Pensions for married couples: That’s how it’s romantic and fair

Thursday, 06.10.16, written by Cora Christine Döhn

The only remedy for old-age poverty is private provision for many women. For the state pension is rarely enough for them, especially if they have worked for years for the family part-time. Private pension development can be organized jointly and fairly with the partner. But many couples just do not worry about it.



Frauen Finanzberaterin Susanne Kazemieh im Interview
Susanne Kazemieh is a financial adviser for women

Many people will hardly be able to maintain their standard of living with the statutory pension. Therefore, private provision is important for everyone. But there is one group that should be particularly concerned about raising pensions. This refers to women who work in the low-wage sector or part-time and earn a very low pension. This concerns above all many married women, who take a shorter career for starting a family . They rely on their husband, who is with his income or his future pension enough old-age provision. “With regard to the divorce rates of 50 percent , this is an untenable condition,” says women’s financial adviser Susanne Kazemieh. In the interview, she therefore talks about many ways in which married couples can jointly and fairly provide for their pension development .

Many married women neglect to build up their retirement pension. Are you missing any precautionary measures or are you just aware of the importance of precautionary measures?

Susanne Kazemieh: There is a tendency amongst women to suppress prevention, especially for old age, as an unpleasant topic. Men have been raised to the extent that they feel responsible for financial issues and are engaged in a “nutritional role”. Therefore it is more natural for them to take care of the financial aspects of life. Women, by contrast, were largely cut off by the “big money” until the end of the 1950s. They were only allowed to manage household finances. You probably have more respect for financial matters . Besides, the topic “age” is not “sexy” for many women. This supports the displacement mechanism.

The problem of many women with old-age provision already begins with their view of working life . As motivation for their chosen job, women are far less likely to declare a high income than compatibility with family responsibilities . The focus on the family rather than on the monthly salary is reflected in the rising numbers of poor retirees. If women take a shorter career, face loss of earnings during child-rearing, and often work in the low-paid sector, they can not expect a generous statutory pension . You therefore need to privately upgrade your retirement pension.

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How can women minimize this pension gap together with their partner?

Susanne Kazemieh: In general, it is risky today to completely give up your career because of starting a family. That should be a good idea for every woman and every man. Today, there is no shortage of childcare options and many couples with only one salary can live really well.

For example, if a woman stays home for a long period for family reasons , a pension gap will arise . The size of this gap depends, among other things, on the relationship status. After all, married women benefit from a pension split in the event of a divorce. In doing so, all pension entitlements of the partner acquired in the marriage years are split in half. Unmarried women go to a separation in the worst case empty.

In general, however, women who work part-time or drop out of work for years find it hard to cross the poverty line with their statutory pension . Therefore, a large private retirement savings is inevitable especially for women. In my opinion, it is part of the responsibility of couples to support each other in providing for both partners based on the common family income.

What options do couples have for making family planning financially fair if a partner stays home for a while?

Susanne Kazemieh: The state offers some compensation mechanisms: For example, there are three pension points per child , which usually fall to the mother. However, this does not compensate for a career break of many years due to caring responsibilities. For a fair solution, couples have to act themselves. This could look something like this: The working man pays into his wife’s private pension, which stays at home for their family. Of course, only until she earns full again. If the money is not enough, he should reduce or retire his private pension contracts and not theirs. After all, the gainfully employed partner benefits more from the statutory pension due to the higher and longer earned income.

Unfortunately, I often experience that even enlightened young women are afraid to address this topic. This is where the romance trap comes in: If the woman were to discuss her own precaution, the idea of ​​a potential divorce would also be in the room, and that is incompatible with the ideal of eternal love. Therefore, woman does not speak about it as a precaution. Instead, she works on the success of the relationship.

Have women once taken the courage and approached their own provision, do they have any options for building up a financial cushion for old age?

Susanne Kazemieh: Non-working mothers can pay a maximum of 36 months into a Riester pension during child-raising periods and receive the government allowances. About a so-called piggyback contract is even without children and indefinitely, if the husband is entitled to allow.

In addition, the capital market now offers women many opportunities to make provision for their pensions in the form of traditional or unit-linked annuity policies or fund savings plans. Especially the latter have an extremely high flexibility . Because funds have neither fixed terms nor notice periods or even cancellation fees. As with all systems, good advice is essential. In contrast to pure sales talks, good consultants show different solutions with all advantages and disadvantages . Because not every offer is equally suitable.

Thank you for the interview, Mrs Kazemieh!

Susanne Kazemieh founded the FrauenFinanzGruppe in Hamburg in 1989. Since then, she and her 12-member team – independent of banks and insurance companies – mainly advise women in all financial and pension matters. She is also an author and speaker.

Here you will find tips and further information on old-age provision.


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