Pensions and other financial support

Last updated: 24 8 2021

About Sweden – an orientation about Swedish society.

This text is about your pension. It describes the retirement age in Sweden and explains how you can receive your pension from several countries at the same time and that you may be entitled to a survivor’s pension when a close family member dies.

It also describes how you can influence the size of your future pension and includes a few examples of what your pension might be when you retire.

  • Rights and the elderly

    You are entitled to a good life throughout your life. You are entitled not to suffer discrimination because of your age. You are also entitled to good health. You are entitled to social interaction, to an income and to security, regardless of how old you are. You are entitled to participate in society and to feel that you are in control of your life.

    In Sweden, a healthy older person can live an active and meaningful life for many years.

    Just as during other periods in your life, support and help are available when you grow old. This is known as care for the elderly and is part of the Swedish welfare state.

Example: Kerstin and Lennart are going into retirement

Kerstin is 67 and is about to retire. She has worked as an assistant nurse for a large part of her life. She also worked part-time in a shop, and was unemployed for a few years. She has three children, and when they were small, she did not work, as she was home looking after them. During those years, she received a parental allowance instead of a salary. When Kerstin went back to work, her salary was not as high as her colleagues. They had worked during the years that Kerstin was at home looking after her children. The difference in pay came to several thousand krona per month. Now Kerstin is worried that the pension she is going to get when she retires will not be enough to cover her costs for food, rent and bills every month. She may have to apply for a housing supplement.

Lennart is also 67 years old. He has been the director of a large company for many years and has been paid a generous salary. Lennart also has three children, but he continued working when they were small. He has received a salary from his employer throughout his working life. Lennart is not worried about whether he will have enough money when he retires. He is looking forward to an active life as a pensioner and plans to do a lot of travelling and playing golf.

You can influence the size of your pension

Your pension is the money your receive when you get older and stop working. Pension systems work very differently in different countries.

The money in your pension can come from several different sources. The biggest share usually comes from the state and is known as the public pension. Another share can be from the employers that you have had. That part is called occupational pension. You can also save money towards your own pension, which is known as pension savings. Together, these different shares make up your total pension.

Everyone who works and lives in Sweden is entitled to a public pension, but the size of that pension varies. It depends, among other things, on how high your salary is when you work and for how many years you work. Each additional year you work increases the size of your pension. The size of your pension also depends on whether you have an employer who pays into an occupational pension for you and whether you save towards your pension yourself.

In general, women have lower pensions than men. This is due to several things, including the fact that salaries are often lower in professions in which more women work, that there are more women than men who work part-time and that women use more of their statutory parental leave. Women are also usually the ones who look after children and family members when they are ill.

If you live with a partner and one of you will receive a lower pension than the other, there are various ways to compensate for that. For instance, you can start a private pension savings scheme for the person who earns less.

A figure in the form of a triangle showing three types of pension in Sweden: Public pension, Occupational pension and Private pension.
  • Questions to think about

    How does the pensions system work in the country or countries where you lived previously?

    What do you think your financial situation will be like when you retire?

Retirement age

There is an age range within which you yourself can decide when to retire and begin receiving pension payments. The earliest you can retire is when you are 62, and you are entitled to work until you are 68. You can also continue working after you have turned 68 if you and your employer agree about it. The later you choose to begin receiving your pension, the higher the monthly payments will be. Since the average lifespan in Sweden is increasing, the lowest age at which you can begin receiving your pension will be raised. The same applies for the age until which you are entitled to work. If you have your own business, you are your own employer and can therefore decide for yourself when to stop working.

Pension payments from several countries

If you have lived or worked in other countries, you may be entitled to a pension from those countries. If the country is within the EU/EEA, or if it is a country that Sweden has an agreement with, the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten) can help you apply for that money. Inform the Swedish Pensions Agency which countries you have worked in.

How big will your pension be?

Below are four examples of how much you might receive in monthly pension. These examples are based on you having had one employer who has paid taxes and employer contributions for your salary and has also paid into an occupational pension.

  • You were born in 1985. You arrived in Sweden in 2015 and began working part-time in 2023. When you turn 68, you will have been working in Sweden for 30 years. During those years, your average salary will have been 15,000 krona a month. When you retire, you will receive around 10,000 krona a month before tax.

  • You were born in 1965. You arrived in Sweden in 2015 and began working in 2018. When you turn 68, you will have been working in Sweden for 15 years. During those years, your average salary will have been 25,000 krona a month. When you retire, you will receive around 10,000 krona a month before tax.

  • You were born in 1985. You arrived in Sweden in 2015 and began working in 2018. When you turn 68, you will have been working in Sweden for 35 years. During those years, your average salary will have been 30,000 krona a month. When you retire, you will receive around 16,000 krona a month before tax.

  • You were born in 2000. You arrived in Sweden in 2019 and began working in 2020. When you turn 68, you will have been working in Sweden for 48 years. During those years, your average salary will have been 35,000 krona a month. When you retire. you will receive around 22,500 krona a month before tax.

If you have not lived in Sweden for very many years when you retire, you will receive a lower pension or none at all. You can then apply for extra financial support, such as a housing supplement and income support for the elderly from the Swedish Pensions Agency.

Pension when a close family member dies

If a close family member dies, you may be entitled to a type of pension known as a survivor's pension. Survivor's pension is part of the public pension and is made up of child pension, survivor's support, adjustment pension and widow's pension. In order for a Swedish survivor's pension to be paid out, the person who has died (the deceased) must have worked or lived in Sweden at some point. The size of the survivor's pension is determined by the size of the pension that the deceased would have received.

You do not need to apply for a survivor's pension when a close family member has died. The Swedish Pensions Agency is always informed when someone dies and will determine whether there are any survivors who are entitled to a survivor's pension.