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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

November 24, 2005

Vexed by Pensions

The subject of the pensions divide is a vexing one, isn't it? For 9 years I was a civil servant, with a final-salary pension in the works, but since then my retirement prospects have gone steadily downhill.

For example, whereas 18-21 year-old students get National Insurance credits for their time at University, so-called "mature" students do not. So much for life-long learning. Lesson learned: I have a seven year gap in my NI contributions record, because I did too many degrees too late in life.

I was offered the opportunity to join one of these modern personal pensions a couple of years ago. I worked out that if I paid in £200 per month from now until retirement age, I'd get an estimated £300 per month pension. Something like that. Now, £200 per month is a lot of money to find, and the thing about it is, if you could scrape it together, there are any number of other ways to work it.

Paying an additional £200 on your mortgage, for example, could see you pay it back very early, and save yourself an enormous sum in interest. We all know, in the end, that owning a house outright is a safer bet (and all savings are an elaborate form of gambling) than trusting your life savings to a bunch of coke-addled, selfish, stupid, greedy, braying 20-somethings who panic buy and sell stocks and shares for a living.

Three days of cold weather, for example, and gas prices go ballistic. The price doubling, and more, not because of real shortages, or any real prospect of shortages in the short term, but because one bunch of people got greedy and another bunch of people flew into a crack-fueled panic.

in fact, there's a very real chance that you could start saving into a personal pension - doing without a whole host of instant gratification for many, many years, while all around you were enjoying themselves - only to see your entire life savings wiped out by that kind of panic on the eve of your retirement. One day you've got a nest egg, and the next day you've got egg on your face.

I will not trust my future to the kind of people who buy Porsches with their bonuses and can - legally! - sell stock they haven't got on the basis that the price will go down and they can make a profit. You try that on eBay and you'll get arrested, I expect.

Anyway, let's face it. If they're telling you now you'll have to work till you are 67... Think about it: a decade or so ago people - teachers, for example - were regularly choosing to retire in their 50s. Early Retirement were the pension buzz-words of the Thatcher years. Now we're told that early retirement isn't an option, and that we'll have to work till we're 67. In ten years time, it'll be 70. By the time I'm 60, it will be 80, and so on.

I've still got those 9 years of Civil Service pension contributions, mind. Don't think I won't be coming for that, which will allow me to buy a copy of the Beano every week.

3 Comments:

  • I'm in exactly the same boat. Except my civil service pension is only 6 years' worth.

    Since then I've contributed bog all to anything for precisely the same reason: pensions are fucking expensive.

    Likewise, my dad saved up quite a lot of money and got paid by Boots to retire early because they were downsizing at the time.

    So he had a lot of money to sort out, and he went to see the people at the bank.

    Of course they were very friendly and helpful. My parents didn't understand that, like attractive receptionists, they're nice to you because they're paid to be.

    Even now my mum thinks that the people at the bank are her friends rather than salesmen. She doesn't even know they get commission when she gives them her money to gamble with.

    Anyway, they advised my dad to invest in some "sure-fire" scheme they had, and, pretty much within a couple of months, he'd lost over £30k because of unfortunate gambling on the part of their investors.

    By Blogger SimonHolyHoses, at 2:39 am  

  • You're prolly better off buying a Les Paul and getting Eric or Jimmy to sign it.

    By Blogger bot37363838, at 2:50 am  

  • Now there's a thought. They're probably not long left for this world either. I'd better get my skates on.

    By Blogger SimonHolyHoses, at 3:09 am  

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