Poverty trap retirement – economy – SZ.de

Regarding age, there are two attitudes among workers. Some worry about whether they will have enough money in retirement – and enough care. The others repress this question with a bad conscience. Of course, everyone is at least partially responsible for their own destiny. However, both those who care for them and the displaced deserve to be addressed by politics with something as central as old age security. But that didn’t happen during Angela Merkel’s long chancellery, now it’s up to the new government to decide.

A few days after the election, in which Angela Merkel did not run after 16 years, official statisticians released a forecast: in 2035, a quarter of people over 67 and over will live in Germany – 20 million instead of 16 today the number of employees. How to finance decent pensions?

This development was predictable. But under Merkel’s Chancellery, which lasted for half a generation, politicians did little to react. Only three things stand out positively: The retirement age at 67, because a society that lives longer must work longer. And higher pensions for the disabled and the basic pension for low wages, because both groups are often poor. However, the smaller coalition partner passed all three, in part against Merkel’s Union. The Chancellor owed the Germans the big answer to the future question of old age security.

His predecessor Gerhard Schröder showed more ambition. The SPD chancellor has slowed down the increase in pensions due to increasing aging. The pension gaps are to be filled with a state-funded Riester pension. The first part worked, Schröder saved employees significantly higher payments into the pension fund. The Riester pension, on the other hand, is well intentioned, but poorly done. Three quarters of citizens have not signed any of the contracts, which are often expensive and unprofitable. Low wages are almost 90 percent without riest.

On average, 700 euros are missing each month

With millions of Germans, money threatens to run out in old age. For one in two people who will retire in the next few years, legal and company pensions are far from the same as their previous standard of living. On average, 700 euros are missing each month. Many people will be afraid of old age, also because of the higher rents. It is a situation that a rich country should not accept.

Old age insurance needs a triple update by the new government. At Riester, you need a cost-effective standard product. And the state should organize itself so that the money mainly goes into stocks and real estate. Otherwise, too little will go to older retirees. As soon as there are good Riester contracts – but only then – the State can oblige to take precautionary measures. Because without such contracts, most people cannot compensate for the shortcomings of the statutory pension.

Remarkably, most of these ideas were already pursued by the person who invented the subsidized offer. When then Labor Minister Walter Riester was preparing a profitable standard product, the financial industry threatened to boycott. Riester complied so as not to jeopardize the whole reform. While he was considering a precautionary obligation, a campaign by the opposition and the Bild newspaper erupted (“mandatory retirement”).

The new government must now be more assertive. The update also includes the fact that she is thinking about low wages. Many of them can hardly afford to save for their retirement, they need more subsidies.

The third thing that remains is the effort to stabilize the legal pension fund so that pensions do not melt because of more seniors and fewer employees. Everyone should contribute to this feat: the elderly through declining pensions, employees through increased social contributions, civil servants through the cuts that have yet to materialize – and society as a whole through subsidies. tax revenue. Yes, businesses and the wealthy who like to avoid taxes should care.

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