Riester Rente vs. other pension schemes

228 posts in this topic

 

Greetings, danny! I´ve also pointed out before that the way forward - at some stage in this country - will be the Honorarberatung (paying for objective advice ) but that´s a long way off. Meanwhile, why do you think it´s fair that an insurance broker should earn absolutely no commission for selling pension plans à la Rürup , for example? There´s a lot of know how involved in providing an insurance/ brokerage service. It costs money to run a company and is time-consuming. Much of our daily work is done free anyway ( advice by email/skype, on the phone, correspondence and all the rest of it, visiting specialist seminars etc ) - not to mention there are taxes to be paid out there, software to pay for and there´s the issue of liability and the related expensive professional liability insurances!!!

 

Just to be very direct and transparent: are you an Honorarberater? Or a broker?

 

I can so attest for John's (and Starshollow as well), being available for the many questions asked with no expectation of payment. However, he is providing valuable services and assistance, so I would expect there to be some kind of compensation.

 

 

Danny: one correction - as a broker under § 34 D GewO just MUST NOT offer also "Honorarberatung", i.e. fee based advice on insurance related products. And these plans you describe are insurance reltated products and not mere investments in equity funds.

Honorarberatung falls under § 34 E GewO and both licenses cannot be obtained by the same person or company. So, offering purely fee-based advice while being registered as a broker is a breach of current laws and could get you/whoever does it, into serious legal trouble.

 

having said that: personally I find this separation total nonsense and it is basically slowing down the process from commission based advice to more fee-based advice in the overall market, which I find sad as in my opinion somewhere down the road we need to get to a purely fee-based system of advice in finance just like lawyers, notaries or tax acountants.

But I would be rather sceptical of anyone in finance who disregards the current laws in such a cursory way... no offense.

 

As broker, we never offer option 1 - because I think it is extremely wastefull for the clients and reduces overall performance of such plans too much.

What we do offer are

I. a plan where the costs -as you point out correctly - are striclty pro-rata/pay as you go because that keeps the clients flexible in their investment planning for the future.

II. or we set up plans with a low monthly fixed premium for RIESTER and/or RÜRUP plans and then the client adds major lump sums one or twice a year. That way only the low fixed premium is the base for the initial front-loaded costs whereas the client pays for the lump-sum about the same fee as he would in a plan under a pro-rata-regime.

 

The second option comes into play if we want, together with the client, to have a particularily good and broad selection of investment funds because the pure pro-rata-plans I know are a bit of a blind-pool investment, mostly.

 

Cheerio

 

Very valid points!

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I hope someone can clarify this for me.

 

I tried to sign up for a Betriebliche Altersversorgung with my company. It's a Pensionskasse and our company has a broker who facilitates everything. After several email exchange with the broker, I signed up for the Pensionskasse and requested to have my contract for only until the age of 63. I requested this because the Zillmerung will be lower and I don't want to be obligated to pay until I'm 66, if there is an option to pay only until I'm 62.

 

He emailed me the contract with the 63-years-old computation and numbers. He said our HR will receive the policy and take care of everything.

 

Last Friday, our HR gave me the policy with a separate single sheet of paper that I need to sign - an acceptance of the documents. I looked at the policy and they are computed for 65 years old and the numbers (garantierte Rentenzahlung, kapitalabfindung, etc.) are different from what he gave me initially. So of course, I did not sign the paper and emailed him again asking him to correct it.

 

Now he is saying that I can only get the pension if I have already started receiving my statutory pension, and that the contract needs to be computed for 65 years old. Is this correct? Is there no possibility for me to have a contract only until 63 years old? I'm a bit frustrated that the broker is telling me these things only now, and he has totally lost what tiny trust I had in him. Would really appreciate if anyone can shed light on this. I'm hesitant now to take this Pensionskasse.

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Stomp: this is a load of bulls. Since 2012 the earliest age when you can start to draw on either a bAV or RIESTER or RÜRUP pension has been raised from 60 years to 62 years of age. I.e. with your 63rd birthday you can start to draw out of your pension plan. And, as you correctly assume, you safe paying fees/commissions for years that you do not want nor are likely to put in more money into the plan when you limit the duration accordingly.

