“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


It differs from country to country, but in my original home country - the Netherlands - you are officially entitled to enjoy your pension when you turn 65 years old, which I did last week.

To be honest, I am enjoying my (private) pension already 2.5 years, as I had the option to go for a pre-pension.

It means that you will get a monthly payment from the government, called AOW pension, and if you were employed for some time, you will get as well a private pension from your company/administration or the insurance company that was selected by your company to manage your pension.

By the way AOW stands for Algemeen (general) Ouderdoms (elderly) Wet (law). It regulates how much state pension you will get, who can get it and when. The rules are being changed now, as to cope with the extended life expectancy of people in today's modern society and to cope with the changing ratio between young versus old people.

Fewer young people have to pay for more elderly people now, because that is how the system works in The Netherlands. A bit stupid of course, because that this would happen was already known for more than 20 years, but none of the previous administrations were anxious to take preventive measures. And because the government has to cut cost because of the financial crisis in Europe, there is an even bigger drive to raise the pension age even more.

It seems that in some European and many Asian countries including the Philippines, pension is already with 60 plus or minus some years. Of course the life expectancy is lower here than in the western world because of the climate and limited healthcare, so a lower pension age is not unreasonable.

Although at least in the Philippines the +/- 60 years is true, it is only for a minority, let's say for the happy few in this country, who had a good salary and worked for a company or administration that spent money to build-up a pension fund.

The average Filipino, even if he/she has a small job, like a sales lady, construction worker, tricycle/jeepney driver or sari-sari owner, will have no pension at all, not from the state nor from any private company. But they have another social security plan: the family.

That's why families are usually big, with six or more children, it is their way to survive as an elderly, children and grand children will take care, no matter where they are, as the family bonding is strong in this country. If living abroad they will send a monthly amount for their (grand) parents. Hopefully it will be spent for them, but I know that in many cases the money is used for other things, like the latest model mobile phone, drinking or gambling, or quitting the job as there is another income now. Who will check how the money is spent and who will benefit from it?

I believe I am lucky in respect of my pension. Of course compared to many Filipino's, but as well compared to many of my younger colleagues and my children. Not that I have a huge pension, but at least I can enjoy it before I will be dead. They will have to work longer than I did and it is not clear what they will get in the years to come. I even know from a close relative that he has to work beyond 65 years because of some bad luck with his private pension.

My father got his (private) pension already when he was 60, it was the policy within his company Philips for management staff at that time (1980's). As he died in 2010, he has enjoyed his pension for 27 years, unfortunately the last years not in a very healthy state.

I would be very thankful if I could copy at least 50% of what my father savored.


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