Follow-up study “Financial Literacy” 2023

Pension debate
Many Swiss insurees are willing to take more responsibility for their occupational pension provision. However, many also overestimate their knowledge of pensions. This is revealed by the new “VorsorgeDialog” study conducted by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. We spoke to the study lead Prof. Yvonne Seiler Zimmermann.
20. December 2023
Written by
Corinne Galliker
Communications Manager

2023 was the third year the “VorsorgeDialog” study has been published. Are the Swiss interested in retirement provision?
Yvonne Seiler Zimmermann: Yes, definitely. Interest in retirement provision is consistently high. Women’s interest increased significantly compared to last year. In general, we can say that people’s financial literacy is higher than their pension literacy. However, relatively straightforward questions are asked to test financial literacy.

How well do people understand pensions?
YSZ: Not very well. This is surprising at one level, as we had a referendum on the pension reform in September 2022. There was widespread discussion of the topic in the print and broadcast media. However, this didn’t significantly improve people’s understanding of pensions.

How willing are people to improve their own knowledge?
YSZ: Not very willing unfortunately. A third of respondents have no or only a limited understanding of their annual pension statement, for example. Disappointingly, many of them are unwilling to find out more themselves. The most common reason given is that the issue is too complex. For 37 per cent, however, the hassle factor is the main barrier. It is notable that this share increased significantly compared to the previous year.

Do people have confidence in the pension system?
YSZ: Here you have to differentiate. Respondents have little confidence that the first and second pillars will be sufficient to finance their accustomed standard of living when they retire. In line with this, 84% of those surveyed also have private pensions. On the other hand, people have a high level of confidence in their own pension funds.

What about more individuality in occupational pensions? Would insurees like to see that?
YSZ: In this year’s study, we specifically asked participants about their attitudes to increased choice and individuality and taking more responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. More choice is particularly popular when it comes to investment strategy. More than half of those surveyed are in favour of this. But many only want to choose their investment strategy if they receive proper advice or have access to a predefined choice of strategies.

Are men and women different here?
YSZ: It is interesting to note that men are actually more sceptical of the idea of being able to choose their own investment strategy than women. 28% of men don’t want to choose their own investment strategy, compared with 23% of women.

You also asked whether people with childcare responsibilities should receive better pension coverage.
YSZ: Yes we did. Nearly 6 out of 10 respondents want better coverage for a partner with childcare responsibilities. Interestingly, respondents believe this improvement should be financed by the employed person within the family rather than by insured persons in general. This shows that those affected don’t just want more choice, but are also willing to take personal responsibility for their decisions.

Yvonne Seiler Zimmermann, thank you very much for the interview. This interview was conducted by Adrian Bühler (media-work gmbh).

Yvonne Seiler Zimmermann

Institute of Financial Services Zug IFZ, Lucerne School of Business

Professor Yvonne Seiler Zimmermann has been a lecturer and project manager at the Institute of Financial Services Zug IFZ, part of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, since 2008. Among other roles, she is programme manager of the MAS/DAS in pension fund management. Her teaching and research specialisms are financial market theory and funded pension provision.

Written by
Corinne Galliker
Communications Manager