International social security association

International social security association

1 Introduction

The International Social Security Association (ISSA) defines Social Security as any mandatory social protection programme that provides individuals with a source of income support when faced with “the contingencies of old age, survivorship, incapacity, disability, unemployment or rearing children”. It may also offer access to “curative or preventive medical care”.

Social security is commonly delivered through various social insurance programmes. According to Actuarial Standards Board (ASB), social insurance may include some or all of the following features:

  • It is sponsored by the Government
  • It is funded through taxes or premium paid by (or on behalf of) participants
  • It is defined by statute
  • It serves a defined population
  • Participation covers most individuals within the society or is compulsory to all

Many western counties, including the UK, finance the social insurance system on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis. In social security,PAYGrefers to an unfunded system where current contributors pay for the benefit of the current recipients. No reserves are accumulated in a PAYG system. The opposite of a PAYG system is a funded system, where contributions are accumulated and paid out later when eligibility requirements are met. This is the approach that Singapore has taken. It has a compulsory savings scheme delivered through the Central Provident Fund (CPF). The aim of the project is to explore the distinct features of the Singaporean style of social security provision.

The CPF is essentially a mandatory, public managed defined contribution system based on portable individual accounts, accepting only Singapore citizens and permanent residents as members. Under the defined contribution system, contributions are paid into the Fund by the employer and the employee, and these are invested with the proceeds from the contributions and investments being used to buy benefit schemes.

The then British colonial government launched the Central Provident Fund in 1955, which was based on a national philosophy of self-reliance rather than state welfarism. Initially, this compulsory savings scheme was solely aimed to provide working Singaporeans with a source of income for retirement. Since then, it has gradually evolved into a comprehensive social security savings scheme, which went beyond the scope of retirement support. It now also encompasses home ownership, healthcare needs, children's education, family protection and asset enhancement.

Singapore became independent from the British rule and the Federal government of Malaysia in 1965. It is enlightening to pay attention to the country's background at that time. It was a small third world economy with little nature resources. It even relied on Malaysia for water supply. It was a tiny city state with a size merely about 600 km2 and a population of fewer than 2 million. The main ethnic group was Chinese. The State was unable to provide a comprehensive welfare system and it would make sense to expect any policies introduced by Singapore government to reflect the traditional Chinese values, but also heavily influenced by the British ruling history.

The Singapore government inherited the provident fund scheme, and the fundamentals have indeed never changed: it remains a compulsory savings model, and the primary purpose is to provide financial security at old age. It promotes the value of self reliance and individual hard work, and feels that the State has neither the obligation nor the ability to intervene too much. As the Fund draws out from members' own savings, it also ensures the obligations wouldn't have passed down to future generations. Additionally, due to the traditional Chinese ethos of saving money rather than spending or borrowing, the general public seemed happy to accept what is essentially a “private savings” policy. There have never been any major confrontations or challenges to the Government.

Since independence the Singapore government started looking into ways to expand the scope of benefits to provide Singaporeans with a sense of security and confidence in their lives, as well as to strengthen a sense of citizenship and social harmony. In 1968, a proposal was made that CPF savings could be used to purchase new homes. This has proved very popular with the general public, and Singapore has gradually become the developed nation with highest home ownership rate. Figures from Statistics Singapore show that the rate stays as high as 90% since the1990s.

In addition to self reliance, CPF also promotes the value of family adherence and support. There are a number of incorporated schemes cover up to three generations, enabling members to take responsibility about themselves, their siblings, children and parents. On the other hand though, all these responsibilities remain primarily within one family only. They are not passed on to the State or other social groups. Since 1980s, the scope and benefits of the CPF have been gradually widened up to allow members to draw the savings for hospital costs, to purchase protections to families through its insurance programmes and to enhance assets through a number of investment options.

The insurance component of CPF can be seen as an indirect way that goes beyond self-reliance and family support and extends to social fairness. By pooling together resources nationwide, it ensures those who are most disadvantaged in society can be covered properly for basic life essentials such as housing and medication.

The following section, Section 2, discusses the structural set up of the Fund. Section 3 considers the scope and benefits that the Fund provides. Section 4 examines its investment strategy, and the impact of the recent credit crunch to the Fund. Section 5 provides an analysis of the CPF from an international prospective and compares and contrasts the scheme with the PAYG model applied in the social security system of the UK. Section 6 lays out the conclusions drawn from the analysis performed.

