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Lazy Swedes face pension poverty

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00:00 CEST+02:00
Planning on leaving the rat race, putting your feet up in your little summer house by the sea, and living off the fruits of your hard-earned pension? Time to think again. This week brought grim news for the pensioners of the future, but anyone already in the autumn of their life can afford to feel a little smug.

For according to Tuesday's Aftonbladet, there is a pensions crisis in the offing. Over a million Swedes will have to scrape by on just 10,000 crowns a month when they retire, a study by the National Social Insurance Board has shown.

And according to Aftonbladet, the reason for this is that your average Swede is just not working hard enough. Swedes' tendency to study until their late twenties, and to retire before their sixtieth birthdays is apparently not leaving them enough time to save for their dotage.

Things are going to have to change, according to economics professor Magnus Henreksson, predicting that the average retirement age will have to rise to 69.

"The only solution is to start working earlier instead of spending so long at college, and to continue working past the age of 58, rather than retiring to the golf course," he told Sveriges Radio's Ekot programme.

But even though granny might be hard up, she's a whiz behind the wheel, according to Friday's Svenska Dagbladet. Today, a million Swedes over the age of 65 have driving licenses, but researchers estimate that this figure will double by 2024. Researcher Hjalmar Strömberg told the paper that it was important that more women over the age of 75 continued to drive.

"Older women are fantastic drivers, and women of all ages are better drivers than men," he said. Controversial.

Helping older people to stay on the road for longer was important for their quality of life, Strömberg said, but too many pensioners were being forced off the road too early.

"Older people shouldn't have to stop driving just because they have problems with, for instance, night vision," he continued, suggesting instead a system where driving licenses were issued with conditions attached, such as a ban on driving at night.

If the wrinklies are going to stay behind the wheel, then they might like to think about investing in a pair of Ray-Bans. Cataracts have always blighted the lives of senior citizens, but with an ageing population more people than ever before are being affected by the eye disease.

"It's an enormous problem worldwide," Per Söderberg from St Erik's Eye Hospital told Svenska Dagbladet. He said that even young people needed to wear sunglasses to filter out dangerous UV rays, in order to reduce the risk of eye problems in old age.

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