Berlin – If you can only build on the statutory pension in old age, look in the tube. But how do you correctly calculate how much money is needed in retirement? And how do you avoid a pension gap? Theo Pischke, pension expert of Stiftung Warentest, gives tips for the calculation.

Image: Mature couple

The situation is clear for Theo Pischke. “Most insured persons will have a pension gap,” says the pension expert of Stiftung Warentest. This refers to the difference between the statutory pension and the amount that consumers need for their standard of living in retirement. The reason for this is the demographic trend. The working population will have to pay more and more pensioners in the future. As a result, the pension level drops steadily.

Anyone who retires in 2012 can expect a pension of around 1270 euros. However, this only applies if he has paid 45 years into the pension fund in the old federal states with an average annual salary of about 32,400 euros. In the new federal states, the average pension is slightly lower. Who has earned less, gets less statutory pension. Anyone who has earned on average, but has paid shorter, also gets a smaller pension.

The working population must pay more and more pensioners

The average pensioner receives a good 47 percent of his gross salary this year. In 2030, the average pension will have already shrunk to 40 percent of the last gross income. This is what the German Council of Economic Experts predicts for the assessment of overall economic development. “Most pensioners will therefore not even reach the 40 percent in 30 years, because they have earned below average or not get 45 contribution years together and therefore not the full pension entitlement,” says Pischke. Martin Reißig of the Federal Association of pension consultants therefore predicts: “The state pension will be in the future only a basic supply.”

Nobody comes around saving

In order for it does not remain with the basic supply, most must save additional. How much is missing, one learns by calculating the personal pension gap. The starting point for the calculation is the expected statutory pension. The German pension insurance sends this annually a pension information to the insured. The form results in the anticipated amount of the statutory pension.

“The prognosis, however, provides only a clue about the expected pension,” says Josephine Holzhäuser of the Verbraucherzentrale Rheinland-Pfalz. If something changes in the occupational situation, such as child-raising periods or unemployment, the pension entitlements change as well. “Anyone who has been working full-time for some years and has paid heavily into the pension fund, but then suddenly takes a longer break, for the predicted pension is no longer in the specified amount.”

80 percent of the last net salary is realistic

Based on the extrapolation of the German pension insurance, however, everyone can at least roughly determine how much he needs in addition. “Who wants to keep his usual standard of living in retirement, needs about 80 percent of the last net salary, to 20 percent can do without most,” says Pischke.

Many expenses fall away in old age

The reason: many expenses fall away in old age. For example, retirees no longer have to pay any contributions to the statutory pension. Occupational expenditures such as travel expenses to work also save retirees, also possible rates for a real estate loan or training costs for the children. Depending on the lifestyle, however, costs can also be added, for example for travel and hobbies. In addition, usually the health costs increase in old age. “Depending on your personal situation, it may therefore be that 80 percent of the last net salary is not enough,” warns Josephine Holzhäuser.

Theo Pischke also points out that the German pension insurance calculated in their annual pension forecast no monetary devaluation. “The authority refers only to an expected annual inflation rate of 1.5 percent, each insured must plan the purchasing power loss of his pension itself.”

Employees can use the information letter from Deutsche Rentenversicherung and the Rentenlückenrechner of Stiftung Warentest to find out how much they have to cover for retirement in addition. It is also assumed that an annual depreciation rate of 1.5 percent. That is the average inflation rate of the past 20 years. This means that a monthly pension of 800 euros is only worth about 680 euros with a corresponding loss of purchasing power in 10 years.

Ideal is a combination of occupational pension and Riester pension

If you now know the personal pension gap, you should additionally provide for the necessary amount for the age. “Meaningful is always a mix.” Employees usually pay a company pension in combination with the state-subsidized Riester pension, advises Reißig. Rigid pension plans with a regular obligation to pay contributions are in his view currently not recommended: “Now you should rather collect his money, put it for example on the time deposit account, buy funds with low fees and wait for the interest rate market has recovered again Buying a property can be an alternative “.

To close an impending supply gap, you should start saving early, advises Pischke. “If you start early, you can build up wealth with small amounts, because young savers benefit considerably from compound interest.” The closer one gets to the retirement age, the more expensive it will be to close the pension gap.