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.