Pension

When we think of retirement, most people think of reaping the rewards of a lifetime of work. But according to a new report from the International Labour Organization, the majority of people may be in for a major shock at the end of their careers. ILO Television explains.

Date issued: 23 March 2001 | Size/duration: 00:02:45 (6.71 MB)

When we think of retirement, most people think of reaping the rewards of a lifetime of work. But according to a new report from the International Labour Organization, the majority of people may be in for a major shock at the end of their careers. ILO Television explains.

If you're lucky, retirement is the way Roger Duvoisin describes it.

Roger Duvoisin

Retirement for me, is the start of a new life,... it is a privileged existence when one knows how to prepare for it.

But not everyone's retirement is so privileged. Antonio Cardona scavenges the runoff from emerald mines in Colombia. The only pension he'll ever know will come from what he finds in the riverbed.

Dalsio Antonio Cardona

No one has any kind of pension here. You have to work because if you don't work, you have nothing and your friends won't care about you because they think you're lazy. I'm 72 years old. I should be retired with a pension....

For most workers, retirement may be as evasive as the emeralds in Antonio Cardona's river.

A new report from the International Labour Organization, the ILO, says 90% of the world's workers will not be able to retire with an adequate pension. As Colin Gillion, author of the ILO's report on Social Security Pensions observes:

Colin Gillion, ILO Social Security Expert

Any pension that doesn't lift people above the poverty line is not a reasonable pension. There should be as a matter of principle, an income in old age that is at least above the poverty line. It mainly arises in developing countries where systems are very weak.

In Africa, the majority of people work outside the formal economy - retirement is a fringe benefit very few enjoy.

Many Asian retirement plans, where they exist, depend on individual accounts that were hit hard by the financial crisis.

In Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, the elderly are not so much retired as resigned to a pension system crippled in the move to a market economy.

Whatever shape their economy is in, almost everywhere you look, pension reform is on everyone's agenda.

Latin America has been a hotbed of pension reform. Chile introduced a privatised pension system that depends on individual savings accounts. It can be risky, but even the U.S. Social Security Administration encourages accounts like these.

The best future may lie in pension systems that mix public and private funds. It is a way forward for those facing the road to retirement.