Countries around the world operate their social welfare systems very differently from each other. As noted above, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of assuming that other countries’ social security systems will be similar to the UK system, when instead:

(1)insurance may be:

(a)mandatory – state provided;

(b)mandatory supplementary – usually with a choice of provider (e.g. a German Ersatzkasse, Australian superannuation);

(c)voluntary or optional (e.g. UK state second pension up to 5 April 2016);

(d)non-existent (other than privately, e.g. in South Africa);

(e)of little value in Western terms (e.g. in most less developed countries);

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