 

 

Für Zusagen aus der betrieblichen Altersversorgung (bAV), die seit dem 1. Januar 2012 erteilt werden, gilt nicht mehr die Vollendung des 60. sondern des 62. Lebensjahrs als frühester Beginn der Auszahlung einer steuerlich geförderten Rente.

Clearly this broker (and I wonder if he truly is a broker? If you do not know the difference, check here for info to learn the different legal status in Germany: http://www.crcie.com/why-independ-broker.html ) is trying to increase the premiums and thus his/her commission to your loss.

 

What I would do now is to send a complaint directly to HR. Tell them that you told the broker/intermediary of your wish to limit the duration of the plan til 62/your 63rd birthday. Tell HR that you are puzzled that the intermediary who was set upon you by the company changed this to age 65 without your consent and that you are under the impression that he is putting the company at dange by acting so, because the employer is legally liable for such poor advice. Furthermore you should point out that if the company is using/insisting on a dedicated broker/intermediary, there should be a group-plan been offered by him/his company with strongly reduced closing costs. It is normal to reduce these costs (which are usually 4.5% of the total contractual investment amount) by around 50%. That way at least if you do not have the freedom to choose your own broker, there is an inherent benefit of using the one from the company. Finally you might want to ask if the company has set up a "Versorgungsordnung", which they would need to do if they like to insist that you work thru a person you would not chose if you were on your own.

 

How far you take this is of course up to you. But you'd be doing the company a favour if you point out that the "advisor" is not acting in the best interest of the employees and even gives them false information. And any company/HR demanding that employees use a dedicated itermediary should - in their own best interest - demand that for this the costs of the offered plans are reduced.

 

If you need/like my assistance in the wording of the above in Germany, drop me an email via the link below, happy to help. I hate when these salespeople do shit like this...

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Oh, and btw: the Stiftung Warentest/Finanztest has issued an info that Pensionskasse contracts from private insurance companies in Germany (which is probably what has been offered to you) are definitly not suited as single-issue contracts for employees. Only as group contracts can they make sense at all.

 

You might want to show this to HR, too. Because, as said above, the employer has a "Fürsorgepflicht" for his employees and can be held liable for the nonsense offers of the broker/intermediary.

 

Cheerio

 

PS: I am writing this from home and have trouble uploading the info from Stiftung Warentest. Will do so tomorrow, so that you have something in print to show

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Thanks so much for this information Starshollow.

 

The one I was offered is Vorsorge- und Vermögensplan from Pro bAV Pensionskasse AG, and I am pretty sure it is a group contract as it says in our internal website that we have a Master Agreement with Pro bAV.

 

The broker has just replied again with:

 

There is a contract for all employees with same conditions. One of those conditions is the age of expiry, which is 65 years. The Pro bAV Pensionskasse has to document your contract with this age. But you got the opportunity to get your pension at the age of 63 because of the paragraph §14 concerning to the general conditions of insurance (Versicherungsbedingungen):

§ 14 Was ist zu beachten, wenn eine Versicherungsleistung verlangt wird?

(1) (…)

Vorgezogener Rentenbeginn

Vor dem vereinbarten Rentenbeginn kann die Zahlung einer Rente beantragt werden, sofern die versicherte Person die Altersrente aus der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung als Vollrente in Anspruch nimmt.

 

His English is not that good, but I am taking that this means that all contracts or conditions in the contract in our company is the same? And that there is no option to change this? If this is indeed the case, it would have been fine if he said it from the beginning. But only mentioning this to me when I'm about to sign the acceptance of documents is really dodgy. I'll speak to our HR about what you mentioned and see if I can get somewhere. This is really not right.

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Ok, here are a few more thoughts/comments for your discussion with HR:

 

1. it would appear that there is a Versorgungsordnung. This is indeed a kind of contract/guidelines for all employees. Ask that you'll receive a copy, because only then can we find out if the "broker" is correct or not. (btw: I am now reasonably sure this is a tied agent and not a broker).

