What is a pension?
Pension is the income you get from the moment you stop working. As an entrepreneur or self-employed professional in the Netherlands, you are entitled to a basic pension under the General old age Act (Algemene Ouderdomswet or AOW in Dutch). AOW is a basic state pension. Have you lived or worked in the Netherlands? Then you will receive AOW from your AOW pension age until your death.
You build up 2% of the maximum AOW pension for each year of AOW insurance. You will get a full AOW pension if you have been insured for 50 years. Read more about the AOW on the Social Insurance Bank website.
As an entrepreneur, you usually have to arrange for an extra pension yourself.
Find out how much pension you will receive
Every Dutch citizen can check their pension provisions on the Mijnpensioenoverzicht.nl ('my pension overview') website. You need to log in with DigiD. It lists your AOW entitlement plus any pension schemes and funds in which you participate (or have participated). That way, you can find out quickly how much pension you will receive when you retire.
Continue your existing pension scheme
Did you work as an employee before you started as a self-employed professional without staff (zzp’er)? It may be possible to continue your old pension scheme for another 10 years, including all additional coverage, such as survivor benefit (nabestaandenpensioen in Dutch). Or get an exemption from contributions if you can no longer work due to disability. Ask the pension service provider if this applies to your pension scheme. If you want to continue participating in your employee pension scheme, you must apply within 9 months of leaving employment. And the voluntary continuation must start no later than 15 months after the dismissal. The premium is tax-deductible for a maximum of 10 years as an income provision expense.
Check if you are obliged to participate in a pension scheme
In some professions and industries, participation in a pension scheme is mandatory. Are you an entrepreneur in one of the following types of companies? Then you must participate:
- painting companies, glaziers and finishing companies
- plasterers, installation companies, natural stone companies, and terrazzo and flooring companies
Do you practice one of the following occupations? Then you must participate in your occupational pension fund.
- physical therapists
- general practitioners
- medical specialists
- (marine) pilots
- (candidate) notaries and actuaries
- rowers in the Port of Rotterdam Area
Saving for an annuity or bank savings
One way of supplementing your future pension is taking out an annuity insurance or annuity savings scheme. Insurance companies, banks, and investment brokers offer such services. They will invest your money and, once you stop working, pay out your savings plus profits in instalments.
There are different types of annuities:
- for a fixed period of time
- that end upon your death
- that your next of kin receive when you die
Which is most suitable for you depends on your needs and situation. Discuss this with an adviser.
The premiums you pay are sometimes tax deductible. This means you pay less tax at the moment you pay into a scheme. You only pay tax when you receive the payments. These are then taxed for income tax purposes in box 1. The insurer, bank, or investment institution deducts income tax on the payments. Use the Tax Administration's calculation tool (in Dutch) to calculate the maximum amount you may deduct from your income each year.
Saving or investing yourself
You can also set aside money for later. You can do so, for example, by using a savings account or by investing money. The money you save yourself falls into box 3 for income tax purposes. Up to a certain amount, you do not have to pay tax on your assets (tax-free allowance). If you save for yourself, your money is not fixed. You can do what you want with it. Do you want to start investing? Then it is a good idea to get advice.
The retirement reserve (FOR) has ended
The fiscal retirement reserve (fiscale oudedagsreserve, FOR in Dutch) enabled you to put aside a part of your business profit (maximum 9.8%) for retirement purposes. As of 1 January 2023, this has ended. If you previously used the retirement reserve, you can put the accrued amount into another pension product. Or you can leave the accrued retirement reserve in place. Learn more on the KVK website.
Take part in a collective pension scheme
One way of supplementing your pension is voluntary participation in a collective pension scheme. Banks, insurance companies, and investment brokers offer such group pension schemes. There are also several schemes especially set up for zzp’ers.
Consult a pension adviser or financial planner
If you have difficulty finding out what your best options are when it comes to your retirement and pension, consult a pension advisor or financial planner. You can find a list on the Advieskeuze.nl website (in Dutch). An expert can explain the options and consequences.
Doing business after retirement
Will you reach retirement age soon but you do not want to end your business just yet? If so, you can continue working. However, keep in mind some important points to consider.
Statistics: self-employed without employees aged 65 and older
Number of self-employed professionals without employees aged 65 to 69 and 70 to 74 years.