Measuring retirement savings adequacy: developing a multi-pillar approach in the Netherlands

The Dutch pension system is highly ranked on adequacy. These rankings, however, are based on fictitious replacement rates for median income earners. This paper investigates whether the Dutch pension adequacy is still high when we take into account the resources that people really accumulate, using a large administrative data set. A comprehensive approach is followed: not only public and private pension rights, but also private savings and housing wealth are taken into account. Summed over all age- and socioeconomic groups we find a median gross replacement rate of 83% and a net replacement rate of 101%. At retirement age, 31% of all households face a gross replacement rate that is lower than 70% of current income. Public and occupational pensions each account for more than 35% of total pension annuities. Private non-housing assets account for 14% and imputed rental income from net housing wealth accounts for about 10%. Some vulnerable groups, such as the self-employed, have below average replacement rates. Results are fairly similar to results found in the UK, indicating that we should be careful in evaluating the adequacy of pensions systems on the basis of fictitious replacement rates.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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