2. the info, that you can still start your pension at age 63 is correct but misleading. Because you would then still have paid upfront during the first years administration costs and commissions for payments all the way up to age 65. Therefore it would indeed be in your better interest to limit the contract duration right from the beginning.

3. please ask both HR and the "broker" about the costs you'll incure for this plan (you have had to receive these costs disclosed in full EUR, btw, before signing the contract. If that is/was not the case, it would be a serious violation of consumer protection rights in Germany). Also ask, if there is a rebate/cost reduction for this group plan (obviously they need to show proof to you for such a rebate). Background is this: first of all, if all employees are forced into a group plan AND the employer does not co-contribute, it would only be in the interest of the employees if these plans are lower in costs than individual plans. Plus: there have been cases where group-plans with rebates were set up and the "broker" still signed up employees with full costs/commissions in order to earn more money. Therefore disclosure of costs and full knowledge of rebates is essential.

4. last but not least you might want to see proof that Pro bAV is a member of the Pensions-Sicherungs-Verein auf Gegenseitigkeit - which is a protection for you in case of the employer or the Pensionskasse going bankcrupt. Pensionskassen do not need to be a member (which then means a major risk for the employees) but many are voluntary members.

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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I hope I can put my Riester question in this thread.

 

I am a Selbständige (Freiberufler) engineer and currently I am exempt for 3 years from the public pension insurance as a freelancer with one client (I have 1 more year left in the exemption). From what I read on the DRV website I am mandatory insured in the public pension insurance ("in der gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung pflichtversichert"), hence I will start paying into the DRV starting from November 2015.

 

I've read that because I am pflichtversichert, although Selbständig, I am eligible for opening a Riester plan.

 

Now for my question:

Am I eligible at the moment (while I am exempted from paying into the DRV), or I have to wait for November 2015 (when I actually start paying)?

 

I am thinking about Riester (as opposed to Rürup) as according to my calculations if you have one child born after 2008, then Riester is a better option for the amount I want to put in each year (around 1000 EUR per year).

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It would be so much better often if the ID-Info on Toytown would actually contain some relevant personal info.... :rolleyes:

 

Thus we do not know your nationality (which could be relevant on the long run regarding Riester) nor your age and gender. That makes giving you some really valuable info a bit hard, to be perfectly honest.

 

Anyway, here is a try: while you are exempt, you are also not paying into the BUndesrentenanstalt any contributions (this is why you sought exemption in the first place, right?)

 

post-8763-1412591240891_thumb.jpg

 

As the text above from the Bundesrentenanstalt shows, you are not eligible for "Zulage" and "Förderung" while you are exmempt from Rentenversicherung. Therefore a Riester won't work for you right now, unless your spouse is directly eligible for RIESTER (as an employee or public servant, for instance). In the latter case you can start a RIESTER as "mittelbar berechtigt".

 

The main question, however, is: how long are you planning to live in Germany? When are you planning to retire and where?

 

based on the answer to these questions it could be determined if RIESTER (or even RÜRUP) will make any sense at all for you or not? Also, please bear in mind the initial costs for most of these plans. If you ever actually want to start such a plan, either take one with no upfront costs or try to reduce the initial costs as much as possible. There are Riester plans where the costs are only pro-rata (i.e. for each monthly premium a small percentage is taken off) and there are even some "Nettotarife" available, where there are no direct costs (on the other hand you'll have to pay a fee to the advisor).

 

Your situation does not sound like a good one to start a RIESTER plan, to be perfectly honest. I would either put away money into a private "normal" pension plan and rather forgoe the small tax benefits for sake of higher flexibility. Or even just invest in some managed investment funds or ETFs, in order to keep costs small enough to make sense for you.

 

All in all you might want to contact an independent advisor for assistance, several of which are advertising here on Toytown and are thus specialized to assist Expats like you (in contrast to the average German insurance or bank advisor).

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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It would be so much better often if the ID-Info on Toytown would actually contain some relevant personal info....

 

Thus we do not know your nationality (which could be relevant on the long run regarding Riester) nor your age and gender. That makes giving you some really valuable info a bit hard, to be perfectly honest.

 

Yeah, sorry about that. I've read a lot about these pension plans to know that there isn't a clear answer without more details. Sorry once again.

