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Pensions poll reveals wide knowledge gap

Published on April 13, 2006

13 April 2006

BRUSSELS – The average Belgian’s expectancy of how large a state pension he or she will be paid by the National Pensions Office is much higher than the reality.
That’s the finding of the latest online study by life insurance firm SwissLife.
For example, 31 percent of peoples hope to receive more than EUR 1,400 per month in pensions, but, as of the summer of 2005, only 14 percent of them will actually be eligible for this amount.

Further difficulties arise with a private pension. More than one in three Belgians were unaware of how much they were actually saving.

However, in spite of the report, Belgians are increasingly concerned about providing for their pensions – 75 percent of respondents said they had a policy in 2005, rising to 79 percent in 2006. That still leaves 21 percent, however, who have not yet started saving.

Of these, some 10 percent are in the 20-30 age bracket but, SwissLife marketing manager Tanguy Polet said. The remaining 11 percent were aged 30 and above. “It’s a worrying sign.”

“Gradually, Belgian citizens are realising that they must take out a private pension policy – 61 percent of the pensions paid in 2005 were less than EUR 1,000 per month,” Polet said.

According to SwissLife, awareness is growing, but the insurer stressed the importance of improving access to information about pension savings.
The insurer added that it would be necessary to save regularly and, in the long-term, around 15 to 20 percent of a salary to reach a satisfactory pension level.

The analysis made by SwissLife was based on 4,600 responses polled online between 20-29 January. This followed a 2005 poll in which 25,000 Belgians responded.
The latest sample was made up of people who had responded to the first poll and who had indicated they wished to participate again in a similar type of questionnaire.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news