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Social Security in other countries?

Posts: 126
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi, with all this talk of fiscal cliff and tax increases, etc... Just curious if anyone here knows what other countries do with their retirees? I mean, I assume most non 3rd world countries (ex. for USA) have universal health care, but do they have a program similar to social security? What do they live on? Do they pay into it during their working years or is it all pensions from their jobs or what? Guess I've never paid any attention to this before. I know we have a few people here from other countries..... Thanks, Ruffy

Posts: 126
Joined: Sep 2011

Updated - hoping to get some response :) Thanks, Ruffy

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6734
Joined: Feb 2009

My friend in Canada said they have something like SS plus they worked for the school system and got something from them also.

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2012

In Canada we have OAS old age security pension that is a federal pension that all get based on age. There are also provincial pension benefits that can start to be collected between the age of 60 and 65 and continue until death. Depending on whether you worked for a public or private company will shape your pension. We have RRSPs (registered retirement savigns plans) which are somewhat similar to 401ks. We also have TFSAs (tax free savings accounts) in which a maximum of 5k can be deposited a year in any form (stocks, bonds, cash) and no tax is collected on any of the interest or profit made from such funds. The top out after federal, provincial and municipal taxes are usually around 50% for high income earners, but certain types of income such as dividends are actually taxed less than american equivalencies. We have universal healthcare and it is largely a great system, yes you'll get the occasional horror story that pops up on fox news but we actually have lower rates of major chronic diseases and have equivalent cancer survival rates. Also, universal health care isn't really considered a socialist thing here. We have a slightly more socialist party but it is accepted across the board and there is no move in parliament to get rid of the system. The hospitals are not run or controlled by the government they just receive their funding from the federal government and the provincial healthcare systems are free to dispense with it how they see fit. I'll gladly answer any questions you may have.

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Am in the uk and from New Zealand which both run similar systems. They both have a public health systems hich is accessible to all free of charge. A small number of people choose to use a private health system usually bought through insurance. At retirement the government gives a basic state pension to all which covers basic living costs but little more. Most who work pay into either a work based pension or save into a private pension. Work based pensions are partly funded by the employer. I WorkI in the nhs (the health system) so have an nhs pension that basically will give me a pension that is based on earning a percentage of my final wage for each year I work for them ( a full life's service to the nhs will generally see you retire on a pension about half of your final salary).

I find the different health systems I read of on here more baffling than the pensions and when I read of the struggle with insurance companies funding treatments it does make me feel glad for the simplicity of the nhs system despite its many flaws. Interested to hear others systems and opinions.


maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

another Canadian ....and I have retired....I retired early from teaching because of my cancer diagnosis. Just to add to all the great info above....I buy supplemental health care benefits through my teachers pension plan.I pay about $2500.00 for my husband and myself per year. This gives us dental coverage, vision coverage, and alternative treatments like massage therapy. They also provide travel insurance.

I find the universal health care of our system quite good. When I was in active treatment there was never a chemo or a surgery that I could not have for free. If the chemo was not supposed to be covered my onc would do her magic dance and somehow it became available.

The old age benefits are adequate but one surely is not flying south :) for the winter.....


Posts: 11
Joined: Dec 2012

I worked in Switzerland for par of my career. There the have a government retirement payment and companies are required to offer a pension. With mandatory health care insurance paid by you while working and by your home town when young, poor sick or retired; it's far mor civilized than the US system. Insurance covers everything and premiums vary only on age , not health or history. Over the last 10 years the Swiss have been Trying to increase the individual's saving and to create a personal savings contribution to retirement income.

The bottom line, you retire very nicely in Switzerland with your public and private pension. Personal savings make it very comfortable.

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