Michaela Merz

Vreni and her story

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We three girls always met at the same café. Here we also met Vreni. Vreni worked in the café and was incredibly pretty. Blond hair, blue eyes, a perfect trim figure and a stunning laugh. She was always extraordinarily friendly and accommodating. We appreciated her and her service highly and reflected this in our tips. We got to know more and more about her. She was the youngest of a large farmer’s family. She had 5 older siblings, but not a complete education. She had two jobs in cafes, which together made up 100%, but no pension fund contributions, because neither job exceeded the necessary threshold.

We recommended her to talk to both employers, because it would have been possible voluntarily to insure her wage in one of these two pension funds. Neither of the two employers was prepared to do this for her. But knowledge is not worth much, when the statutory minimum is unfavourable for part-time employees and those with several jobs.

At least we have the 3rd pillar a, the voluntary tax privileged old age saving, and under our supervision Vreni very quickly implemented this, when she said that she preferred to save for her old age than go on holiday. All three of us were very impressed by her long-term planning horizon.

One day she came with the news that she was pregnant and was going to marry. Vreni beamed with happiness and we were pleased for her. After all, this year she was forty. We saw her stomach grow and then she disappeared for a short maternity leave. When she came back, she seemed tired and listless and her laughter came less often. The daily stress with numerous chores had caught up with her. She struggled on but our time for a chat became ever shorter.

One day she came and seemed tired and uncertain. Her husband, who had gone on vacation alone to Kosovo, had not come back. He telephoned her and informed her that he was not coming back and was remaining in his homeland. She tried to convince him, but he didn’t really listen. There was no room for the two of them in his plans.

She was left alone without support with her young daughter and a low wage. An unjust difficult fate. For material matters, the social welfare can deal with some. But emotionally she is left alone to her own resources.

I would be happier if I could tell funnier stories with a happy end. But Vreni’s story has not yet ended and a happy end may come. I wish it would for Vreni’s sake.

Image source: Radka Schöne  / pixelio.de

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