The poverty trap

By Sarah RaparoliLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Working all your life so you can enjoy your retirement without worrying about your finances. The reality is different for many. How retirement becomes a poverty trap and why women in particular are affected by poverty in old age.

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"You may wonder about the sense and purpose of a brochure on women's pension rights. However, the reasons for publishing such a brochure are obvious. The life plan of women differs substantially from the life plan of men. In fact, it is always women who interrupt their careers to take on responsibilities in the family and raising children." This is the introduction to a brochure published in 2003 by the Ministry of Family Affairs under the leadership of the then Minister Marie-Josée Jacobs (CSV).

Although these lines date back 20 years, still not enough has been done about old-age poverty in recent years, says Anik Raskin, director of the Conseil National des Femmes du Luxembourg (CNFL). "It makes me terribly sad, " the latter replies during the interview at the CNFL premises in the capital. "I've been in the CNFL since 2001/2002 and even then this dossier was being worked on." According to Raskin, it is mostly women who would be at risk of slipping into precarious circumstances. The council participated in the 2001 pension table and every time someone from the CNFL took the floor, their input was "pushed aside" as if what they had to contribute at the time was not important.

Still more women in part-time work

According to recent STATEC figures, a senior couple needs 3,471 euros a month to age gracefully, for one person it is 2,551 euros. In the past and today, it is a reality that women are more affected by old-age poverty than men for very different reasons. According to Eurostat, women over 65 in Luxembourg receive on average 44 percent less pension than men. This puts Luxembourg in first place and far ahead of the EU average of 29 percent.

Without a supplement to the minimum pension, the situation would be much more dramatic, says Raskin. According to figures from the General Social Security Inspectorate (IGSS), out of 10,622 non-migration pensions with a minimum pension supplement, 9,657 are women's pensions, while 965 men fall into this category. In order to claim the minimum pension, proof of at least 20 years of insurance must be presented, ten of which must be compulsory insurance, continued insurance, voluntary insurance or subsequent purchase of insurance periods.

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