News - February 27, 2020

What pension?

Guido Camps

Everyone employed by the university automatically builds up a pension with ABP. I had a look recently and it turns out all my contributions to date will get me the massive post-tax sum of 200 euros a month after I retire.

Guido Camps (34) is a vet and a postdoc at the Human Nutrition department. He enjoys baking, beekeeping and unusual animals.

Last November, minister of Social Affairs Wouter Koolmees came with good news for pension recipients: pension funds would be given yet more time to restore their finances (the umpteenth extension granted by a minister). Jubilation all round among trade unions and pensioners, despite ABP’s current funding ratio of about 94 per cent.

My generation is too busy to worry about it

Almost no one in my generation is worried about this — we are all too busy with our careers, kids and homes. That is why you never hear a peep from them, not when there is news about the funding ratio nor when the recovery period is extended. But it is younger employees whose pensions are being sacrificed because a cut in benefits is invariably deemed politically sensitive.

Can’t we do something about this? The most logical route would be ABP’s accountability body, which advises the board on policy and the consequences for pension fund members. But guess who is in that accountability body. Only 18 of the 45 members represent employees (the rest represent employers and pensioners). Of that 18, 13 represent a trade union. The same trade unions that never want cuts because their rank and file are over 55 on average. No wonder pensions are never reduced.

I hope there will still be something left of my 200 euros in 30 years’ time.