2The CPFScheme structure

As a fully funded defined contribution scheme, it requires mandatory contributions from both the employer and the employee. Contributions are paid from employees' ordinary and additional monthly wages, subject to the wage amount exceeding S$50 per month. There is also an upper bracket which currently stands at S$4,500 per month for standard ordinary wages. The rates payable for wages within this bracket are specified by the Government and are subject to regular reviews. The payable rates vary between employees of different age groups, with standard rates applying for all employees under 50 years and reduced rates for older groups. The scheme has separate rules to cover Singapore permanent residents and self-employed Singaporeans.

Figure 2.1 displays the historical standard contribution rates over the period between 1967 and 2006, by the employer and employee. The employer usually has a smaller share in the overall contribution. Interestingly, the employer's portion mirrored very closely with the general economic cycle that Singapore has experienced, which implies that the Government has effectively used the rates as a tool to maintain macroeconomic stability. For example, during the boom period in 1970s and first half of 1980s, the employer rates were raised to 25% at its peak to cushion rising inflation. On the other hand, when the economy was in challenging times between 1985 and 1987, and more recently during the Asian economic crisis in late 1990s, the rates were brought down significantly as a measure to ease the burden of corporate and to stimulate the economy. This system therefore helped Singapore to cope with the economic fluctuations while keeping the wage system flexible and competitive.

The Government has a supportive function in the Scheme, in a sense that it guarantees the payout of all savings at promised rate of return, regardless of actual investment performance. It exempts all savings income from tax liabilities, although in the event of the investment performance exceeding the rate of return at payout, the difference would be implicit tax revenue to the Government. In addition, providing there is a budget surplus available, the Government also provides direct subsidies on a number of the programmes, notably in the area of medical care, to make services more affordable and accessible to needy Singaporeans.

The CPF Board is the trustee of the Fund. Its function is to protect and preserve the value of savings for all members. The board committee comprises an equal number of representatives who stands for the Government, employers and employees respectively, making sure the interests of all stakeholders are adequately looked after.

Members' contributions go into three accounts: Ordinary Account, Medisave Account and Special Account. The ratio of contribution is 66.67% for the Ordinary Account, 18.84% for the Medisave Account and 14.49% for the Special Account.Each account serves for a specified range of purposes and earns different rates of interest guaranteed by the Government.

The Ordinary Account operates in a way similar to a bank account. Monies can be used to buy a home, pay for CPF insurance, investment and education.

The Medisave Account is comparable to a savings account where the balance can be used for hospitalisation and approved medical insurance.

The Special Account is designed as a long term savings account for old ages and contingency purposes or investment in retirement-related financial products.

The rate of interest is set based on the 12-month fixed deposit and month-end savings rates of the major local banks and revised every three months. At the moment, the Government guarantees a minimum risk-free rate of 2.5% per annum for Ordinary Account balances. Savings in Medisave and special accounts are pegged to the 12-month average yield of the 10-year Singapore Government Security plus 1% per annum. The Government will maintain a 4% per annum floor until 2009. In addition, as an incentive for people to leave money in CPF accounts, the first S$60,000 in combined balances, with up to S$20,000 from Ordinary Account, are entitled to an additional 1% per annum bonus rate.

A Retirement account is set up for members reaching the age of 55. A “minimum sum” is required to set aside in this account. This can be transferred from Ordinary and/or Special Accounts. The remaining balance from these accounts can then be withdrawn as a lump sum. This minimum sum is used to provide members with a monthly income to support a modest standard living during retirement. The balance in the Retirement Account earns the same rate of interest as Special or Medisave Account, and members can start receiving income streams from Government specified retirement age, which currently stands at 62.

3.1 Retirement

3.1.1 Minimum Sum Scheme

Since the inception of the CPF, saving for retirement has always remained as the core principle. Members are only allowed to withdraw their CPF savings (apart from withdrawals for other approved scope and benefits) when they reach 55. Even then, they need to set aside a lump sum in their Retirement Account, which is called the Minimum Sum, to fund a monthly income that they will start to receive from CPF Board from 62 (the draw-down age) until the Minimum Sum is exhausted. Alternatively, they can use the Minimum Sum to buy a life annuity from an approved financial institution.

