2019 brings Germans greater fear of old-age poverty | News | DW | 02.01.2019
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2019 brings Germans greater fear of old-age poverty

More and more Germans are worried about not being able to make ends meet when they retire, a new study has shown. Rising energy costs and low interest rates are also feeding fears of financial insecurity.

More than half of all Germans are afraid of being financially insecure in old age, German newspaper Die Welt reported, citing a study from the Ernst & Young (EY) consulting company on consumer trust for 2019.

With a rapidly aging population, Germany's pension system is under stress, and rising living costs, low interest rates, and the growth of the temporary and low-wage employment mean that many people face challenges to achieving financial security for their retirement.

"Many Germans no longer think that their pension is secure," said Bernhard Lorentz, one of the study's authors and the head of EY's Government & Public Sector. "Politicians must take these worries seriously."

Graphic on current financial situation

"The low interest rates we currently have are making it much more difficult to build wealth and prepare privately for retirement," he added.

Illness, environment also cause worry

For the second year in the row, the fear of poverty in old age was the fastest growing category. A total 56 percent of all respondents were either very or slightly scared of financial insecurity in old age, an 18 percent jump from 2017.

Watch video 12:04

Reporter — Germany's Poor Pensioners

This fear did not top the study's list of things Germans are worried about, however. More people said they were scared of illness, environmental pollution and a "refugee crisis" in Europe.

However, 69 percent of respondents said they were very or slightly worried about rising energy costs, an increase of 15 percent from 2017, while 71 percent feared increasing cost of living, a 16 percent increase.

EY conducted their study at the end of November, polling some 1,000 consumers via telephone in a representative survey.

Graphic on what has people worried

A 2017 study by Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation found that old-age poverty in Germany would increase from 16 percent in 2015 to 20 percent by 2036.

While fears of a present-day economic slowdown remained constant at 25 percent, 36 percent of Germans worried that their income would go down, a slight increase from 2017.

The study showed that dissatisfaction with one's standard of living increased with age, with 1-in-3 Germans over the age of 65 unhappy with their financial situation.

In comparison, 61 percent of all Germans under the age of 35 believe that their financial situation will improve.

Infografik Finanzieller und Wirtschaflticher Ausblick 2019 EN

cmb/kms (AFP, KNA, epd)

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