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Das Sparverhalten deutscher Haushalte: Erste Erfahrungen mit der Riester-Rente

  • Börsch-Supan, Axel


    (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Reil-Held, Anette


    (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA) and Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Schunk, Daniel


    (University of Zürich Institute for Empirical Research in Economics)

This paper investigates the savings behaviour of German households, especially their capability and their reasons to save. We find that about one third of private households do not save at all while about 50 percent of the households save very regularly. Savings rates appear to be related to socio-demographic characteristics like family status or education. While we find saving to acquire a property and saving for old-age provision to be the most important reasons to save, looking at the subjective relevance addressed to them, no substitution between the different savings motives appears. Saving motives, however, appear to exert a displacement effect when looking at actual savings for old- age. Furthermore, we address more specifically saving for old-age provision by examining the experiences which have been made so far with the newly introduced, state-promoted private pension plans (“Riester“ pensions). As in other western countries, also in Germany it took time before the introduction of this new form of subsidised saving took off. The actual proliferation of Riester pension plans is highly dynamic, however, and current rates of growth outstrip by far the steady growth experienced in the USA. It is striking that the acceleration in Riester saving only really kicked in after substantial simplifications had been made to the scheme. The subsidy design rewards parents and workers with low income. Indeed, the social group better reached by the reform is that of parents with more than one child. With respect to disposable household income, however, the underlying SAVE data show that the proportion of Riester pensioners is much smaller in the lowest than in the middle and upper income brackets of the household income distribution. Therefore, the considerable financial incentives provided by the allowances alone are not effective on low income households. The key to achieve high take up rates is information or knowledge about the necessity of and arrangements relating to old-age pension provision. Respondents with higher educational attainments, in fact, are more likely to make use of Riester subsidies than people who leave school with a lower qualification. In the same direction points the fact that provisions for private pensions correlate positively with the awareness of the future pension level.

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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 07-15.

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Length: 90 pages
Date of creation: 15 Dec 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-15
Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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