The level of Minimum Sum is regularly reviewed to take into account the inexorable trends of rising longevity. It was set at S$80,000 in 2003 and will gradually rise to $120,000 (in 2003 dollars) in 2013. This equates to an average of approximately 4% real annual increase. The actual amounts are adjusted yearly for inflation.

Another way to tackle the issue of rising longevity is through deferred retirement. Currently, members are encouraged to voluntarily defer their monthly payout for it to last longer. With the recent introduction of the Re-Employment Act, the CPF draw-down age will be progressively raised starting from 2012, to reach 65 in 2018, and eventually to 67.

Members are able to make top ups into their loved family members' Retirement Account, to help build up their minimum sum. This reflects the principle of family support which the Singapore society has always believed in and put a high value upon.

3.1.2 CPF Life Scheme

CPF Life is a new initiative which is currently being proposed to roll out to replace the Minimum Sum Scheme. CPF Life is an improvement over the Minimum Sum Scheme in the sense that with Minimum Sum Scheme payouts are likely to exhaust after about 20 years. CPF Life is of a perpetuity nature thus provides a monthly income for life. Depending on the year of birth, the member will receive the payment as follows:

Born in

1947 or





1954 or



payout from

Month after






CPF Life offers four different plans, allowing members to take care of their relatives as well as themselves. The spouse or children are given the opportunity to receive a lump sum (bequest) upon the member's death. The lump sum is the savings used to join CPF Life less monthly payouts already received. This once again reflects the value of family adherence the Government wants to promote. This also makes CPF Life not only an annuity scheme, but also with some features of a whole life assurance.

On joining CPF Life the member gets the defaulted Life Balanced Plan, which provides the balanced level of payments with bequest for beneficiaries. The member is free to switch to Life Income Plan which only offers the annuity payments to the member himself. At the other end of the spectrum Life Basic Plan is the most beneficiary-friendly. Life Plus Plan is also available which offers proportionally higher payout for the member and less for beneficiaries.

Under defined contribution system there are four factors which determine the pension income available at retirement. These are:

  • the contributions level
  • the investment returns. The rate of return in CPF is guaranteed by the Government.
  • the charges deducted. For CPF there is no explicit charge. However as mentioned in Section 2 that if the investment performance exceeds the rate of return at payout, then the difference would be implicit tax revenue to the Government.
  • the annuity rate at retirement (ie the amount of income that can be generated per unit amount of capital).

The table below gives an illustration of the likely monthly payout level from each of the four plans, assuming a male member who is 55, with a Retirement Account balance of S$67,000.

Life Basic Plan

Life Balanced Plan

Life Plus Plan

Life Income Plan

Monthly Payout

from 65

S$530 to S$580

S$570 to S$620

S$600 to S$660

S$640 to S$700

The basic principle behind the above illustration calculations is that the expected present value of premium equals to the expected present value of future annuity benefits. Actuarially the relationship can be represented as follows:

P=X 10l a55(12)

Where P represents the proportion of the Fund from Retirement Account allocated to buy annuity (as opposed to setting aside for bequest).

10la55(12) is the 10-year deferred whole life annuity benefit paying to a member currently aged 55, assuming payment made monthly in arrears. The interest rate assumption used in the illustration varies between 3.75% to 4.25% per annum.

X is the annualised annuity amount.

Payouts are subject to adjustment taking into account actual interest rates and mortality experience. The mortality experience concerns the likelihood of death at various ages. If more people live longer, the monthly payout may be lower. The interest rates are set in a way to accommodate inflationary impact and to reflect the expected investment performance.

3.2 Healthcare

The Singapore government has introduced three layers of insurance to cover the medical and hospitalisation needs of its people.

The CPF Medisave Account was introduced in 1984 to help Singaporeans meet the cost of hospitalisation. Similar to the Retirement Top Up Scheme, as a measure to promote the value of family adherence, members are also allowed to use their Medisave savings to support the medical and hospitalisation needs of their loved family members.

The second layer of insurance is covered by MediShield and ElderShield programmes. According to Ministry of Health (MOH), MediShield is a low cost catastrophic illness insurance scheme designed to help members meet medical expenses from major illnesses, which could not be sufficiently covered by their Medisave balance. MediShield is expected to cover up to 80% of one's large medical bill.

