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Belgians not well-prepared or informed regarding pensions

Nearly one in two Belgians (48%) consider themselves not well-prepared, financially, for retirement.  And close to eight out of 10 are not correctly informed on the three pillars (legal pension, complementary pension and savings-pension) of the Belgian retirement system, according to a survey held at the beginning of November for CBC Bank through a representative sample of 1,000 people.

The survey, the results of which were presented Wednesday, also reveals that a considerable part of those interviewed are unaware of the amounts they will receive for their legal pension (70%) and their complementary pension (40%). Regarding this second pillar, six out of 10 Belgians estimate that their complementary pensions will not allow providing the living standard they wish for.

“It is striking how many questions and concerns were presented regarding pensions in the last 12 to 18 months. We perceive true anxiety in our client household heads. There is uncertainty regarding the public funding of pensions,” explained Xavier Falla, Director General of personal banking at CBC.

The survey also indicates that close to 60% of those surveyed estimate their life expectancy to be less than 15 years following retirement. This estimate is considerably below reality given the increase in life expectancy. And close to nine out of 10 Belgians estimate that in order to live they will need at least 60% of their last salary when retired. But, we know that the substitution rate of legal pensions in Belgium is close to only 40%.

Implicitly, the survey reveals that Belgium is not without contradictions. “What is surprising is the paradox regarding pensions: Belgium knows that something must be done on the matter, but it does not take advice. The situation deserves reflection,” was the observation of Valérie Flohimont, a professor specialized in pensions at the University of Namur.

The Brussels Times