“Netspar is searching for answers to tomorrow’s retirement questions”
Preface from the Board of Directors
For Netspar, 2018 was a year of looking back and looking ahead. In the four-yearly round of evaluations, both NWO and our partners gave us outstanding marks. It was a significant moment, and we are naturally very grateful, as well as proud of this acknowledgement. It gives us a basis on which to move forward: an aging society offers many challenges, while posing many questions about how to finance life after retirement. These are questions that Netspar wants to not only help find answers to, but also examine closely in relation to the future.
Thanks to input from our partners, researchers, and the NWO, we developed a challenging new research agenda, Netspar NexT, and the 2019-2023 Action Plan in 2018. We worked hard to find suitable funding for these ambitious plans and were recently able to announce to the world that our partners and sponsors had once again given broad financial support to the new program. In addition, earlier in the year, Pensioenfonds PGB joined the network, the first pension fund to become a Netspar partner.
Casper van Ewijk
General Director Netspar
Independent Role Based on Scientific Facts
Netspar’s research continues to be important for the future of retirement. The various evaluations show that much emphasis is attached to Netspar’s independent role in the pension debate as a knowledge network and to the solid basis of scientific research it can offer. We have identified short-, medium-, and long-term developments that impact the financing of retirement, but do not yet know all there is to know about them; the often vigorous debate in this regard is well served with facts from both existing and new research. Naturally, I am thinking of the effect the new pension contract will have – because it will become reality someday, even though negotiations have bogged down – as well as of developments such as life cycle planning, prolonged job proficiency, new technology, and a more flexible labor market.
Highlighting a Range of Visions
We continued in 2018 to cast our net wider in relation to our research – as exemplified, for example, by the new research projects selected. Following a methodical review by the Scientific Council, and with the recommendation of the Partner Research Council, €1 million was awarded to four three-year theme projects. In the coming years, they will provide insight into addressing procrastination in pension and retirement decisions, people’s saving behavior, the effectiveness of online tools in pension communications, and the consequences of retirement from a sociological perspective.
Every one of Netspar’s five research programs yielded excellent returns, with publications in scientific journals, industry papers, and special events, including ones at which two project groups, Flexible Retirement and Data Science, presented their initial findings. Important topics were raised and discussed at our events:
- The theme of the Netspar Anniversary Meeting was living longer; aging viewed from a biological, economic, and health perspective.
- Together with the CPB (Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) and APG, we organized a well-attended thematic conference on pensions and retirement, financial planning, and choice architecture. The webinar on this theme attracted a large number of participants, as well.
- The session on big data and data science in the pension domain, held prior to the inaugural speech of board member Marike Knoef, attracted widespread interest.
- The same applied to the conference on the implications for the pension system of differences in healthy life expectancy, where important social issues were discussed in relation to inequality in life expectancy (in good health) for various levels of income and education.
A Word of Thanks
Thanks to funding from the Dutch government, Instituut Gak, and our partners, Netspar will be able in the coming years to develop our challenging Netspar NexT research agenda and work toward the aims outlined in our 2019-2023 Action Plan. Together with our partners, we will continue to seek answers to tomorrow’s retirement questions. For this, I want to extend our sincere thanks to all our partners and the people working both actively and in the background on Netspar’s behalf.