The Price of Qualification

From the day that I began working at the age of sixteen – some 44 years ago – I’ve paid a national insurance contribution every month in the belief that when I finally reach a time that I can no longer work there will be a state pension burly enough to adequately subsidise my income until my dying day. That at least was the theory. Additionally, for forty two of those working years I was lead to believe that my official state retirement age would be sixty five. The government has now seen fit to make me wait an extra year for my weekly pension of £152.66 (approximately £610 per month). This has been based on 43 qualifying years. I do understand the issues. After all, everyone has had to make adjustments: even financial sacrifices, to ensure that an ever increasing elderly population are able to afford to live in relative comfort through their final years. What confuses me slightly is that it appears that very few if any youngsters during the last decade or so began their working life at the age of sixteen; indeed, from September 2013 the school leaving age rose to seventeen and is rising to eighteen this year. Many will then go on to a life in university where they will study for a degree that will hopefully see them, eventually, gainfully employed at a minimum age of around twenty one: if they’re really lucky. Now, bear with me on this one. Given all of the above, at what age can these people expect to retire on a liveable pension? Perhaps the state would like our children and grandchildren to still be fully employed at the age of seventy five or eighty. Ah, but then they too will have children of their own desperate to find a job. Education about pension provision, private or state is crucial, otherwise the whole family may well have to rally round to help grandma and granddad pay off their student loans.


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