I am a non-EU citizen (Macedonia), male, 31 years old. Married, wife employed.

 

 

As the text above from the Bundesrentenanstalt shows, you are not eligible for "Zulage" and "Förderung" while you are exmempt from Rentenversicherung. Therefore a Riester won't work for you right now, unless your spouse is directly eligible for RIESTER (as an employee or public servant, for instance). In the latter case you can start a RIESTER as "mittelbar berechtigt".

 

Does that mean that I am not eligible only for the Zulagen and Förderung but I can start paying into Riester? I ask because as I said I will be exempt for only 1 more year. Will have to pay afterwards (probably the Regelbeitrag of 500 something per month).

The reason I want to start now is that I've been thinking about it for some time, and I heard from january the Garantiezins will fall from 1.75% now to 1.25% and that will have impact on the investment yield.

BTW, my wife is a doctor, paying into the ärztevorsorge so as I understood she is not eligible for Riester?

 

 

The main question, however, is: how long are you planning to live in Germany? When are you planning to retire and where?

 

based on the answer to these questions it could be determined if RIESTER (or even RÜRUP) will make any sense at all for you or not? Also, please bear in mind the initial costs for most of these plans. If you ever actually want to start such a plan, either take one with no upfront costs or try to reduce the initial costs as much as possible. There are Riester plans where the costs are only pro-rata (i.e. for each monthly premium a small percentage is taken off) and there are even some "Nettotarife" available, where there are no direct costs (on the other hand you'll have to pay a fee to the advisor).

 

Your situation does not sound like a good one to start a RIESTER plan, to be perfectly honest. I would either put away money into a private "normal" pension plan and rather forgoe the small tax benefits for sake of higher flexibility. Or even just invest in some managed investment funds or ETFs, in order to keep costs small enough to make sense for you.

 

I actually am not sure how long I will live in Germany. I don't have plans to leave, at least not until I retire (I guess with 67, so in 35 years).. When I retire I will stay either here in Germany or go to Macedonia (which is atm an EU candidate country so I assume it will be an EU member in 36 years (you never know but it is a reasonable assumption)).

 

Also I am correct to understand that ONLY regarding the 'money you save', and putting in a maximum of 2100 EUR yearly Riester is ALWAYS better than RÜRUP?

Because as I understand with Rister I get at least 154 EUR Zulagen for me (provided no kids) and the rest of the amount is 100% tax deductible, while with RÜRUP there are no Zulagen and atm it is only 74% (or so) tax deductible. So up to 2100 per year, even after 2025 more can be saved with Riester because of the Zulagen?

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Hello Toytowners,

My wife (German citizen, born in 1980) will begin "riestering" before 2014 ends.

I (born in 1974) will start next year -- once I have renounced my U.S. citizenship and become a German citizen. (By the way, we became parents in 10/2013: twin boys!).

At any rate, I am curious if anybody has a strong opinion about this product: "Allianz RiesterRente Invest alpha-Balance".

I realize that any given product will have its respective pros and cons. I also appreciate that many factors need to be considered before making any financial-planning decision.

That having been said, several (seemingly) reliable sources recommend "Allianz RiesterRente Invest alpha-Balance". Sources include the

"Institut für Vorsorge und Finanzplanung (IVFP)", Finanztest, and our "Versicherungsmakler" (who has given us excellent advice on a great many products for 2.5 years and counting).

Might anybody have some insights that would persuade or dissuade my wife (or anybody else) from opting for "Allianz RiesterRente Invest alpha-Balance"?

Thank you very much to anybody and everybody who replies to my post. :-)

Have a great day,

Geo86

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if you want to choose this product - be sure to receive it as a "Netto-Police" and instead of the usual fees - pay a little consulting fee - it is a lot cheaper to do it this way

 

danny.bauer@usa.net

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Thank you, danny.bauer! I will keep that in mind.

I realize that asking for unpaid opinions makes me a sponge and a mooch . . . but perhaps others might likewise wish to add their two cents regarding "Allianz RiesterRente Invest alpha-Balance"? I would be especially eager and grateful to hear what Starshollow and john g. have to say.

