European Pension Comparison: Sweden

Pension Comparison

Image of pensioners sitting overlooking the beach. Credit: Kekyalyaynen/

EWN today takes a look at European state pensions, how they differ from country to country and whether they are better than the UK or Spain.

In Sweden, eligibility for the state pension depends on an individual’s total income earned throughout their working life in Sweden.

According to, this pension includes several components, such as income pension, income pension complement, premium pension, and guarantee pension, and is paid out for as long as the individual lives.

Moreover, state compensation for the pension is also provided during parental leave, study with study grants, compulsory military service, sickness or activity compensation, and unemployment benefits.

Retirement Age In Sweden

The minimum retirement age for state pension benefits in Sweden has been increasing. As of 2020, it was set at 62, with scheduled increases to 63 in 2023 and 64 in 2026. The minimum age to receive the guarantee pension will also rise from 65 currently to 66 in 2023 and then to 67 in 2026, writes MBWL International.

From 2026, the state retirement ages will be adjusted in line with a target age, which will automatically increase based on the rise in the average life expectancy in Sweden, reviewed annually. The employment protection age has also been raised from 67 to 68 in 2020, with a further increase to 69 in 2023.

These changes are part of amendments to Sweden’s social security law to accommodate demographic shifts and economic factors​​​​.

Average State Pension Amount In Sweden

Reportedly the maximum guarantee pension for a single male pensioner was approximately SEK 9,000 (€785.80) per month before tax. The Swedish pension system includes a basic payout known as the ‘guaranteed pension,’ occupational pensions, and private savings.

The exact amount a retiree receives can vary based on age and contributions over time. It’s important to note that these figures are subject to change due to economic conditions and individual circumstances​​​​.

Unique Policies Of State Pension In Sweden

AP2 states that Sweden’s pension scheme is acclaimed for its financial robustness and innovative design, which takes into consideration both economic and demographic changes

Initiated in the early 2000s, the revamped pension system is designed such that future pensions will be calculated based on the income an individual earns throughout their career. A key characteristic of this system is its automatic balancing feature, or ‘brake’, which moderates pension adjustments in scenarios where financial liabilities outstrip assets

The system maintains its balance and financial soundness by utilizing a balance ratio (BR), safeguarding the pension scheme against economic and demographic shifts.

Sweden’s Comparison With UK And Spain

Statistics produced in October by Almond Financial gave the following European comparisons, known as the European Pension Breakeven Index. The study looked at 30 countries, their average monthly pensions balanced against the average monthly living costs, based on the recipient being mortgage free.   

European Ranking Country Monthly Pension Monthly Living Costs Percentage Above/Below Breakeven Point
1 Spain €2,625.55 (£2,287.24) €644.35 (£561.43) 407.40%
16 UK €920.74 (£802.32) €789.66 (£688.04) 116.61%
17 Sweden €809.51 (£705.63) €813.58 (£709.01) 99.52%


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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.