ElderShield is an affordable severe disability insurance scheme which provides basic financial protection to those who need long-term care, especially during old age. It provides a monthly cash payout to help pay the out-of-pocket expenses for the care of a severely-disabled person. Premiums for both MediShield and ElderShield may be paid from Medisave Account savings.

The third layer of safety net is met by Medifund scheme. Medifund is an endowment fund set up by the Government to help needy Singaporeans who are unable to pay for their medical expenses, despite Medisave and MediShield coverage. Set up in April 1993 with an initial capital of S$200 million, the Government will inject capital into the Fund when budget surpluses are available.

3.3 Home Ownership

As showed in Figure 1.1, Singapore enjoys high home ownership rate. This is achieved by the effective use of CPF savings and direct subsidy from the Government.

CPF Ordinary Account savings can be used to buy a home under the CPF housing schemes. The savings can be used for full or part payment of the property, and to service the monthly mortgage payments. If the property is an Housing & Development Board (HDB) built flat, the savings can also used to buy insurance under the Home Protection Scheme to ensure the home won't be lost because of lack of repayment arising from serious illnesses or long term disability.

Public housing in Singapore is not generally considered as a sign of poverty or lower standards of living. The majority of the residential housing developments in are publicly governed and developed and about 82% of Singaporeans live in such properties. The Government provide significant subsidies in the development of these housing estates which results in the property price being significantly cheaper in the cost to size ratio, compared to privately owned and developed properties.

The Government also subsidises the housing cost through giving out grants credited directly to citizens' CPF account. The grants cover both low and middle income groups, and can offset up to around 40% of the price of property, which makes owning an HDB home within easier reach to Singaporeans of all social backgrounds.

3.4 Asset Enhancement

CPF members may invest their Ordinary and Special Account balance under Central Provident Fund Investment Scheme (CPFIS), subject to leaving aside the specified amounts in the accounts. Investment companies and products have to be admitted by CPF Board in advance, and members are reminded to exercise prudence and care when investing.

To make Singaporeans a share-owning society and give Singaporeans a greater stake in the country, Singaporean CPF members were able to buy State-owned Singapore Telecom (SingTel) shares at discounted price under the Special Discounted Share Scheme.

4Investment strategy and coping with credit crunch

Cruz (2009) argues that the CPF is one of the few major pension funds which survived the credit crunch well. Unlike many others which are invested heavily in global equities, the CPF are invested only in risk-free Special Singapore Government Securities yielding up to 5% per annum and guaranteed by the Singapore government, hence are shielded from the risks and volatility in capital markets.

Furthermore, of its investable assets, the majority (S$141.33 billion) went into “special issues” of government securities. These special issues are floating rate bonds issued specifically to the CPF Board to meet its interest obligations. They do not have quoted market values. The interest rates for the securities are pegged to the rates at which the Board pays interest to members of the CPF.

About S$8.57 billion was invested in “advance deposits” which are deposits through the Monetary Authority of Singapore to purchase special issues of Singapore government securities and meet CPF members' withdrawal requirements. The interest rate on the advance deposits is pegged to the rate at which the Board pays interest for ordinary account.

As of December 2008, CPF almost tripled its allocation to securities of longer term maturity (with maturity of more than five years). In the same period, CPF's allocation to securities with maturity between one to five years dropped by 42% to S$46.08 billion from its 2007 level. Allocation to securities with maturity within one year also dropped by 24% to S$20.28 billion in the same period.

5Compare and contrast with UK's state provision of social security

UK's state provision of social security is delivered primarily through National Insurance Scheme. According to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), people pay National Insurance contributions (NIC) to build up their entitlement to certain social security benefits, which include:

  • State Pension
  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Widowed Parents' Allowance
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Bereavement Payment

The state healthcare services are delivered through NHS, which is funded by taxation and is free (with a small number of exceptions) to all at the point of use.

Similarities in mission:

Both the CPF and UK schemes are aimed at building a safe and fair society; fulfilling the aspirations of individuals; helping free from poverty for people in work and retirement; and increasing the economic competitiveness by helping people to work whenever they can.

Differences in system mechanism: Fully funded vs PAYG

Singapore's CPF Scheme is by and large a fully funded individual savings account, this differs significantly from the Pay-As-You-Go basis on which the UK's state scheme is operating, which is essentially a transfer of payment from the current working generation to the old pensioners and other eligible beneficiaries. National Insurance works in almost the same way as an income tax, and money paid into the pool is paid out immediately to current beneficiaries, without being saved and invested.

