Pensions or poverty

21 years ago my dad was lucky enough to be able to retire early at the age of 55. He had been frugal and careful with his savings and investments, worked hard after leaving school, and has since been able to enjoy and do the things he wants to do, holidays when he wants and he is still in quite good health with hopefully many good years ahead.

A few years ago though, Gordon Brown and Labour, decided that with longer life expectancy, that many more people would have to retire at 68. Now a few months into a new government and we are now told that we must work until 70. Interestingly Italy have increased their retirement age from 57 to 61, and France are trying to increase theirs to 62.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm lucky enough to have a job I enjoy and always wanted to do, hopefully I can carry on working, though none of us know how employable we will be in 30 or more years. Many people, do not enjoy their work, or have very manual and tiring jobs so these extra years of working could annoy them intensely. Apparently half of children born in Britain in 2010 are likely to live to be 100, with people in their mid 50s living to an average of 88, so we can see that there is a need to have the funds to pay for longer retirement.

Lobbyists, consumer groups and insurance companies inform us that there is a lack of pension saving in this country, also I believe that there may be some form of means tested pension in 30 years time (perhaps less). It may be, for those of us that can put aside savings and investments for when we retire, that we need the equivalent of £200,000 to £300,000 as some guide to our personnel pension fund, whether self-invested or through a fund-manager. In the current roller-coaster investment background, such a figure for many of us seems a tall-order.

With so many uncertainties about each of our futures, job uncertainty, taxation, inflation, possible property re-values, the most important being good health, we must all do what we can to prepare, save and invest what we can, though this is likely to be difficult.