Statec has compiled a “reference budget” specifically designed for seniors aged 65 and above. Photo: Shutterstock

Statec has compiled a “reference budget” specifically designed for seniors aged 65 and above. Photo: Shutterstock

Statec, the statistics agency of Luxembourg, has revealed that a minimum monthly reference budget--specifically tailored for retired individuals aged 65 and above who are fully independent, in good health and residing in rented apartments--stands at €2,551 per month for a single senior citizen, while for senior couples, it amounts to €3,471 per month.

On Wednesday 14 June, Statec unveiled the development of a comprehensive budget called the “reference budget,” specifically curated to meet the unique needs of senior citizens. This budget adheres to a European methodology and encompasses around 10 distinct categories, carefully addressing various aspects of senior living.

Why a reference budget?

The primary objective of the reference budget is twofold.

First, it ensures that the basic needs of senior citizens are met, including aspects such as healthy nutrition and adequate hygiene.

Second, it aims to promote active participation and engagement within society, thereby mitigating social isolation.

Extensive scientific research attests to the physical and mental well-being benefits associated with maintaining an active lifestyle during old age.

What is included in the budget?

Among the various categories or “baskets” of the reference budget, the food and social life categories hold significant importance for senior couples.

The monthly allocation for the food basket is €500, emphasising a nutritious diet tailored to the unique dietary requirements of the elderly, which typically involve reduced energy intake.

The social life basket is allocated €579 monthly and encompasses participation in physical, cultural and lifelong learning activities. Additionally, it includes provisions for catering expenses and a holiday budget.

In recognition of the assumed good health of the elderly individuals, the health basket, amounting to €47 per month for senior couples, is comparatively modest. This basket considers common ailments such as flu and colds, as well as age-related health concerns such as joint, dental or vision issues.

Comparatively, the reference budget for senior couples exceeds that of working adults aged 45 by €434.

How it compares to poverty risk threshold

As the data for the poverty risk threshold is limited to 2020, Statec calculated the reference budget for senior citizens to its 2020 equivalent. The findings reveal that the reference budget surpassed the poverty risk threshold by €176 for a single senior adult but was €19 lower for a senior couple.

This implies that a single senior individual with an income at the poverty risk threshold would not be able to fully meet their basic needs as defined by the reference budget.

Is the minimum old-age pension sufficient?

As of 1 January 2023, the minimum old-age pension, granted to individuals who have contributed full-time for a minimum of 40 years, amounted to €2,061.25 per month for a single person.

However, this sum is insufficient to cover the reference budget for a single individual.

In the case of a senior couple, if both individuals were to receive this minimum old-age pension, they would have €4,123 per month at their disposal, surpassing the reference budget.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that this scenario is improbable in reality, as many senior women from the current generation have not worked full-time for 40 years.

The full report (in French) is available .