The traffic light coalition has cleared the way for stock pensions.
This is intended to make the previous system future-proof – starting this year.
The most important questions at a glance.
Berlin – Germany is changing direction.
At least a bit.
The state pension gets support.
And from shares.
It is one of the central socio-political projects of the traffic light coalition.
The FDP in particular has put pressure on supplementing the pay-as-you-go pension with capital cover.
This year, i.e. 2023, the starting signal is to be fired.
But what does that mean exactly: How does the share pension actually work?
Are there role models for this?
Is the issue of poverty in old age with stocks off the table?
Do I still have to make private provision with ETFs?
Aren't stocks speculative?
And anyway: What are politicians planning with the statutory pension?
answers the most important questions.
Why does the pension system need support?
The statutory pension works according to the pay-as-you-go system: the younger generation pays the pension of the older generation with their contributions.
This only works if the two groups – in terms of numbers – are roughly balanced.
Or even better: when there are more young than old.
In Germany, however, demographics are having an impact.
Fewer and fewer young people have to pay for more and more old people with their contributions.
The consequence: the pension contributions increase, the pension level decreases.
The average pension for men is already around 1400 euros (West) or 1160 euros (East).
Women often get even less because of interrupted employment biographies.
How does stock annuity work?
First of all: The share pension is not there to adjust the individual pension amount upwards.
It should, if you will, help the pay-as-you-go system.
The federal government is currently subsidizing pensions with around 100 billion euros a year – and the trend is rising.
The share pension is intended to help relieve the burden on contributors.
In other words: to keep the contribution rate stable.
For this purpose, the state makes ten billion euros available to the pension insurance system every year.
The money comes from a loan - is debt-financed - and is invested through a fund in the stock market.
What remains of the return flows into the pension insurance system after deducting the interest on the loan.
So it's not about making pensioners better off.
It's about relieving future generations.
That is why the traffic light now also speaks of “generational capital”.
Generational capital instead of share pension: Minister of Finance Christian Lindner (FDP) presents the plans.
© Jörg Carstensen
Didn't politicians promise that the amount of pensions would also increase thanks to shares?
The FDP in particular wanted that. But the original concept was watered down.
The word “Aktienrente” no longer appears in the traffic light coalition agreement.
Now there is talk of getting funded – to stabilize the system.
The Liberals wanted to orient themselves more closely to Sweden – a country that, alongside Norway, is considered a pioneer in funded funding.
The contributors would have transferred two percentage points of the current contribution rate (18.6 percent) to an equity fund.
But the Berlin coalition chose a compromise.
Also because the SPD and Greens are much less enthusiastic about shares than the FDP.
How does the fund that invests the money work?
According to Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), “independent experts” are available for this.
The money goes to a foundation.
The generational capital is then to be managed by the "Fund for the financing of nuclear waste disposal" (Kenfo).
It was founded in 2017 as a public foundation to finance the nuclear phase-out.
In order to spread risks, the fund invests worldwide in the capital market.
Stocks are still subject to fluctuations, which usually balance out over time.
If there are losses, the federal government will step in.
At what point do the contributors notice the influence of the share pension?
That's going to take quite a while.
Initially, a savings phase of 15 years is planned.
From 2037, the first money should flow into the stabilization of the statutory pension.
For the contributors, this means: They continue to pay their pension contributions as usual, while the state builds up a funded support in the background.
In the statutory pension insurance changes: nothing.
The contribution rate should remain stable until 2026 and then rise to 19.3 percent.
Are ten billion euros enough to stabilize pensions?
No, all experts agree on that.
"The ten billion euros that the traffic light plans for an equity fund are no more than a drop in the ocean," said Freiburg pension expert Bernd Raffelhüschen in an interview with the Munich
The consumer portal Finanztip
lowers the thumb.
In order to prevent an increase in the pension contribution rate of one percentage point, 210 billion euros would have to be invested in the capital market.
So much more money is needed.
Finance Minister Lindner also admits this.
"We need a three-digit billion sum in the medium to long term so that the income from the share investment can have a noticeable effect on the stabilization of pension contributions and the pension level," said the FDP politician in December.
What does the share pension mean for your own provision?
It remains necessary.
The capital cover does not change the amount of the pension.
ETFs can be used to compensate for the so-called pension gap – i.e. the difference between net salary and expected pension – in old age.
This allows investors to invest small amounts of money in the capital market every month.
Also popular: company pension schemes.
The boss takes over part of the contributions.
Part of the salary flows – initially tax and social security-free – via deferred compensation into a savings contract.
The employer packs at least 15 percent on top.
For those who earn little or have a family, the Riester pension can also be worthwhile thanks to state allowances.
Are there other ways to stabilize the pension?
There are several parameters: the contribution amount, the retirement age, the pension level and the number of contributors.
Even if several economists say that there is no way around retirement at 70: Politically, this is extremely unpopular and difficult to implement.
The legislature has provided guidelines for pension levels and contribution rates (“double stop line”).
The easiest way would be to add more contributors to the system.
Pension experts see a lot of potential, especially among women and immigrants.
It would also be conceivable to let officials pay into the system.
The Freiburg pension expert Bernd Raffelhüschen demanded in the
: "No more civil servants, teachers and employees can also work as employees."
List of rubrics: © Jörg Carstensen