NewsGermany's Pension Strategy: Betting Billions on the Stock Market

Germany's Pension Strategy: Betting Billions on the Stock Market

Germany is looking for a way to deal with pensions.
Germany is looking for a way to deal with pensions.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | txakel
9:04 PM EDT, March 26, 2024

The German pension system is facing challenges, primarily due to an ageing population. New strategies have been proposed to ensure its sustainability. However, critics doubt these plans will achieve the desired outcomes.

The wave of baby boomers from 1955-1969 is starting to retire. With Germans living longer and the workforce not expanding at the same rate, questions arise about who will finance pensions, as reported by "Deutsche Welle".

Established in 1889, the German pension system relies on public pension insurance, similar to the model in Poland. This system, known as the "inter-generational contract", is funded by the insurance contributions of current workers.

In the 1960s, the ratio of workers contributing to the pension for each retiree was 6:1. This ratio has drastically fallen to 2:1 and is expected to decline further, according to "Deutsche Welle".

A significant portion of the state budget is dedicated to the pension system. In 2024, it is projected to receive around $140 billion (from 127 billion euros), accounting for one-third of all government spending. This figure is expected to nearly double by 2050.

As pensioners become an increasingly influential voter group, securing the pension system has become a critical issue in political debates and actions.

New proposals for pensioners

The governing coalition, comprising the SPD, Greens, and the FDP, aims to avoid reducing pensions, increasing contributions, or raising the retirement age beyond the already scheduled hike to 67 years by 2029.

Faced with these challenges, Finance Minister Christian Lindner of the FDP revealed a plan for the federal government to borrow approximately $13.2 billion (12 billion euros) for investment in the stock market, as reported by "Deutsche Welle".

The cornerstone of this initiative is the establishment of a "Generational Capital" fund, to be managed by an independent public foundation. Its investment strategy focuses on returns and global diversification. The aim is to reinvest the profits back into the state treasury.

Lindner declared on the platform X (formerly Twitter) that the potential of the capital market, overlooked for over a century, would now be harnessed to invest in society's future.

3% increase annually

The plan anticipates an annual increase of around $13.2 billion by 3%. By the mid-2030s, the fund to support the pension system is expected to reach at least $220 billion (200 billion euros).

The main opposition party, the CDU, has criticized the plan as ineffective. Axel Knoerig, a senior member of the labor and social affairs committee in the Bundestag, expressed to Ippen.Media that this initiative fails to ensure long-term pension security.

Knoerig warns that the plan could lead to higher contributions in the future, placing more strain on workers. While not completely opposed to capital market investments for additional income, he believes the current strategy will not yield substantial returns to mitigate the extra debt.

Investing in the stock market carries risks, but the German Ministry of Finance plans to establish a "safety buffer" to safeguard the foundation's assets.

The German Stocks Institute (DAI) suggests that broadly diversified investments typically yield 6 to 8 percent returns annually. Finance Minister Lindner expects returns to exceed 3 or 4 percent.

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