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South Koreans Lose Faith in State Pensions, Turn to Crypto and Stocks – Survey

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
South Koreans Lose Faith in State Pensions, Turn to Crypto & Stocks – Survey

Most young South Koreans are losing faith in the national pension system, a new survey has found – with many stating they see crypto and stocks as a better alternative.

The study found that more than three-quarters of people aged 20-39 “don’t trust” state-issued pensions.

Over half of respondents who said they were making their own pension plans claimed they were building their retirement funds with stocks and crypto.

Crypto an Alternative as South Koreans Lose Faith in State Pensions?


According to Chungnam Ilbo, the survey was conducted by the Korea Women’s Policy Institute.

The institute spoke to 1,152 people in July 2023. All respondents were “in their 20s and 30s.”

Almost 90% said their pension concerns stemmed from “worries about insurance premiums rising due to population decline.”

South Korea has the lowest birth rate in the world. The country posted a new record low of 0.72 children per woman in 2023.

This has led many to question how the National Pension Service (NPS) will be able to pay pensions in the future.

Older South Koreans already outnumber their younger counterparts. The 40-60 year-old age bracket dwarfs the 20-39 bracket.

A chart showing South Korea’s population pyramid.
South Korea’s population pyramid. (Source: Kaj Tallungs [CC BY-SA 4.0])

Crypto the Winner as NPS Fears Rise?


Over 86% of respondents also said they thought the amount of money they would likely receive from the NPS in the future would be “too small.”.

Around 83% agree they would “not be able to receive any state national pension in retirement because the NPS fund will be depleted.”

Most respondents (57%) said they had not made any retirement plans, outside of mandatory national pension contributions.

However, 498 respondents said they were already looking beyond the NPS for their retirement plans.

Employees at a branch of the South Korean National Pension Service.
Employees at a branch of the South Korean National Pension Service. (Source: OBS News/YouTube)

While many said they were choosing a mix of cash savings and personal pension programs, over 52% said they were making “investments in stocks, bonds, funds, and cryptoassets.”

Younger South Koreans have embraced crypto with great gusto. In 2022, data from the nation’s biggest exchanges showed that crypto buys from customers aged 20-39 nearly tripled in the period 2020-2022.

South Korean financial experts claim that, for young South Koreans, crypto investment is “no longer optional.”

The headquarters of the South Korean National Pension Service.
The headquarters of the South Korean National Pension Service. (Source: OBS News/YouTube)

However, as younger South Koreans lose faith in state pensions, increased crypto adoption among young people also appears to have a dark side.

The Seoul Bankruptcy Court has repeatedly warned of a rise in pre-bankruptcy “rehabilitation” claims among people aged 20-29.

The court has blamed a rise in “crypto investment” and “stock market purchases” among the young for a 31% year-on-year rise in rehabilitation applications.