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UBS Pension Forum – 80 is the new 60

Zurich/Basel Media Releases Switzerland


The Swiss are feeling younger, for longer. However, pensioners are concerned about losing purchasing power over time because of inflation, while those in their forties and fifties have doubts about the sustainability of the AHV. The majority expect an increase of the retirement age for both genders. The Swiss are also aware of the importance of private savings for retirement but do not act enough on this awareness, not least because they feel they are not sufficiently informed. These and other insights stem from the new UBS pension survey "80 is the new 60" and the new pension handbook "100 questions – 100 answers," which will be presented today at the UBS Pension Forum.

Zurich/Basel, 22 September 2014 – The new UBS pension survey "80 is the new 60" offers surprising, relevant insights on the subject of age and pensions. It confirms assumptions that until now had been mere speculation, making it well suited to serve as a basis for political and social decisions.

"What is especially interesting is the finding that the majority of survey respondents expect a general increase in the retirement age for both genders. In contrast, politicians are still reluctant to propose this measure to the greater public, even though society seems to accept it as inevitable," explains Dr. Veronica Weisser, economist and pension expert at UBS.

The main results of the survey are:

  • 42% of respondents consider a person to be old only after 80 years of age. Neither retirement itself, nor age in terms of years lie at the heart of perceived old age, but rather the loss of independence, i.e. whether a person can no longer live independently at home, suffers from poor health or becomes forgetful. The majority expect a loss of independence only after the age of 80.
  • Regarding the choice of where a person lives in old age, tax aspects play only a minor role. The large majority want to remain in their current residential environment. Proximity to public transportation as well as to family and friends is regarded as especially important. Four out of five 65-year-olds are confident that they will not have to move into a retirement or nursing home.
  • Trust in the government is teetering. The younger the respondent, the less he or she believes that the state retirement provision (AHV) will remain intact to fulfill its mandate. On the subject of pension funds (pillar 2), skepticism is growing even among older generations. The majority of respondents expect an alignment and increase of the retirement age for both men and women.
  • Today's generation of gainfully employed is far more pessimistic as regards costs in old age than today's pensioners. 58% of the former expect health care costs to rise in retirement, while over 40% expect to spend more on travel, leisure and hobbies.

For this report, 1,521 persons aged 45 to 85 in the German- and French-speaking parts of Switzerland were surveyed by telephone in April 2014. The random sample took into account various wealth and age categories. The survey was conducted by Market Intelligence UBS Switzerland in collaboration with UBS Pension Services.

As the survey shows, respondents are aware of the significance of making one's own pension provisions. "However, the return-optimizing investment options of pillar 3a are still little used," says Nils Aggett, head of Pension Services at UBS. "Small investors, in particular, often neglect to invest a part of their retirement assets in investment funds. Many are not aware that failing to do so exposes them to higher inflation risks in the long term."

With the new UBS pension handbook "100 questions – 100 answers," UBS aims to help close the information gap in retirement provision. Between January 2007 and December 2013, Fredy Hämmerli, economic journalist and journalistic head of Swisscontent AG, answered around 3,500 questions on the AHV, occupational pensions, pillar 3a and 3b, asset investments, inheritance and donations, and real estate as part of his journalistic work. For the UBS pension handbook, he condensed this vast material into the 100 most important questions and their answers.

The tips are embedded into an in-depth analysis of each of the various topics related to pensions.

Dr. Veronica Weisser, UBS economist and pensions expert, shows how unsustainable the three-pillar system in Switzerland has become. Assuming conditions remain the same, today's pension promises will not be met in the future. This makes individual financial planning and retirement provision all the more important.

"In light of the uncertainties in the pension system, the handbook's explanations and tips should help readers avoid mistakes and take advantage of opportunities to achieve the best possible yield after tax with the most limited risk possible," Fredy Hämmerli describes the aim of the new UBS pension handbook.



Dr. Veronica Weisser
Economist and pension expert, Head of Swiss Macro and Sectors
UBS Chief Investment Office WM
Tel. +41 44 234 50 62,

UBS Corporate Communications Switzerland
+41 44 234 85 00,

UBS publications on the subject of retirement provision