Author: Nelson Machado, CEO of Life, Pensions and Bancassurance, Ageas Portugal Group
February 18, 2020
In latest years, Portugal has turn into an enticing place to dwell, work and make investments. Between 2015 and 2018, the annual variety of greenfield overseas direct funding tasks within the nation grew by 161 p.c, in line with knowledge printed by the Financial Times. This was partly because of Portugal’s open angle in the direction of foreigners – the Iberian nation gives tax breaks to expert professionals and five-year residencies to non-EU residents who purchase property price €500,000 ($553,140). What’s extra, Portugal’s politically steady local weather and low crime charge make it a haven for these seeking to keep away from the financial downturn and political rigidity attributable to Brexit and the US-China commerce struggle.
But this hasn’t all the time been the case: six years in the past, Portugal’s financial system was on its knees. Amid the nation’s worst recession in virtually 40 years, unemployment climbed above 17 p.c and a whole lot of 1000’s of employees – a lot of whom have been younger and extremely expert – emigrated in the hunt for jobs abroad. Today, although, Portugal’s financial system is booming: unemployment has greater than halved to six.6 p.c; two thirds of the 500,000 individuals who left the nation through the disaster have returned; and powerful performances within the tourism, export and housing markets have contributed to an financial resurgence that many have deemed miraculous.
Still, there may be loads of work to be accomplished. Portugal is rising slower than Spain, and lately has been overtaken by Estonia, Lithuania and Slovakia when it comes to GDP per capita (see Fig 1). If Portugal is to profit from the nice instances, it wants to handle a few of its continual points.
Growing previous collectively
Portugal boasts a heat Mediterranean local weather, lovely landscapes – from mountain ranges to idyllic coastlines – and a top quality of life for the individuals who name it house. It’s no surprise that it’s the vacation spot of selection for tens of millions of vacationers yearly. However, Portugal isn’t simply generally known as a vacationer hotspot: it has additionally garnered a popularity in Europe for its ageing population.
In its 2019 World Population Prospects report, the UN outlined the dimensions of the planet’s demographic disaster: by 2050, 16 p.c of the worldwide population will be over the age of 65, up from 9 p.c in 2019. As life expectancy will increase in lots of developed international locations, fertility charges are on the decline. Consequently, the working-age population is shrinking, which could have probably enormous repercussions for financial exercise.
Portugal is on no account exempt from this international pattern. As a results of the nation’s deep recession, most of the younger individuals who didn’t to migrate selected as an alternative to delay beginning a household, inflicting Portugal’s start charge to plummet. In truth, the Portuguese National Statistics Institute predicts that by 2060, the nation will be house to simply 8.6 million individuals, down from 10.5 million in 2012. In the identical window of time, the working population – these aged between 15 and 64 – will drop from virtually seven million to simply over 4.5 million.
With an older population, Portugal could face spiralling well being prices
As properly as probably slashing Portugal’s productiveness, this could put vital pressure on the nation’s public companies. Although individuals in Portugal are likely to dwell to the age of round 80 – the typical for European international locations – additionally they expertise well being issues for many of their previous age. This compares unfavourably with individuals in different European international locations, akin to Denmark. With an older population, Portugal could face spiralling well being prices.
A window of alternative
Although the state of affairs appears alarming, it could current a brand new alternative for Portugal. Increasingly, policymakers and economists are recognising that older employees and retirees can gas financial exercise, fairly than impede it. As the World Economic Forum has identified, the aged are not as financially depending on their households as they used to be. Furthermore, they’ve the potential to be each vital contributors within the labour market and large spenders within the financial system.
Through client items and companies, older residents inject enormous quantities of cash into the ‘silver’ or ‘longevity’ financial system, which the American Association of Retired Persons defines as “the sum of all financial exercise pushed by the wants of individuals aged 50 and older… [including] each services they buy instantly and the additional financial exercise this spending generates”. A 2018 research by the European Commission valued Europe’s longevity financial system at €3.7trn ($4.09trn) in 2015 and urged it could be price as a lot as €5.7trn ($6.31trn) by 2025.
Instead of seeing Portugal’s ageing population as a burden, we must always see it as an untapped alternative. The sheer measurement of this market mustn’t be underestimated: when it comes to scale, it’s on par with discovering the financial potential of an whole nation, akin to India or China after they have been on the cusp of giant development. However, what is exclusive and unprecedented concerning the longevity financial system is that it has no borders – no nation is resistant to an ageing population, no matter its specific social, non secular or financial situations.
Given the brand new alternatives the longevity financial system will create throughout society, all industries (together with the insurance sector) should be in a position to adapt their product choices to satisfy the wants of an older population. At the identical time, we have to embrace innovation to handle the challenges offered by this main demographic shift. Before we are able to take into consideration creating merchandise for an ageing population, although, we have to put together new generations for the long run. By encouraging individuals to economize and educate themselves about monetary issues from a younger age, Portugal will aid its population put together for the challenges of an extended life and later retirement.
Moulding younger minds
We are all confronted with monetary choices day by day – whether or not managing a household funds, contributing to our financial savings or making an funding. With higher monetary literacy, residents can be extra knowledgeable concerning the choices they’re making.
In the previous few years, points of the monetary sector that have been usually thought-about to be extra obscure – akin to insurance, the inventory market and investments – have acquired better media consideration. What’s extra, it’s now a lot simpler for individuals to teach themselves on monetary subjects, because of self-help programs and the wealth of knowledge accessible on-line. This has helped to demystify these ideas.
Improved monetary literacy has advantages for society as a complete. When a rustic has excessive ranges of monetary literacy amongst its residents, it’s extra more likely to have a wholesome financial system. It may additionally have a extra engaged citizens, as its residents will higher perceive choices made round fiscal and financial coverage. There is little question that monetary literacy is likely one of the key pillars for constructing resilience in at this time’s society – it ought to be a fundamental necessity for each particular person, irrespective of their age.
With that mentioned, the earlier individuals begin to develop their monetary literacy, the higher. The OECD recommends integrating monetary training into the varsity curriculum to assist individuals develop good monetary habits from a younger age. At Ageas Portugal Group, we imagine that bettering younger individuals’s monetary understanding early on will give them the instruments they should face life’s challenges. As a nation, Portugal has made vital steps in the direction of this, implementing initiatives such because the National Plan for Financial Education and introducing monetary literacy as considered one of its citizenship training topics.
However, there may be nonetheless an extended option to go. Although the necessity for better monetary literacy is apparent, it’s nonetheless a tough concern to handle. That’s why Ageas Portugal Group has helped discovered Ori€nta-te, a contest that teaches younger individuals in Portugal methods to save and put together for the long run. It introduces them to subjects akin to family funds administration, expenditure and earnings, exhibiting them methods to formulate financial savings methods to allow them to obtain their monetary objectives. Put merely, the competition rewards younger individuals for studying as a lot as they’ll about monetary merchandise.
Ori€nta-te was so successful that it’s now in its second version. The enormous quantity of enthusiasm the competition has acquired within the college group proves that monetary literacy doesn’t must be a chore to study. In truth, it ought to be made as participating as potential. After all, few different topics have such a profound bearing on the remainder of college students’ lives.