Recently in the newspapers, pensions have come under attack, by the managing director of the oil company, and the financial institutions who are saying that due to the change in the tax system, people will need to save more per month to maintain their expectations when they retire. I find also there is an overall feeling people like me should have died long ago, we are a burden on taxpayers, on the health service and goodness knows what. My generation and the one following me were, in general, frugal, hated debt and saved for their old age. We were never ones to blow our own trumpet, but today I propose to make an exception. In the 80s when a lot of us retired, we left a sound infrastructure, the roads were good, the water supply was reasonably clean, and in most cases the sewerage system was working well. From what I’ve seen I can’t say the same today. We had fought yet another war to end all wars, and for five unpleasant years had endured hardship. We were the ones who inaugurated the health service, the RSPB, the RSPCA, and innumerable other ways in which to respect the environment and its inhabitants. It is probable that we were responsible to some extent for global warming, but nothing like what has followed since.
Go into any small restaurant at coffee time or lunchtime, it is not the shop assistants or the general workforce who are eating there, it’s the Wrinklies spending their savings. Go into Marks any day but Saturday and Sunday, and probably the Wrinklies are in the majority. We may have free bus travel, but at the end of the travel it is we who are supporting the centre of town shops, because we have the money, and the time to browse. It is the modern generation, with a certain amount of lack of responsibility, who are allowing some children to run wild, and so having to drive others, nose to tail back and forth to school. It is not the Wrinklies who are filling the car parks of the supermarkets to overflowing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. All this local motoring is probably the biggest carbon foot print of them all
The Wrinklies in their youth had not the expectations, nor the desires that are prevalent today, with the result that it was much easier to save, especially as it had been ground into us with the first shilling we were given by a generous auntie. I believe, as you would expect that I would, that on the whole, allowing for the fact that there are some who have no savings, I believe the majority of us rather than being a nuisance will show when we have gone that we were an essential to the economics of our families and the country, and were not half the drain we are alleged to be. I wonder if that will be the case in 20 years?
Calculating Roughly on a population of 60 million, an average life expectancy of 75 years, I look at the prospects if people don’t save. The babies, schoolchildren, advanced education, and unemployed, together amount to approximately 25%. Old age pensioners amount to 20%. So the employed, the ones providing the source of income for the country, are only 55%. Currently I suggest more than half of pensioners own their own houses, at least half have savings over and above that, so there is liquidity, and tax income from this area. If however, the level of savings drops dramatically, as it would seem logical, then in 20 years time the old age pensioners will not be a source of tax revenue, they will be a further drain on the Exchequer. The world, let alone the UK, may not be so economically buoyant, so all the immigrants will have gone back to where they came from, and the skills that we should have been building up, instead of depending upon them, will be lost to a great extent. I’m Jobe’s comforter I know, but the question is am I right or even half right, or is this just yet more rubbish? I believe that saving, stable pensions, and more general stability for the outlook for the young and even the not so young, is essential if we are to maintain the sort of standard of living that we all wish.