Investire | June 2022

Italians have always been labelled as ants: they spend their time accumulating money in case of shortages and are unaccustomed to enjoying life like grasshoppers do.

In Aesop’s fable, the ant and the grasshopper live very different lives: the former works to accumulate food for the winter season, while the latter enjoys its summers on a tree. However, when the winter comes, the grasshopper has no home or food.  

There is also a modern version of the fable: at the beginning of winter, the grasshopper waves the ant goodbye and spends the winter in the Caribbeans.

Fables aside, what reality tells us is that Italians are indeed sensible ants, but they turn grasshoppers when it comes to supplementary welfare.

Eight Italians out of ten have never addressed the issue of pension, or better the resources they might need once they retire.

Almost seven Italians out of ten have more faith in supplementary welfare than public welfare.

Nevertheless, very few people address the issue of welfare, especially because the supply appears to be rather evasive. In fact, only one Italian out of three has discussed the issue with a financial professional.

The number of pension funds and PIPs (i.e., individual pension plans) has been growing, if less consistently than expected, despite their satisfactory results, regularly monitored by the Commissione di Vigilanza sui Fondi Pensione.

The supply and, in particular, financial advisors need to incentivize their clients’ interest in welfare. In fact, financial advisors are among the very few to have a holistic vision of both their client and their household.

Taking charge of the future requires the same effort as asset management. It requires shifting from a short-term logic to a long-term or medium-to-long-term logic.

This line of reasoning does not rule out people in their thirties and forties, who should be all the more concerned about their future – in fact, they will be increasingly less able to rely on public resources due a progressive aging of the population, longer life expectancy and negative birth rate.

In other words, less taxpayers and more recipients.

And yet, it would be enough to access the INPS website through the SPID system to acquire the awareness that currently appears to be missing.

The strategy of the ostrich, which buries its head under the ground to avoid danger, does not pay off. Making someone look farther is a challenge to be taken on with the help of a financial professional, who understands the problem and finds a solution.

The goal of maintaining the same lifestyle or being confronted with more needs is within everyone’s reach, as long as it is addressed on time and with a future-oriented gaze.

Looking farther requires the help of a professional, who in turn can rely on a serious and reliable insurance company.

The combination of a financial advisor with a holistic vision of their client and household and an excellent company is the only way to make Italians look up.

The alternative is ending up like the grasshopper of Aesop’s fable, but with no winter at the Caribbean.

Nicola Ronchetti