Burning the future

I’ve been a janitor for about two and a half years now. Roughly a year ago, the Secret Ninja Cleaner Company brought in a pension scheme. I let it ride and have now accrued a pension with them that would pay a frankly risible £14 a year. Enough for a half-decent low-end whisky blend at current UK prices. Once a year!

Fortunately my previous working life was rather better-paid and a lot longer. In just under five years I get a pension that, while not being a ‘travel the world in a gold Rolls-Royce’ pension, is certainly enough to live on and have a bit of fun. Also I have no intention of stopping working at something or other. Ever. I like to be doing things, preferably new and unusual things.

So while my immediate future is a bit of a nightmare, after that it’s going to be plain sailing.

Along with that pension comes an initial and reasonably substantial lump sum. It’s not going to turn me into a small, pale Mr. T covered in gold chains and attitude but it will definitely achieve someone’s dream. If I haven’t managed to achieve it earlier (and all stops are now pulled out to make it happen much earlier), that lump sum will get me and Broken Girl somewhere she’s always wanted to be, and with a good chunk of cash spare to bail her out when she tries to smuggle home a penguin.

I’m over 55 so could take advantage of the Gubblement’s new con trick to make us all penniless pensioners dependent on a State that just wants us to die. I have no intention of doing so.

There was an article in the news (can’t find it now) about the terrible pension providers insisting that people take financial advice and might not even then release their money if the advisor says it’s a stupid idea. It’s their money! Why won’t those evil pension men let them have it?

Well, mostly because of PPI. Personal protection insurance. Banks and other insurers are still paying that back. This time they want to be well covered when those 55-60 year olds turn 70 and are living in a tatty tent eating cold cat food. They don’t want those vagrant senile delinquents baying for compo.

Yes, you can pay an independent financial advisor to tell you that ripping out your pension is a stupid idea but here’s some free advice from someone neither independent nor financial.

It’s a stupid idea.

I am in good health and on no medication of any kind. I can split an apple in two in less than a second after being handed it and can peel an orange so the skin drops off in one piece while the other hand is typing. I move heavy steel-based tables with a shove and get through spaces few others can follow me through, even if they are the same size as me. It might not always be this way.

At my age I have to recognise it could, at any time, all fall apart in a matter of days. And now I have to think of someone else. If I die then whoever I’m with will continue to get half my pension for the rest of their lives too. How would it feel to know I’d left them with much less than I could have, just for a bit of instant gratification?

More immediately, how will it feel to have to live on cold cat food and dry biscuits at 60 because I’d spent money on fees and financial advisors in the past? How will it feel to say ‘Sorry, dear, we can’t do that’ knowing we could have?

My pension stays put. It’s the future and my future is planned now. After all this time I finally know what I want to do with my life.

And I am not going to burn it.


18 thoughts on “Burning the future

  1. My thinking is, my paltry pension will pay less than the State thinks I need to stay alive, so they’ll top it up to starvation level; which I would have got anyway. So I would get just as much if I disappear the lump sum now. Whatever that is.
    I haven’t done any calculations, or even enquired about the figures.

    Like you, I’m fit enough to carry on, and my job is actually quite satisfying. But I have so many other projects that work is a nuisance. I’m 65 in January, which puts me just inside some sort of advantageous bracket, apparently.

    I’ll think about it tomorrow, as always.


  2. After many years as the jannie I work harder now I’ve retired because I’m enjoying what I do – getting down and dirty with vehicles and machinery in my son’s business. I also don’t have a monstrous regiment of “managers” blindly imposing rules invented by tossers far away who have never done the job in their lives but think they know how it should be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We still have those managers far away. Our shop just passed a cleaning audit with a clear win – and we don’t do what we’re told at all.

      Those who do as they are told are failing audits.

      Management’s logical response would be to look at the ones who are passing and tell the others to do the same things.

      Management’s actual response is to make up new rules which we ignore and keep passing audits 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Never underestimate the value of ‘contentment’.

    Simply knowing that your pension is visible on the horizon, means a current employer has ‘less’ hold than on a mere wage slave.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had the choice of a pension plus a lump sum, or a somewhat bigger pension. I took the bigger pension as I had no particular use for a lump sum, such as paying off a mortgage. Strangely, most of my colleagues who retired around the same time took the lump sum and the smaller pension using arguments like having to live twelve years before making a “profit”, clearly terrible pessimists. So, twenty years later, I’m in “profit” and hope to continue for a good few years yet!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ”……insisting that people take financial advice…..”

