Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

There will be cold comfort in retirement

What a drag it is growing old ... Suddenly it's looking very bleak for those with retirement a distant but looming prospect on the horizon.

Remember all that stuff in the Eighties about "the leisure culture" and how we'd all have 24-hour a week jobs and quit work at 50?

The reality? Employees have to work every hour of the day and night (I hear you, Blackberry!) and the only thing that's about to pack up and head into the sunset is our sense of hope.

Public sector workers strike about their pensions. Private sector workers are bilious with envy because their pensions are worse.

But who cares? It looks like most of us will have to work until at least 66. (How long until it's 70?)

The private pensions we were encouraged to take out during the good times seem to be worth about six tins of beans a week. Endowments?

We could keep a small fire roaring for days with sadly worded letters regretting to have to warn us of shortfalls.

But sure we'll still have the house - if only because the housing market slump seems a permanent fact of life. So much for that plan then.

We'll only have the house, however, if we're fortunate enough never to need long-term care - in which case time to put the For Sale sign up. (Mind you, if reports are to be believed, the powers-that-be are thinking that we should only have to stump up the first £30,000-£50,000 for personal care ... not all bad news, eh?)

And you thought the only problem you'd have in your later years would be finding a comfy enough cardi?

Ach, I'm sure the politicians have it all well in hand.

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