State pensions fail to cover care home costs for 80% of pensioners

State pensions fail to cover care home costs for 80% of pensioners
caption: Mykyta Martynenko / Unsplash

More than 80% of pensioners cannot pay for a stay in a residential care home with their state pension. This is shown in the book 'Investing in the third half of your life,' by VRT journalist Michaël Van Droogenbroeck and Knack editor Ewald Pironet, and also featured in Knack on Wednesday.

The authors examine various money matters after retirement. In Belgium, the statutory pension corresponds to 46% of the last earned salary, according to research by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In 16 EU countries, the state pension is higher than in Belgium, in 10 countries it is lower.

"There are big differences between the statutory pensions of civil servants, employees and the self-employed," the authors said. The book links the figures on how many people receive what monthly pension amount to the cost of a residential care home.

Self-employed and women most affected

The conclusion is striking: 80% to 85% of pensioners receive a state pension that is too low to cover the cost of a room in a retirement home. This number is highest among retired workers and self-employed people in particular.

The situation is even direr for women, and almost three-quarters of residential care home residents are women.

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"These figures show the great importance of being sensible about money matters already during one's active life and building up a financial buffer to cushion the drop in income after retirement," Van Droogenbroeck and Pironet echoed.

In their book, the authors give tips on how people can try to cushion that income trap. The book 'Investing in the third half of your life' will be launched Wednesday/today.

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