    This may help some folk out there.
    I had a very small pension started in the mists of time and promptly frozen before the mists had started to clear.
    I recently took this as a small amount lump sum.
    The forms required repeatedly state you need financial advice and on my form, and this is the kicker, after asking for my financial advisors name and address it was stated that if this was left blank NO payment whatsoever would be made.
    As the cost of this advice would obviously be much more than the actual payout, I questioned this by phone.
    Guess what? What it means is if this area is left blank, or the No Financial Advice box is ticked, the pension company will assume they don’t need to pay any commission to any financial advisors and also admitted this was poorly worded on the form.
    Basically, they aren’t interested if you get advice or not – it’s, as you rightly say, a bit o’ bottom cover, but one has to wonder how many folk are panicked into seeking advice thus keeping the money-go-round well fuelled.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. that lump sum will get me and Broken Girl somewhere she’s always wanted to be, and with a good chunk of cash spare to bail her out when she tries to smuggle home a penguin

    Bless you both. Go to it rightly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. And when you’ve got the penguin home, LI, don’t forget to invite me to the barbeque. I’ve never eaten penguin, but I bet it’s yummy! 🙂

    Having spent my life flitting around the world doing many and varied jobs, now I’ve hit 65 (66 tomorrow, in fact), my pension isn’t anything to shout about. Fortunately when I had my last business in UK, which did quite well, on the advice of my accountant I paid a bunch of NI contributions that I’d missed when in other parts of the world, so I at least get a full state pension. Which of course is not enough to live on, so I’m currently (somewhat late in the day) creating a situation here and in Asia that will supplement that and give me a reasonably comfortable situation when I finally do actually retire.

    That’s the plan, anyway! :~]

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree 99% of the time with all your posts LegIron.
    Unfortunately this is the 1% where I disagree.
    I am no expert on pensions & I everyone’s situation is different. Personally if I was in your shoes I would play this differently.
    Just ask yourself……
    Do you trust the Government?
    Are the British Government flush with money or laden with Debt?
    How exactly do you think the UK will get out of this Debt?
    Just think over those 3 questions.

    Now let me show you that the wheels are already in motion.

    A recent story about the USA setting up for possible pension fund confiscation. (using the ohhh too familiar reason of “to keep them safe”.

    Too much debt in Poland so they confiscated the private pensions of their citizens.

    Here is an article that lists several other Governments dabbling into private pension funds.

    But maybe it won’t happen here?
    Maybe our debts are not as bad and this Government won’t have to cease private pensions?

    These figures don’t even include the unfunded liabilities our Government has to pay out. (like state pensions) If you include all the debt plus other stuff the Government is liable to pay, then this figure is much higher. If interest rates rise significantly then were f*ked.

    For me it is not so bad, because I have been following this for a few years now.
    I don’t have any pensions and even opted out of the Government run pension scheme.
    The figures they were going to pay were so low it was a damn joke (even though I would be paying for 30 years or more) and to get a similar figure payment in retirement I was quoted at £950 per month. I only get £1300 per month so it was a no-brain er really.
    Add in the fact that I smoke, drink and have a diet high in salt, fat, sugar, caffeine and just about everything that’s enjoyable/unhealthy……. then the chances of reaching pension age is not great. Also I have a feeling by time I get to pension age, the age limit will probably be around 75.
    I fully expect to have to work until I die and will not see much of any retirement.

    Instead of paying into a pension…..I invest a small portion each week into things I can hold in my hand and the Govt cannot touch. Gold and Silver will retain their value. I have a small stash, enough for retirement (if i wanted to retire) and enough to leave the Mrs and kids. I also spent some of my retirement money on fine wines and a large stash of alcohol and baccy. Whiskey, Vodka, Rum, my cellar looks like a duty free shop. 🙂
    It has a long shelve life and I could sell it if I ever got really skint. Alternately I could just have a very boozy smokky retirement knowing I have the good stuff stashed away. If I pass away before I drink/smoke it all, then the Mrs can sell it or at very least can organise a bloody good wake.
    I don’t trust the Govt and would rather take things into my own hands.

    I know it’s a different situation for you and I hope everything works out well for you.
    Just wanted to give you the heads up on what may happen.


  9. Bit late on this one but in view of your later posts I take it you know that your wife of 30 years will have a claim on your pension? a friend recently divorced after 30 years and she said her husbands pension was they most valuable asset, worth more than the house which was almost paid for in Edinburgh. I don’t know if there are ways round this, I hope so as it sounds like she has taken enough from you. My very best wishes to you both.


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