.

Providing for Singapore's aging society is one of the biggest challenges facing Lee Hsien Loong's government, with the present enforced savings system threatening to erode dwindling support for his ruling People's Action Party, which won its lowest ever share of the vote in a 2011 election.

Singapore's Central Provident Fund (CPF) has won widespread international admiration for the way it forces citizens to put aside money to fund their retirement, healthcare and housing costs, but many people are unhappy at the rate of return on their CPF savings and a rise in the minimum sum they must save before making withdrawals.

A survey published last week by insurance firm Manulife found that only 20 per cent of Singapore investors believed that their CPF accounts would cover their needs in old age.

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  #38  
Old 10-05-2014, 09:37 AM
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UNITED KINGDOM

http://www.theguardian.com/money/blo...ulsory-pension

Quote:
You may not want an iPhone 6. You may have never owned anything produced by Apple. You may not even be on the internet. But if you want enough money in retirement, you had better hope Apple shifts zillions of the things.

One of the extraordinary facts to have emerged in our review of auto-enrolment – two years old this week – is where the money is going. Millions of people, often on relatively low incomes, are for the first time saving into a pension. Millions more will join them over the next few years as the scheme is forced on to almost every employer in the country, no matter how small.

The “default” fund that employers can use in order to comply with the rules is called Nest (National Employment Savings Trust). So what is it buying on your behalf to secure your future? It turns out that shares in iPhone maker Apple are easily the biggest holding. After that, it’s oil company Exxon Mobil, Google and Microsoft. Only one British company creeps into the top 10 holdings, and even then it’s only part British: Royal Dutch Shell. The rest are American, with the exception of Nestlé, a Swiss company.

Just 8.5% of the shares in Nest are UK companies, and only a further 17.4% are even European. The lion’s share – nearly 55% – are in North America.

It’s not that the managers at Nest have decided to blow our futures on a gamble that Apple and Google are still going to be around in 40 years time (anyone remember ITT?); instead this is just a fact of “indexation”. Nest and other similar pension fund managers put the money into index funds that replicate global stock markets – and Apple is the world’s biggest company by market capitalisation, worth around half a trillion dollars.

....
Make no mistake, Nest is going to be huge. It won’t hit the size of the $900bn Norwegian oil fund, but as both the level of contributions is increased (from 2% of pay to 8% of pay by 2018) and more workers join, its assets are going to escalate fast.

Conventional City of London ideology is informing its investment decisions. Yet in Singapore, the country’s compulsory pension fund has been mobilised to held build local housing. Ottawa’s pension fund is extraordinarily interventionist. Given that we will be throwing hundreds of billions of pounds into a pension scheme for British workers, could we at least have a wider debate before sending half of it to Wall Street?

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  #39  
Old 10-05-2014, 09:39 AM
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UNITED KINGDOM

http://www.independent.co.uk/money/p...s-9773898.html

Quote:
They’re still together 70 years later, but they haven’t been congratulated by Cameron. In fact, they feel very hard done by. Why? Because, like more than half a million other pensioners, they are not given an annual increase in their state pension.

The reason is simple. They moved overseas, but to the wrong country. In what seems a clear case of injustice, people who retired to the EU, or to any of more than 20 other countries – including the United States and Mauritius – have their state pension increased each year. But anyone who moved to countries including Australia, Canada, South Africa and a 100 other places, had their pension frozen at the rate it was paid at when they left the country.

That’s what’s happened to Harry and his wife Gaye. They moved to Australia in 1970 prompted by a great job opportunity.

Harry was unaware at the time that his pension would be frozen when he moved. He paid into his UK pension while he was working in Australia, as did his wife. He qualified for a full pension at 65, but it has never been increased since.

That leaves his current state pension at £39.50 a week, while Gaye’s is about £24. They get a total £63.50 a week, which if they had moved to the US or Germany would be about £180.95 a week.

“It’s quite unjust,” Harry says. “It’s the principal, I fought for my country. Life gets more and more expensive the older you get which makes things tough.

“Any money helps, and we get no help from the Australian government at all.

“I wasn’t aware at all that my British pension would be frozen, I would have otherwise thought twice about moving to Australia and I will live with the consequences for the rest of my life.”

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Old 10-12-2014, 07:56 PM
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CANADA

http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspa...plan_cohn.html

Quote:
In public political events, Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau are Liberal allies, campaigning at each other’s side.
On public pensions, however, they are far from fully aligned.
For Ontario’s premier, Trudeau — the man who would be Canada’s prime minister — remains hard to read when it comes to the fine print of improving pensions.
In public and private, Trudeau has danced around the principle of an enhanced, mandatory public pension along the lines of the trusted Canada Pension Plan. With his party leading in the polls, the prospect of a Liberal government taking power after the next federal election could prove problematic for Wynne’s provincial ambitions.

Ontario has long lobbied to expand the CPP, which is capped at a mere $12,000 a year — well below the replacement levels needed for middle-income retirees. The late Jim Flaherty flirted with the idea of an improved CPP as federal finance minister, but was overruled by Stephen Harper a year ago.


Hence the conventional wisdom that the major obstacle to pension enhancement was always the prime minister. Now the problem is not just Harper’s obstinacy but Trudeau’s obfuscation.
Blocked by Ottawa last year, Wynne opted for her own made-in-Ontario alternative. In the spring election, she campaigned for a new supplementary pension modelled on the CPP so that it could one day be reintegrated with an expanded national pension plan if there were a change in government in Ottawa.
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