As far as we Finnish people think, Finland for foreigners is known as the country of free money. Many of us believe, that people outside Finland believe, that if you live in Finland, the government will pay for your new car and fancy phones. We at Mom of Finland believe this whole belief system is nonsense, so let’s get down to facts.

Fact #1 Did you know, that before hashtags, # was actually a symbol meaning number. Or pound, as in weight. All the way back to the year 1853, where # is described as the “number” character in a treatise on bookkeeping.

Fact #2 Someone writing this used way too much time to fact check fact #1.

Fact #3 Finland does indeed help its citizens financially.

Fact #4 Because we are awesome.

So what do we mean by helping people financially? Since community is a big part of Finnish identity and history, and in some cases even the term communism* is thrown out there, we believe we should take care of our community. Take care of each other and care for Finland. And sometimes people in Finland can’t, for different reasons, take care of themselves financially, as well as others, so we help them. So we can be equal.

In 1937 the Finnish government founded Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, to handle Finnish people’s retirement pays. In the 1980s and 1990s, it’s role was expanded to provide social security coverage for Finnish people through the different stages of their lives. Kela provides family benefits (read more about those here, here and here), health insurance, rehabilitation, basic unemployment security, basic social assistance, housing benefits, financial aid for students, disability benefits and basic pensions.

Kela operates under the supervision of Finnish Parliament and is financed by statutory health insurance contributions from the insured and employers, and with funding from the public sector. In 2017, the State’s share of funding was 75%, while income from contributions accounted for about 19% and local government payments for about 6%.

A lot of big words there, what does it mean? That the benefits are funded by Finnish government, local governments, Finnish employers and Finnish tax payers. The fact about financing was a direct quote from, and there’s a lot more information to be found there. Including fancy diagrams and pictures.

But.. why? Let’s quote Kela here again, their mission statement is: “Kela secures the income and promotes the health of the population and supports the capacity of individual citizens to care for themselves.”

But… why? So everyone can go to school, live healthy, have a home and food on their table. Because we are awesome.

* Not the scary kind of communism**, don’t worry.
** Boo!

Photo by Christian Dubovan.

— Editors

The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.

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