Have a good day,

Geo86

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http://www.wiwo.de/finanzen/vorsorge/renditeprognose-verfehlt-die-ganz-reale-riester-luege/10991592.html

 

This is a gloomy assessment of Riester as a whole based on the last few years :)

I don´t deal with it at all as I am not convinced it´s worthwhile...others will disagree!

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http://www.wiwo.de/f...e/10991592.html

 

This is a gloomy assessment of Riester as a whole based on the last few years

I don´t deal with it at all as I am not convinced it´s worthwhile...others will disagree!

 

well, John - if it wasn't so sad, one could laugh out loud about this article. Because the exact same person who is now accusing the "Banksparplan" as coming with too many problems when reaching pension age has been advocating this (together with Finanztest and others) for oh so many years as a far better option than compared to a Riester-Rentensparplan or, heaven forbid, Fondsabsierte Rentensparplan.

 

I don't want to go into too much details here (especially since I am planning to write something more detailed soon for here and our website anyway) but the problem with the average Banksparplan (appart from currently abysmally low interest yields) is that you do not have a guaranteed "Rentenfactor" (pension factor) when signing up and therefore you'll have tp purchase into an annuity of sorts when you reach pension age. At that point it can well be that your pension payout will be far less than what you would have had if you signed up for a pension insurance instead.

 

Now, the pension insurances have other drawbacks, don't get me wrong. I have been advocating against signing normal RIESTER plans here on Toytown since 2007 or so, because the normal RIESTER plans as they are sold in Germany all come with far too high initial costs for administration and commissions (which is what Danny points to correctly). Especially for Expats who might only pay for a few years in such a plan, paying initial high costs for a long duration of investment that does no really materialize basically etches out all tax benefits because they are more or less eaten up by commission costs (to this regards a Banksparplan is better, as it does not have such high costs).

 

So, in general Expats have to ask themselves:

1. how long am I planning to stay in Germany and pay into this RIESTER plan?

2. Am I going to enjoy my retirement here in Germany or elsewhere?

 

If you are simply planning to stay a few years and are not planning to retire in Germany, you might well think about a Banksparplan (Riester bank savings plan) with low costs and low yield but high outcome on the capital side from the direct subsidies and tax returns. Better even, in my opinion, go for a Fondssparplan, i.e. a savings plan in funds for RIESTER (DWS for instance, but there are more - unfortunately not available for US nationals)

 

If, however, you are planning to stay long in Germany and perchance even live your retirement here, looking for a good guaranteed Rentenfactor becomes very important. There are a couple of other factors, too, but as said, I don't want to launch into too long an article here (yet).

In such a case a Riester Rentenversicherung (with guaranteed interest plus bonus interest/yield) as well as a Riester Fondsbasierte Rentenversicherung can be the right choice. You can evade the initiall high costs in two ways:

i) like Danny suggest, ask for a "Netto-Tarif". You'll have to pay a fee directly to the broker but you'll receive a plan without inherent costs for commissions.

ii) or, something we do a lot: you'll set a "normal" plan up but with a low monthly contribution. And then you put in once or twice a year the amount you'll have to invest in order to get the full tax benefits with a lump sum. That way you can usually also cut down the initial costs by 60-70%

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Thank you, danny.bauer! I will keep that in mind.

I realize that asking for unpaid opinions makes me a sponge and a mooch . . . but perhaps others might likewise wish to add their two cents regarding "Allianz RiesterRente Invest alpha-Balance"? I would be especially eager and grateful to hear what Starshollow and john g. have to say.

Have a good day,

Geo86

 

HI Geo86: sorry, but I can't comment on a specific product like this in public. first of all, it could legally be considered as "advice" from me and I would still be liable even if you don't sogn up for such plan with me (i.e. I'd have the risks but not the commissions/fees). Hope for your understanding.

