A weird headline for a blog post, to be sure, but that’s the implication of this report from Brazil. Older men are marrying young ladies, who then become eligible for decades of government pension payments when their husbands die. This is apparently so common that it has become a large fiscal drain and politicians feel pressure for reform. It is highly unlikely that Brazil’s politicians will choose the right reform, but hope springs eternal. Perhaps if they pop some little blue pills before the debate, they’ll be willing to do something…um…manly, such as personal retirement accounts:
The widespread tendency in Brazil for men to remarry women several decades younger — called the “Viagra effect” — is undermining the country’s pension system, researchers warned Tuesday. The report, by Brazil’s National Social Security Institute (INSS), showed that a trend of men in their 60s marrying women half their age was leaving a big pool of young widows collecting benefits for much longer than anticipated. “The social security system was planned so that the wife receives her husband’s pension for only 15 years or so. With growing life expectancy and remarriages with much younger women, benefits today stretch out over 35 years,” the author of the study, Paulo Tafner, explained to AFP. He said the younger-wife phenomenon was commonly called the “Viagra effect.” …Of the separated men, 64 percent of those aged over 50 remarry women younger than them. In the 60-64 age range, the proportion is 69 percent. And the marked preference is for women aged 30 years younger. …Under current laws, when a retired man dies, his wife continues to receive his full pension until her own death. According to the INSS, 94 percent of pensions go to women. “This is a grave and serious challenge for the future of the country, and it’s going to require a reform of the pension system,” Tafner said.