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PaulS's picture

So you think you have a pension?

European nations begin seizing private pensions
Hungary, Poland, and three other nations take over citizens' pension money to make up government budget shortfalls.

People’s retirement savings are a convenient source of revenue for governments that don’t want to reduce spending or make privatizations. As most pension schemes in Europe are organised by the state, European ministers of finance have a facilitated access to the savings accumulated there, and it is only logical that they try to get a hold of this money for their own ends. In recent weeks I have noted five such attempts: Three situations concern private personal savings; two others refer to national funds.

The most striking example is Hungary, where last month the government made the citizens an offer they could not refuse. They could either remit their individual retirement savings to the state, or lose the right to the basic state pension (but still have an obligation to pay contributions for it). In this extortionate way, the government wants to gain control over $14bn of individual retirement savings.
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The Bulgarian government has come up with a similar idea. $300m of private early retirement savings was supposed to be transferred to the state pension scheme.
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A slightly less drastic situation is developing in Poland. The government wants to transfer of 1/3 of future contributions from individual retirement accounts to the state-run social security system.
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The fourth example is Ireland...
March 2009, the Irish government earmarked €4bn from this fund for rescuing banks. In November 2010, the remaining savings of €2.5bn was seized to support the bailout of the rest of the country.
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The final example is France. In November, the French parliament decided to earmark €33bn from the national reserve pension fund FRR to reduce the short-term pension scheme deficit.
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Full article with references: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Adam-Smith-Institute-Blog/2011/010...

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As governments become more and more desperate (including the UK government), pensions will become too much of a temptation to resist. But there is something you can do. Here is how I secured my pension fund: http://www.transitionnc.org/node/95/305