Posts Tagged ‘two’

Sixty (two)

We now slip quietly into November, the clocks have gone back and the leaves have finally started to fall off the trees. I rarely see leaves on trees on my December birthday but the actual ‘drop’ gets closer to it year by year.

Must be global warming they say, but I first heard about global warning back in 1967 at college, it’s taken some time to recognise that hasn’t it?

Nevertheless, although I really hate winter, there’s a comforting regularity about it. Something you can expect to happen that happens! Unlike pension planning these days.

Not that I’m ready for retiring yet, not by a long chalk, but as much of my working life has been in self-employment, I’ve had to provide for my own pension whenever I could and whenever the law allowed me. These ‘private’ pensions mature at 60. I never expected much so I’m not as disappointed as I could be with what looks like coming to me in December.

Luckily, I’ve also spent almost twenty years in education and 15/80ths (which looks like being my share because of large periods of part-time work) of a teacher’s pension is better than a poke in the eye. However, due to market turbulence my private pension pot is tiny and the cost of annuities (which the law says I HAVE TO BUY) is huge. After this week’s stock market shocks, the value looks like being even worse than I’d hoped. Ten years ago, I might have expected something like 10-11% return on my pension pot; today I might struggle to get 4-5%.

And once again, I have to ask – what did I do wrong? Whenever I could, and could afford, I paid into private pensions. When I first started teaching (part-time) the law prevented me from supplementing my pension (which took some time to gain access to as I was prevented from joining the TPP until that situation was eventually overturned by European courts) with a private one – despite me being self-employed at the time. It was one or the other.

Then the current crash came along and they started messing with the national retirement age too. I may just be able to retire with a pension at 65, but that remains to be confirmed: at one time it looked like I would fall into the ‘retire at 66’ band. I won’t get a bus-pass until I’m almost 63 because of the sliding scale imposed some time ago. But I hear that prescriptions will be free (but for how long?) whoo ooo.

I suppose we get used to winter as it just comes once a year but pension time and retirement only comes once in a lifetime and, apart from making sure we have one, we have very little control.

Now, please remind me, what are we celebrating with all the bonfires? Ah – really? Now there’s a good idea!

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