Published On: Thu, Feb 2nd, 2017

Residents of the Dutch Caribbean islands want to know more about pension

Curacao pensionerWILLEMSTAD - Residents of the Dutch Caribbean islands see pension as an important topic. Almost 70% are prepared to pay themselves for a good pension and 80% would like to receive more information about pension. They currently mainly receive information by post, but they prefer to be informed by email or in a personal conversation.

These are a few conclusions from the survey that pension bureau Montae Caribbean conducted among the residents of the Dutch Caribbean islands. Via Facebook, the internet site www.caribbeanpensionsurvey.com and conversations in the street, the researchers gathered about 550 surveys, mainly on Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Montae Caribbean wanted to investigate what people know about their AOV and their supplementary pension. A second goal was to make an inventory of the needs for pension communication.

Unclarity about financing of AOV

The respondents are generally well aware that they will receive AOV in the future. Of them, 89% know that the AOV is a kind of pension. Only 13% do not know that the AOV is executed by a government institution. In the discussion about the affordability of the AOV, it is important that people know how the AOV is financed. It appears that there is much unclarity about this. Nearly 50% think that the level of the AOV benefit depends on their current contribution. This is incorrect. Current employees pay for the benefits of people who now receive AOV. Therefore, the level of their own future AOV does not depend on their current contribution.

Willing to pay themselves for a good pension

Of the respondents, 59% state to have a supplementary pension scheme in addition to the AOV, while 36% do not have this. Five per cent do not know if they have a supplementary pension scheme or not. It is striking that 69% of the respondents are willing to pay themselves for a good pension. Only 10% are not prepared to do this. A majority of 58% realize that people themselves bear primary responsibility for their pension. Only 12% are not actively involved with their pension and say that they will wait and see what they will receive in the future. People generally want to be actively involved with their pension and no less than 79% indicate that they want to know more about pension.

Majority does not know if pension will be sufficient

An important aspect of pension awareness is if people know how much income they will later receive from their AOV and supplementary pension and if this will be sufficient to live from. A small majority of 55% claim to know how much pension income they will receive in the future. It is a source of concern that 75% do not know if this will be sufficient. Furthermore, 54% say to know what the possibilities are to build up extra pension.

Information now mainly by post

In the survey Montae Caribbean posed questions about how inhabitants of the islands are now informed about their pension and how they would prefer to be informed. They could list various options. The largest percentage, 44%, now receive information by post.  A close second with 42% is information via the employer (42%). These are followed by a presentation (18%), email (18%), a personal conversation (13%), a brochure or pension newspaper (12%) and by telephone (5%).

Personal conversation and email are most popular

When asked about the favorite communication tool, the now most widely used tool of information by post does not score highly at all. In addition, the researchers notice significant differences in the answers by age group. For the age group 18 to 35 a personal conversation ranks first, followed by email and telephone. The age group 35 to 45 prefers to receive information by email. Information by telephone ranks second and a personal conversation third. For the age group 45 to 65 the personal conversation comes first, followed by email and by telephone. Their rankings are the same as those of the youngest group. Information via the employer remains important. It ranks fourth for all age groups. Information by post only makes the top 5 for the eldest age group. Of the age group 18 to 35, 15% would like to receive information via Facebook and 13% via WhatsApp.

There was also a question about the frequency of the communication. The respondents indicate that contact with the pension provider once a year is the desired frequency.

Different preferences per island and between men and women

The survey also explored different preferences in the communication preferences per island. The personal conversation is preferred on Aruba and Curacao. People on Bonaire have a preference for email. Information by telephone is also appreciated on Curacao and Bonaire and less on Aruba.

The are two important differences in communication preferences between men and women. Men mainly like to receive information via the employer. Compared to men, women have a greater preference for contact by telephone. A personal conversation and email score highly for both groups.

Recommendations

  1. ‘One-size-fits-one’ The differences between the current and the desired communication, between age groups, men and women and between islands lead Montae Carribean to the recommendation that pension providers should investigate more what the preferences and wishes of their participants are. It is clear that ‘One size fits all’ does not apply to pension communication. ‘One-size-fits-one’ appears to be more appropriate.
  2. Digital communication The survey shows that communication by post is not popular. Communication by email is preferred and is also cheaper. Gathering correct email addresses is vital in this respect.
  3. Co-operation It is clear from the survey that people wish to know more about their pension and that there is a considerable gap between the current and the desired knowledge. Pension funds, insurers and employers should join forces to increase the knowledge of the pension system and pay specific attention to aspects that raise many questions. Personal conversations appear to be quite popular. There is a challenge for pension providers who do not yet use personal conversations with participants as a communication tool to start with this.

The full survey report can be downloaded via www.montaecaribbean.com.

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