Problem no. 1: Retirement provision
For the third year in a row, Swiss voters see retirement provision as the biggest challenge facing Switzerland. The Credit Suisse Worry Barometer reveals that all population groups agree.
Retirement provision is consistently the number-one concern
Over the past three years there has been a steady increase in anxiety about retirement provision. There is clearly an urgent need to stabilize the first and second pillars. This was the top concern of 45% of Worry Barometer respondents in 2018, and of 44% of respondents the previous year. In 2019, 47% of respondents named retirement provision as their chief concern.
Different methods – the same results
The research institute gfs.bern poses different kinds of questions. Closed-ended questions provide respondents with a list of potential problems and ask them to select the five that are most urgent. The figure of 47% cited above is based on these kinds of questions. Yet even when respondents were asked open-ended questions, that is, when they were allowed to answer freely rather than choosing from a list of possibilities, the issue of retirement provision still ranked at the top – although "only" 41% named it as it the number-one problem. Since it was possible to list five problems, the figures add up to more than 100%.
When respondents were asked to limit themselves to the one problem that most urgently needed to be solved, retirement provision still came out on top with 16%.
regard retirement provision as Switzerland's most urgent problem.
Responses by age and place of residence: Differences were small
Whatever the respondents' age or place of residence – whether they live in a rural area, a suburb or a city – retirement provision is consistently the number-one issue.
It is a particular concern for 40- to 65-year-olds, as well as for people over age 65. In both of those groups, 52% identify retirement provision as the most important problem facing Switzerland. Yet young people, too, are not free of concerns about financial security in their later years; 35% mention the issue of retirement provision – the same percentage that express worries about the environment and the climate.
The situation is similar when it comes to place of residence. People who live in rural areas are most concerned about retirement provision, with 53% viewing the need to stabilize the first and second pillars as the biggest problem that Switzerland has to tackle at present. But those who live in the suburbs and cities on average express almost as much concern; there 47% of respondents worry about the future of retirement provision.
Retirement provision: Reforms that have failed, have been implemented or are still under way
Concern about financial security in retirement is growing, just as the Federal Council is seeking reforms. After rejecting the Retirement Provision 2020 reform in 2017, the voters approved the Federal Act on Tax Reform and AHV Financing (TRAF) in May 2019. This temporarily alleviated some of the AHV's financial problems. Yet no one denies that comprehensive reform is urgently needed.
The AHV 21 bill is currently being drafted. The Federal Council wants the law to take effect in 2022, with the goal of assuring AHV funding until 2030. This will require the consent of the voters in a referendum.
Interest in politics is growing; trust is declining
The 2019 Worry Barometer reveals other striking trends: While interest in politics has reached a record level of 74%, trust in politicians is on the decline. Forty-six percent of respondents believe that politicians, the government and administration frequently fail to deliver when it comes to crucial issues. According to the study's authors, the public is losing trust in politicians because they have been unable to achieve proposed reforms in recent years, among other things.