“This relates, among other things, to the different options available in Belgium for early retirement,” says de Tavernier. “But people sometimes choose to retire early depending on their own resources. A typical example is that couples like to retire ‘together’, if only to enjoy free time together. This is not necessarily a problem at the individual level, but it is of course a problem that has consequences for their tax revenues.” The government gets it.”
This income is important for the affordability of pensions. Because our country is aging, people over 65 will make up a quarter of Belgium’s total population by 2050. The result is that pension spending is increasing year by year, and so we will have to spend a larger portion of our jointly accumulated prosperity on it. The government tries to counter this, among other things, by making people work or keeping them working later in life.
Moreover, the OECD figures also indicate a different mentality in our country when it comes to work after retirement, de Tavernier opines. Because while the average share of “income from work” for people over 65 in OECD countries is more than 25 percent, Belgium is barely 9.5 percent. This also puts us at the bottom of the class.
This policy increasingly encourages working longer and earning extra money after retirement, but a real shift in this regard is yet to be seen in OECD figures. “There is a certain culture here of enjoying your retirement because you deserve it, so you no longer have to work,” de Tavernier analyzes.
But he believes that change can still happen. “We’ve seen it in a number of countries once a small portion of the population started working longer. This means that employers there are starting to realize the importance of older workers. So, once there is a small critical mass, it will support that things can happen quickly.”
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