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Thursday, November 25, 2004

National pension - they told you so

Hankyoreh reports that the national pension (kungmin yôn'gûm) funds are running out much sooner than expected now that the interest rates of bonds (ch'aekwôn), to which 90% of the pension funds are invested, are falling and falling. The pension payments have been raising constantly and the pension sums to be later paid falling.

Being unable to think in terms other than what I'd come to know about pensions, I was under the impression back then when the national pension system was extended to cover also the urban self-employed that it'd be a permanent pension system, but I've come to realize little by little that it's been mostly a sort of a enormous investment plan of the government.
But the people that I talked with already new it many years ago. (The following excerpts are from my notes.)
A restaurant-keeping woman:
I ask her about the pension system? (kungmin yôngûm), which is introduced in today's papers. (See especially Chosôn Ilbo 30.1. for a detailed explanation.) I show her the article in today's Tong-A Ilbo. – Chal mollayo... I've seen about in TV and papers, but I don't know any better. – Received any official notice from the authorities? – No. (She brings the food and takes her own newspaper to see the news I mentioned.) – Seems like people like us would be getting some benefits (hyet'aek). – Has there been any system like this before? – No. There's been private/individual medical insurance, cancer insurance etc… In places like this income can vary greatly from day to day unlike in the more established professions like lawyer. This system seems to be for bigger things than mine is. One cannot know whether it will be beneficial or not… Here you can get [social benefit] money like 40-50 000 won. bag of wheat flour or bag of rice from the dong office. The system is not yet very developed. Isn't it very developed in Finland and New Zealand?
A hairdresser:
How about the kungmin yôngûm like in this piece of news? – There are those systems, but you cannot trust the government (chôngbu). My husband (uri ajŏssi) paid money to a fund (chaedan) while he was working (hoesae tanil ttae), but when he went to collect the money after he had quit the job (no longer didn't work) he was told that there's no money any more. You cannot know how these money is being taken care of or you cannot know if it's any good (beneficial).
A restaurant keeper:
Dinner in Mokp'o Siktang. Ajumma asks why I haven't come around for a long time. Her ônni is also here, and their mother, who sits on the maru and smokes cigarettes. How about this kungminyôngûm (showing her the Chosôn Ilbo article)? You don't need that kind of a thing. Nararûl mot midôyo… Toni ôbsôbôrilkka poa... [Can't trust the government. Afraid that they'll waste the money.] It has happened before that money has been gone (wasted or something) from places like that.
A small restaurant:
To Wangjokpal at 19.15 o'clock. The couple is alone. – How about this kungmin yôngûm? – Its administration has gone wrong (he probably refers to some other pension system) and the money has disappeared / they've run out of money. As he says it, it doesn't seem to be compulsory to them or at least they don't take it as such. – Kaiphasil saenggagi issûseyo? – Chigûmûn ôbsôyo.. [Are you going to subscribe to the pension? Not at the moment.]
A restaurant-keeping woman:
It's a burden (pudam) now that the economy is difficult. People don't trust government systems like that. They have previous experiences about paying money to a fund but then ending up getting nothing. They are afraid that the money they've paid have gone somewhere else. (She tells of her own employment, when she was in some system, paid money and got something back after a certain period, and that was all.)

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