Pension assets in Denmark reached new heights last year, increasing by 30% from 2014 to 2021, according to new figures from Statistics Denmark.

Thus, Danish average pension assets were approximately DKK641,000 (€86,100) after tax in 2021 against approximately DKK591,000 in 2020 and around DKK451,000 in 2014.

“Danes’ pension savings have experienced strong growth in recent years. And in 2021, pensions reached new heights, which was not least due to the year’s generally excellent pension returns as a result of the strong tailwind on the financial markets,” said Anne-Louise Lindkvist, head of marketing and customer advice at Sampension.

Additionally, the progress of the labour market and increasing employment during the past year meant that Danes paid more into pensions overall. It also contributed to the growth of pension assets, she said.

“In 2022, however, the development so far has been completely different. The arrow has generally pointed downwards on markets, and this has naturally affected returns and thus Danes’ pension savings,” she explained.

“Of course, this kind of thing is never fun to experience. But here it is worth remembering that savings have grown significantly in recent years, that the markets are turning again, and that in the long run Danes have the prospect of ever-larger pension assets, as we generally pay more into pensions during working life and at the same time retire later,” Lindkvist said.

Statistics Denmark figures also show there is a significant difference between men’s and women’s pension savings. The men’s average pension assets were approximately DKK736,000 after tax in 2021, while women’s was DKK549,000 – a difference of 25%.

“Although women are becoming increasingly better educated at home and have pulled away from men on that front, their pension assets still lag significantly behind men’s – also in the younger generations. It is worrying. Because women’s pension savings must last for more years than men’s, as they generally retire earlier from the labour market and at the same time live longer,” Lindkvist noted.

“The difference in pension assets is not least related to the fact that women still choose female-dominated subjects to a greater extent than men within e.g. care with lower pay, while men are still more likely to choose professions where the pay is higher. In addition, women are also on maternity leave and part-time to a greater extent than men. Overall, it has an impact on the lifetime income and the pension in the end,” she said.

She added that the new rules on earmarked maternity leave, which have just come into force and which imply that maternity leave must be distributed more equally between the parents, will mean that men will in future take a greater part of the maternity leave, which will contribute to strengthening women’s pension savings and thus rectify the gender gap in pension assets going forward.

Read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine