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Earlier this year I learned that Poland confiscated private pension funds and merged them into their public pension scheme to pay their debt off. I could not find any resources in any respected publication, but the links I pasted (mostly from blogs) confirm what a Polish colleague of mine told me.

The resources linked above mention a similar thing going on in Hungary; also, some Spanish friends of mine mentioned that this had been mentioned as a possibility in an unofficial radio debate.

The question is: is this the "next big thing" when it comes to fixing countries' bank accounts? Is this going to become a trend for cash strapped governments? Are we at risk of something similar happening in the UK in the long term (within the next 30 years)?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Grade 'Eh' Bacon, Nathan L, Pete B., JoeTaxpayer Nov 15 '17 at 20:45

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This is an interesting question, but I think it's not a good fit for the personal finance site. To my mind, economics.stackexchange.com is a better fit. – Peter K. Sep 12 '17 at 16:16
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    It has to be said, the answer has a big impact on my personal finance: should I put more into pensions or into "normal" funds?, etc. – mkorman Sep 12 '17 at 16:20
  • Ask the mods to migrate. That's the accepted way to do it. Do not cross-post. It's just my opinion that it doesn't belong here! Wait for others to weigh in + or -. And you might get a decent answer too. – Peter K. Sep 12 '17 at 17:09
  • Fair enough. How do I ask a moderator to do that? – mkorman Sep 13 '17 at 9:04
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    I don't believe that this would be any better for Economics.SE than here (and may be worse). A slightly better fit for Politics.SE, as it involves government action. But the big problem is that this is speculative. Is this the next big thing? Will it happen in the UK? We don't know. A stronger framing for Politics.SE would be to ask about the times that it has happened. What was the justification in Poland? What is the justification in Hungary? What is the Spanish proposal? Those are answerable questions and may show that the problem was in the pension funds not the governments. – Brythan Sep 13 '17 at 14:19
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What may happen in future is opinion based.

There are certain events that can't be foreseen. Some don't impact much, some impact more.

Given the current situation it doesn't look like UK will have similar issue.

It also high lights that retirement plan should have govt. Plans, stocks, gold etc. I.e. well diversified

  • If they were to go after (private) pension funds (which I think unlikely), I doubt it would matter how diversified your pension fund(s) is(are): if they're going to grab it/them, they'll grab the lot! – TripeHound Sep 13 '17 at 8:12
  • @TripeHound There are one of events that no can predict and difficult to plan. There is no use panicking. There are worst examples in history where money becomes worthless so whatever you save become irrelevant. – Dheer Sep 13 '17 at 14:16
  • I wasn't panicking... just commenting that if they were going to grab your pension pot, it doesn't really matter how diversified it is. Though obviously as they almost certainly won't grab the pot, it does make sense to have it diverse. – TripeHound Sep 13 '17 at 14:45
  • @TripeHound agreed. I didn't mean you or anyone specifically. General comment on things beyond control – Dheer Sep 13 '17 at 17:29
  • @TripeHound Depends on what you mean by "diversified". If you use an actual, official pension fund, then yeah it doesn't matter, but if you manage it all yourself then it does. i.e. if 10% of your "pension pot" is physical gold bars under your bed, that's a bit harder to seize than a government-backed scheme which is already under their control. – Benubird Oct 2 '17 at 10:43

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