If you are starting to explore the possibility of retirement in Belgium it is advisable to start planning as early as you can, particular when it comes to pensions. Of course, just because you are retired doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to work completely – many people start their own business once they’ve left full-time employment.
How old do I have to be before I retire?
In general, the legal retirement age in Belgium is 65 years. However, the retirement age has been recently modified: starting from 2025, the minimum retirement age will be 66 and from 2030 it will be 67.
Can I retire early?
Early retirement is still possible but the qualifying age is 61.5 years or 60 years with a minimum 40 or 41 years of work completed, respectively. Consequently, people who take early retirement will receive a lower pension.
Early retirement age and conditions have also been recently altered: from 2016 the minimum age will be 62 years if 40 years of work have been completed, or 60 years with 42 working years achieved.
From 2017 the minimum age of retirement will be 62.5 years with 41 years of completed work; and from 2018 the minimum age will be 63 years, if a total of 42 have been worked.
What about my pension?
Since Belgians have one of the lowest basic pensions in Europe, understanding the pension system could be key if you plan to work, live or stay here. There are four different types: the state pension, a supplementary occupational pension, a personal pension savings with a tax break and a voluntary personal savings with no tax break. Living off a state pension is unlikely to be comfortable – it is advisable to look into supplementary pension schemes, both private and through your employer. Good planning is the key to a retirement that’s as painless as possible.
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