One drawback of the fully funded model is its exposure to inflation risk. It is very difficult to predict the average inflation rate over the life of someone's entire working period, hence no one is certain about the purchase power of the Fund at the retirement age and beyond. The only protection against inflation is the annual rate of return guaranteed by the Government, however the rate of return can only be expected to be moderate because of its risk free nature. Furthermore, since the CPF is no longer a pure retirement savings tool, the leakage of the Fund from saving for old age to many other categories could potentially make the problem worse than initially would be anticipated. The risk is relatively easy to tackle under PAYG model, as the Government could simply link the benefit to the current inflation, and where necessary propose to increase tax or cut spending on other programmes.

One advantage about the fully funded scheme is its helpfulness to the general economy. Ferrara & Tanner (1998) point out that a fully funded scheme utilise the value of money, in the sense that money is invested and therefore goes into economic cycle to help further generate wealth. On the other hand, as the PAYG is simply a transfer of wealth, it does not have this function. This implies that the PAYG system foregoes the amount of increased production and associated returns that the people in the society would have received if money were invested.

The fact that the PAYG system is an intergenerational transfer of resources also implies that the model is more exposed to the risk of an ageing population.

The age structure of a population can be presented using a ‘population pyramid'. Figure 5.1 shows the population pyramid for 2003 and for the projected age structure of the population in 2051.

Figure 5.1 Current and projected distributions of the UK population:

by sex and age, 2003 and 2051

Penneck & Lewis (2005) point out that the bulk of the distribution is seen to be moving up the age axis - the 2003 ‘bulge' between ages 30 and 45 is less marked and there are greater numbers of people aged 55 and over in 2051. From this perspective, the ageing population has been characterised as a change from a population pyramid to a population column.

Under the typical population “pyramid” structure, a relatively small amount of elderly population is supported by a larger group of employed workers. As the population ages, this will reverse the structure of the pyramid, with relatively small numbers of working people supporting a larger group of elderly people. According to Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures, in 2003 there were 3.3 people of working age for each person of pensionable age in the United Kingdom. This figure is expected to fall to 2.3 by 2051.

The “Old age dependency ratio” is the most common indicator for pension analysis, which is the number of people above pensionable age as a proportion of the number of people of working age. As illustrated in Figure 5.2, the ratio stayed just under 30 percent in 2003, and is projected to increase to around 47 percent by 2051.

In a PAYG scheme, where pensions are supported by taxing the current workers, a relatively large elderly population is a burden for a much smaller working group. This means that government and public sector pension could damage their economies unless the pension system is reformed or taxes are increased. On the other hand, Singapore's fully funded model is of a self-reliance nature with little transfer of resources between generations, it is well shielded from the ageing population risk.

Both the fully funded and the PAYG models are exposed to the risk of the increasing longevity of the elderly. Increasing longevity can be observed as a worldwide issue. Figure 5.3 and 5.4 below shows that people are in general living longer over time, regardless of gender and the economic development of societies. Perhaps the only exception applies to Russia during the 1980s and 1990s, but that could be due to a period of significant social instabilities.

Take the UK as an example. The life expectancy of males and females in UK increased by roughly 15% over the last 60 years. This trend is expected to continue. According to National Statistics, a newborn baby in 2010 has a life expectancy at birth of 77.6 years for males, and 81.5 years for females. The gap between the life expectancy of male and female is also expected to reduce, from 6.0 year in 1970s to 4.2 years in 2020s. Similar trends are present with Singaporean population.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pointed out in the White Paper (2006) that “Increasing longevity is something that should be celebrated, but it also raises significant challenges”. The main challenge posed to actuaries and other social security specialists in dealing with longevity is the highly uncertain nature of life expectancy. Oeppen and Vaupel (2002) argues that although there is no prospect of immortality, the trend for living increasingly long life looks set to continue. Life expectancy has steadily increased by a quarter of a year per year. This increase has been stable for more than one and a half centuries. Many researchers have asserted that life expectancy is close to an ultimate ceiling. Some believes that life expectancy will rise a bit and then level off at an “age ceiling”. However, there is no sign of this limit at all. If we were close to the “age ceiling”, one would expect the life expectancy of Japanese women, the group of people with the highest life expectancy globally, to be improving at a slower rate. But we can see from Figure 7.4 that the improvement is among the fastest in the world.

