Are you relying on the State to look after you in your dotage?

15 March 2012

old manIt’s a fact. We are all living longer, and pensioners are notoriously hard to kill*, which means that pretty soon the country will be overrun with silver haired layabouts. Or will we? The current generation of pensioners are supposed to be the last of the cruisers, owing to their final salary pensions schemes and, unless they retired in the last few years, decent annuity rates. So what will happen when you, or I, get to retirement age? Will we ever be able to afford to retire or will we work into our graves?

My own State Pension age has increased three times and I am still young (ish). If the changes continue, I will be in my eighties before the Government coughs up a penny of my many thousands of NI contributions over the years. And given the increased number of pensioners there will be then, how much I will get is anyone’s guess- we all know that current employees are funding current pensioners- and if the oiks that make up the yoof of today don’t start earning some cash to keep me, I could be in retirement trouble.

So naturally I have made oodles of private pension provision with all that spare money everyone has lying around these days- why not just tie up the money you don’t have for another 40-50 years? No? But it's not just me- new research suggests that almost two thirds of people in the UK (65%) are relying on the State Pension to keep them when they are old.

The survey also found that one in seven women were making no provision all in the expectation that their husband would keep them in retirement. Only 5% of men, on the other hand, were anticipating being kept by their wife’s provision. However, the survey also showed that those furthest from retirement, those under 35 and facing a retirement age of at least 68, are less likely to expect so much, with only 44% saying they would rely on State pension, compared with 84% of the over 55s. Only 4% of people thought the Government’s new semi-compulsory private pension scheme NEST would keep them.

But people are not completely ignoring their own advancing years. 47% of respondents said they had some private pension provision, and in line with reports of ISA popularity, 25% believe their ISA pots will be their main source of income in retirement.

Karen Barrett, chief executive at said: "Planning for retirement is one of the most important things we can do to ensure we are financially secure in the long-term … but not every option is right for everyone and it is important to realise that simply relying on the state to provide for you is not going to be enough.”

While Karen probably has a vested interest in you turning to her for pensions advice, the fact remains that if you are planning to live off the State in your old age, you may want to start binge eating now, to build up a layer of blubber to see you through the long cold winters when you won’t be able to afford heating. Or food. Or possibly NHS healthcare…

* this may not actually be a fact. Bitterwallet does not condone geriatricide.

TOPICS:   Economy   Banking


  • Atilla
    geriatricide - that's a big word for this site.
  • Phil
    Is this any surprise? I'm 30 and by the look of it I'll be 80 before I can retire? So whats the point in a half decent pension when I'm 80 - its not like I'll be able to enjoy it unlike a 60 year old still able to enjoy life a little. Might as well eat/drink/enjoy well now and hope I drop before I retire.
  • Alex B.
    The state pension hasn't been enough to live comfortably on for decades. I started working in 1995 and have always paid into a private or employers pension when one was available to me, and made voluntary contributions to attempt to catch up for when this was not the case. Anyone who, over the last 20 years, has treated the state pension as anything more than a top-up to their own provision has really just been fooling themselves. To many people, saving (whether it's into something long-term like a pension, or something instant-access, like a cash ISA) is something optional, but really, it's as essential along the same lines as tax and rent/mortgage. As well as providing some degree of long-term security, it also means one can ride out unplanned purchases and periods of unemployment or ill health, take advantage of the best money-saving deals as and when they arise, and avoid unnecessary insurances such as for phones and other gadgets.
  • Dick
    When I'm 50 I plan to get loads of women pregnant, and keep the girl children. By the time I'm 65 I will have enough hookers to rent out to keep me living in luxury in my retirement.
  • Boris
    That is a fine plan Dick - you should contact @DiscountCrack for some advice so you can plany your income properly. (#spon). If I were not filthy rich I would go for armed robbery just like in that "Birds of a Feather" but with old robbers and fitter birds. I am sure that old folks prison is better equiped than old folks nursing homes.
  • Zleet
    Wouldn't worry. The way the NHS is heading we won't be lasting till pension age anyway.
  • Mike H.
    I'm spending my pension now, I'm going to get a BMW/Audi driver locked up for killing me when I reach a certain age. Who wants to be an old cunt?* *pictured above
  • Kevin
    I think people approaching these ages are still people who could have done rather well out of the housing boom so are still asset rich. You can get a retirement flat for maybe only £45,000 (funny how they don't offer these cheap flats to young people) so lots of spare cash to live on potentially floating about.

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