Savings in times of demographic change: lessons from the German experience

Pension reforms in many developed countries make individuals shoulder a bigger share of longevity and income risks. The desired response is that individuals accumulate private assets for retirement. Whether this actually takes place, is of paramount relevance for scientists and policy makers. We take Germany as an example: Twenty years of pension reform have transformed the monolithic German pension system into a multipillar system. Formerly generous public pension benefits are gradually being reduced, whereas substantial incentives are granted to occupational and private saving schemes. Has this transition worked out? We survey the reform steps and households’ reactions: How did individuals adjust their labor market behavior? How did private and occupational pension plans take off? How do behavioral adjustments vary in the population? Most Germans adapted to the new situation. Both actual and expected retirement decisions changed and the share of households without supplementary pensions decreased from 73% to 39% in little more than a decade. This is a remarkable success. Nonetheless, households with low education, low income and less financial education did neither adjust their retirement behavior nor pick up supplementary pension plans and are thus likely to face difficulties in bridging the gap arising in future pension income.

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.

MORE ABOUT NETSPAR


Mission en strategy           •           Network           •           Organisation           •          Magazine
Board Brief            •            Actionplan 2023-2027           •           Researchagenda

ABOUT NETSPAR

Our partners

B20160708_tilburg university
B20200214_BlackRock_BLK_eng_black_rgb_small
B20200104_RailOV_logoo.original.grijswaarden
Print
B20190823_mn-logo_small
View all partners