A regional view on pension savings, by Juan Carlos Odar Trade Economy | Peru

One of the recurring discussions surrounding pension systems is the reason for their existence, which is based on the principle that individuals do what is best for themselves. Is this the case in Peru?

Let's look at the regions where a smaller proportion of employees are affiliated to a particular pension system. These are Apurimac, Ayacucho, Puno, Huancavelica and Cajamarca, whose membership ratios are between 16.4% and 12.6% of the working population, compared with the national average of 35.4%.

This data, which in itself is low, will decrease even more if we take into account that not all members in the private system they contribute (it does about 45%) and that not everyone who contributes receives a pension in the public (only 3 out of 10 people will receive it).

We could then consider that people will save voluntarily if they are not obliged to do so. It is precisely these five regions that have the lowest average monthly income from work (in the five regions it was lower than S / 902.2 in 2017, in Huancavelica, Puno and Cajamarca it was even lower than S / 902.2). 850 corresponding to minimum allowance), those with the highest degree of job information (between 86.7% and 91.3%) and those with the highest incidence of poverty (although they are not necessarily those with the highest extreme poverty, category in the that Amazonas and Loreto arrive instead of Apurímac and Ayacucho).

It is difficult to think of saving – of whatever nature – under such circumstances.

On the other hand, according to the SBS in its financial services survey published in 2017, 53% of the population do nothing to cover their expenses in old age, a percentage that reaches 62% in rural areas.

Moreover, if we were to organize the population on the basis of their socio-economic level, 64% of the population in the poorest quintile and 58% of the second quintile would not save for their advanced age. And although nearly a third of the total population does not contribute to a pension system because it does not know what it is, it does not need it, it does not trust it or it seems complicated; 44% of them say they do not because they have no money to contribute or because they do not have a job.

Under the circumstances described above, it is difficult to think that there are hidden savings for old age in this region. An integral reform of the pension system is therefore absolutely essential. But all of the above also reflects a serious problem of generating revenue. The ability to save will not drastically improve if there is no reform, deeper even if it is possible, from our labor market.

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