Regardless of nature and model, the provision of pensions always entails making a promise today, for the delivery of a stable cash flow much later in life. Promises are made on the basis of a number of highly uncertain factors, most notably the life expectancy of the scheme participants. The risk of people living longer than expected will result in a significantly higher than expected pension payout level that pension providers had originally accounted for, therefore both the fully funded model and the PAYG practice are exposed to significant longevity risk.

As seen in Section 3.1, to tackle the longevity risk, Singaporeans are encouraged to defer their retirement. The age at which members start to receive their CPF Life annuity payments are also being deferred according to the year of birth. The UK government is taking a similar approach. Under the Labour government's existing plan, the state pension age for men will rise gradually from 65 to 68 between 2024 and 2046. For women it will gradually rise from 60 to 65 over ten years from 2010. If the Conservative wins the 2010 general election, Osborne (2009) outlined that they would raise the state pension age for men to 66 from 2016, up to 10 years earlier than planned, and for women to 65 by 2020.

No policymakers from either country seem to have noticed the variations in life expectancy by social class. The ONS Longitudinal Study (2007) found that while life expectancy has risen for all social classes over the last 30 years, people in professional occupations (Social Class I) have the longest expectation of life, followed by managerial and technical occupations (Social Class II), and so on. People in unskilled manual occupations (Social Class V) have the shortest expectation of life. The findings suggest an underlying pattern of social inequalities, therefore it is worth policymakers' attention to consider differentiating the pension ages by social background, in a similar way as they are treating the gender differences.

Appendix 1 gives reference to the Registrar General's Social Class definition.

Appendix 2-5 give references to life expectancy at birth and at age 65 by social class, England and Wales 1972-2005.

6 Conclusion

Asher & Karunarathne (2001) point out that the social security provision in Singapore is almost exclusively reliant on mandatory, publicly managed, defined contribution system based on portable individual accounts. The main vehicle for this system is the CPF to which only Singapore citizens and permanent residents can be members. Since inception, it has always focussed primarily on providingwith a sense of security and confidence in their old age. With the passage of time, the scheme gradually liberalised over and beyond an old-age savings plan to a comprehensive savings, investment and protection scheme that accommodates the needs of an increasingly sophisticated and educated population. The CPF scheme, although not perfect, are widely regarded as one of the most successful social security models in Asia. Many countries, including China, have taken in ideas from the Scheme when establishing their own social security systems.

CPF is also used as monetary policy - as time gets bad, the employer portion of the contribution is decreased to ease the burden of corporate. The system has helped Singaporean government to cope with the economic upturns and downturns while keeping the wage system flexible and competitive.

Furthermore, CPF played an effective role in promoting patriotism and social unity. By incorporating programmes such as the Special Discounted Share Scheme (covered in Section 3.4), members are given privileges as the Government shares the rewards of the nation's success recognition of their contribution. It successfully creates a sense of belonging and to allow the people to sink their roots into the Singaporean soil.

The current global economic turmoil has adversely affected pension funds in many countries. Many pension funds face big challenges to meet their ongoing liabilities. In contrast, CPF members have been well protected from the excessive fluctuations in the market. The fact that they are invested only in risk-free securities and guaranteed by the Singapore government shields monies in CPF accounts from the risks and volatility in capital markets.

The CPF is based on a fully funded model, which has its distinctive advantages compared to the PAYG model. Firstly, monies contributed into the pool are invested and therefore go into economic cycle to further generate wealth. Secondly, since CPF is well shielded from the ageing population risk, in the sense that the system is primarily of a self-reliance nature rather than an intergenerational transfer of resources, therefore is not heavily affected by an increase trend of the old age dependency ratio.

One has to admit that such a fully funded model also has its weaknesses. These limitations include lack of inflation and longevity protection. The policymakers have already taken actions to address these issues, for instance, by deferring retirement ages for all population. However, is it reasonable to assume that the entire population within a society can be seen as a homogeneous group, therefore a “one size for all” policy can really be established? So far we see that the gender factor makes a difference in determining the retirement age, but should we differentiate even further? Statistical evidence presented in Section 5 suggests clear variations in life expectancy by social class, so it would not be unreasonable to argue that policies should be more tailored for such social inequalities to be accounted for.

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