This patrimonial analysis gives a comprehensive vision of pension rights, combining the level of the pension at the time of taking retirement and the length of time it has been received, which makes it possible to take into account differences in life expectancy at retirement.
In France, the pension wealth of individuals aged between fifty and sixty-five in 2017 amounts to 447,000 euros on average at the time of retirement. This is 56% higher than the average value of their private wealth (financial assets, real estate, or business assets). Women's pension wealth is almost 7% higher on average than men's: their higher life expectancy compensates for a lower pension level, giving them much more access to the survivor’s benefit. In life time, however, their pension is lower than that of men: they receive on average 18,000 euros annually until their death compared to 20,100 for men.
By definition, pension wealth grows with the level of average earned income over the entire career, and therefore, with the level of private wealth. The average pension wealth increases up to the median value of private assets before reaching a plateau until the highest deciles. On average, the wealthiest 10% hold 1.4 times pension wealth than the lowest 10%. These inequalities in pension wealth are much lower than inequalities in private wealth, with a Gini index divided by two. They are also lower than inequalities in earned income over the entire career, with a Gini index that is 25% lower. The replacement rate, which is very high for the first deciles of private wealth and earned income, more than compensates for lower life expectancy.
Finally, the relative share of pension wealth compared to private wealth has tended to decline over the last twenty years, due to the strong growth in private assets and, to a lesser extent, the pension reforms that took place between 2002 and 2019: the pension wealth of the generations studied is 7% (i.e. 35,000 euros) less than they would have accumulated under the 2002 legislation.
Levels of pension wealth and private wealth, by gender and decile according to levels of private wealth