Will millennials have enough money to retire?

"When we're old, we won't get a pension anyway." As a young person, you hear this sentence in your circle of friends almost every day. It resonates with a mixture of anger, worries about the future and helplessness, sometimes also a trace of fatalism. A new study by the market research institute GfK on behalf of the insurer Generali now also shows this attitude in figures. According to a representative survey of more than a thousand 18- to 32-year-olds, almost three quarters of those questioned are concerned that the pension level is falling. Young people see increasing poverty in old age as the third biggest problem of their generation - after climate change and pandemics.

In the past decade, employees and pensioners could still rely on steadily rising gross wages and pensions - only the consequences of the corona pandemic slowed this development in 2020, as an analysis by the Federal Statistical Office shows.

But this is not the only reason why young people's worries about poverty in old age are justified, even if they sometimes appear too black-and-white. Currently, the pension level, which measures the level of the standard pension in relation to the average wage, is still a good 48 percent. However, according to the federal government, it could drop to 46 percent by 2034. One reason for this is the baby boomer generation entering retirement age. As a result of him, too, pensions are likely to rise less sharply than wages from 2025 onwards. The bottom line is that future generations will get less money to face life in old age.

Young people's anger is particularly directed against politics. More than 70 percent of those surveyed think that the political parties of their generation do not pay sufficient attention to the topic of pensions. According to the study, many of them feel "not well or not at all" informed about retirement provision; women particularly complain about this (87 percent). In the super election year 2021, in which four state elections and one federal election are still pending, this could also have an impact on the outcome of the votes. Around two thirds of 18 to 32 year olds say that pension policy will influence their decision in the upcoming federal election. "Millennials," says the study, "are absolutely aware that their generation will have to shoulder the pension for the next few decades - for both the current and the coming retirement age groups."

Many are even willing to work longer

A large number of politicians expect concrete alternatives that go beyond the statutory pension, but their own steps are also being considered as a way out of poverty in old age. According to the GfK survey, 44 percent of those questioned would be willing to work longer than their 67th year for a reliable statutory pension, for example. More than a quarter of those questioned would even move to another country with cheaper living costs in order to avoid possible poverty in old age. This fact alone allows a deep look into the psyche of young people. In spite of all the fatalism: The question of whether they have enough money to live in old age apparently scares them.