Riester, Rürup, company pension schemes

What changes in 2012


Riester savers

From 2012 onwards, Riester savers will be obliged to contribute a minimum amount of 5 euros per month if they wish to continue receiving allowances and tax benefits in 2012. This means that those non-contributory contracts for which only state allowances are paid in – but no personal contributions – will be abolished for spouses who are not gainfully employed and who are indirectly entitled to allowances. Those indirectly entitled to the allowance are also no longer entitled to a special expenses deduction, as this is granted to the spouse who is directly entitled to the allowance, but only if the maximum special expenses amount of – 2,100 is not exhausted. Those who have paid too little of their own contributions into their contract up to now can avert the repayment of Riester allowances by making additional payments of their own contributions, so that additional payments have become possible up to the start of the payout phase of the Riester pension.

What remains the same is the realisation that Riester pension contracts offered by insurers offer virtually no real return – despite state subsidies. Riester savers have to live an exceptionally long time before they at least receive pensions worth the contributions they have paid in themselves. Insurers and their lobbyists, who simply compare nominal pensions and contributions, are deceiving Riester savers. In stating that in some cases the pensions received exceed the contributions paid after only 12 years, they underestimate the loss of purchasing power that occurs over decades. In fact, with only a 3% annual loss of purchasing power, one would need a pension of EUR 300 to get back only as much in value as the contribution paid 40 years earlier was worth. Only those who live to be about as old as Johannes Heesters will be able to enjoy a halfway acceptable real return on investment in the foreseeable future.


Rürup savers

Self-employed persons in particular can pay up to €20,000 a year (maximum taxable amount, per spouse) into the basic or Rürup pension. In 2012, 74% of the contributions (i.e. up to € 14,800 per capita) can then be deducted as special expenses. In some cases, however, the self-employed also pay into a professional pension fund or often voluntarily into the statutory pension insurance scheme. This also falls under the €20,000 limit, so that the maximum amount remaining for Rürup contracts is reduced for such self-employed persons. Rürup or basic pension contracts could still be terminated and confiscated by creditors or the insolvency administrator, at least to the extent that they exceed the maximum limits protected by law. Anyone wishing to save more than the subsistence minimum to relieve the burden of social welfare in future will have to find out exactly what the details are.


Company pension scheme (bAV)

Quite a few employers encourage company loyalty by paying for a company pension scheme for employees in addition to their wages, for example as a voluntary social benefit for employees. In addition, employees are also entitled to deferred compensation, i.e. a reduction in salary and payment into an occupational pension scheme. At least the payment is then exempt from tax and social security insofar as it does not exceed the amount of €2,688 (4% of the income threshold of €67,200) in 2012 (nationwide). In addition to direct insurance, this limit also applies to pension funds and Pensionskassen. To date, the employer has generally been responsible for selecting the implementation method, the product provider and the tariff in occupational pension schemes. Time and again it has become known that employers, works councils or personnel managers have allowed themselves to be given some of the commissions – especially in such cases it is then not surprising if high costs are incurred and the contracts bring meagre returns.


by Dr. Johannes Fiala and Dipl.-Math. Peter A. Schramm


by courtesy of

www.pt-magazin.de (published in P.T. Magazine, 2/14/2012)


www.handwerke.de (published in Computern im Handwerk 03/2012, 5 under the headline: Riester, Rürup, company pension scheme: What will change in 2012)

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Dr. Johannes Fiala Dr. Johannes Fiala

Dr. Johannes Fiala has been working for more than 25 years as a lawyer and attorney with his own law firm in Munich. He is intensively involved in real estate, financial law, tax and insurance law. The numerous stages of his professional career enable him to provide his clients with comprehensive advice and to act as a lawyer in the event of disputes.
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