 

In generell, though, while Allianz has among the highest guaranteed pension factors currently on the market (but not THE highest - something that can be important, see above), I do not like it if you combined investing in funds with some background guarantees as does the Invest Alpha Balance. You basically have the worst of two worlds: you are not really investing in funds (with all the volatility and risks, which on the other hand on the long run also are chances for your benefits) and you also have no real guaranteed payout as with a classic plan. Therefore with any provider I would rather recommend to go for real fund investment (Allianz has a INVEST option without the "balance") or for a classic version but not those funny and intransperent mixtures which usually come with a lot of hidden costs in the background.

 

Cheerio

I am a professional independent insurance broker, financial adviser, and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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Danny and Starshollow talk a lot of sense. That is all good but there´s a problem or two: who will remember this stuff come payout time? What was it all about?

Clients like to hear about guarantees ( but forget guarantees cost money ). Same here: just bought some central heating stuff with 25 year guarantee. Just wonder whether Ms Meier in Berlin , who goes on the phone in 2039 or whenever, gives a shit!! :)

What can you guarantee? Honestly speaking.

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Dear all,

 

Thank you very much for your elaborate input, respectively.

 

You have certainly given me even more food for thought to digest! I shall return with a more detailed/intelligent post in the days to come.

 

It is my sincere hope that other Toytowners might benefit in the near future (or even mid-term) from this ongoing to-and-fro.

 

As to john g.'s query:

"What can you guarantee? Honestly speaking."

Geo86's reply:

"Death and taxes. Honestly speaking."

 

Geo86

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I have question regarding state pensions, specficly Rentenanpassung or pension adjustment. The first part talks about what my pension and such will be but there was a part about increasing your pension. The relevant text is here (I changed the actual numbers)

 

Aufgrund zukünftiger Rentenanpassungen kann die errechnete Rente in Höhe von 1.200 EUR tatsächlich höher ausfallen. Allerdings können auch wir die Entwicklung nicht vorhersehen. Deshalb haben wir - ohne Berücksichtigung des Kaufkraftverlustes - zwei mögliche Varianten für Sie gerechnet. Beträgt der jährliche Anpassungssatz 1 Prozent, so ergäbe sich eine monatliche Rente von etwa 1.600 EUR. Bei einem jährlichen Anpassungssatz von 2 Prozent ergäbe sich eine monatliche Rente von etwa 1.700 EUR.

 

On the second page

 

Rentenanpassung Die Dynamisierung (Erhöhung) der Rente erfolgt durch die Rentenanpassung. Sie richtet sich grundsätzlich nach der Lohnentwicklung, die für die Rentenanpassung - insbesondere aufgrund der demografischen Entwicklung - nur vermindert berücksichtigt wird. Die Höhe der zukünftigen Rentenanpassungen kann nicht verlässlich vorhergesehen werden. Wir haben Ihre Rente daher unter Berücksichtigung der Annahmen der Bundesregierung zur Lohnentwicklung dynamisiert. Die ermittelten Beträge sind - wie alle weiteren späteren Einkünfte (z.B. aus einer Lebensversicherung) - wegen des Anstiegs der Lebenshaltungskosten und der damit verbundenen Geldentwertung (Inflation) in ihrer Kaufkraft aber nicht mit einem heutigen Einkommen in dieser Höhe vergleichbar (Kaufkraftverlust)S. o werden bei einer Inflationsrate von beispielsweise 1,5 Pmzent ßFO Jahr bei-Beginn Ihrer Regelaltersrente 100 EUR - voraussichtlich nur noch eine Kaufkraft nach heutigen Werten von etwa 79 EUR besitzen.

 

I got the part about inflation eroding the value of a Euro but what I'm not sure is what 1% is. I asked someone and they thought you could pay extra for an increase in your pension.

 

Thanks

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OK have an answer, that is simply an example of a cost of living adjustment (COLA). If your pension amount increases by 1% you will get X, if by 2% than that amount. Being as we are in an deflationary environment I wouldn't expect much more than 1%

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Hello All,

 

A question on Reisterrente. I was told by a insurance consultant that i have to be a working employee and pay taxes in Germany to get the allowances (zulagen) added to my Reisterrente. Well in this case, i am eligible. Based on this condition, my wife is not eligible for Reisterrente as she is a housewife and doesnt pay taxes in Germany. Is this correct?

 

BR, JJ

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