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{26/10/2012}   Not having a pension

I do not have and have never had a pension plan.  Until a few years ago I dismissed all encouragement to get a pension on the grounds I was far too young to worry about pensions.  While people have lost a lot of money on pensions, I do increasingly feel a bit jittery about the prospect of retiring and sitting in my bungalow/static caravan wrapped in every duvet and blanket I possess in an attempt to keep warm without having to turn the heating on or up for fear of not being able to pay my bills.  It’s quite a scary prospect, along with the fact I won’t have children to support me in my old age and whose warm homes I won’t be invited to!

From my early 20s I had always been adamant I would retire by 40 so I could travel the world while I was still fit and healthy, live somewhere I wanted to live without having to consider work and commuting and write novels based on my travels.  I suspect that over the past 15 years or so I would have needed to be somewhat more proactive, ambitious and driven to achieve retirement at 40.  So with that ruled out, I realise that planning for my old age is something I should address, as my mum often reminds me on the off chance I’ve forgotten.  But how on earth do I go about it and why would I want to have less money every month now while I have all sorts of plans on ideas on how I’d want to spend it to enjoy my life now.  It’s a rotten dilemma and I know it’s an issue for everyone and I do know I should consider my retirement more seriously.

Some years ago I decided that a mortgage, then eventually owning a property outright would be a pension of sorts.  But I’ve recently been reminded that getting a mortgage after 40 will be more difficult based on the retirement age being 65 and most mortgages being for a 25-year duration.  Yikes.  It all seems a bit harsh and I am realising there are merits to having a mortgage over renting in that you should at least get a house after 25 years with no monthly rent/mortgage.  As a friend of mine would say, sucking air between her teeth and moving her head to one side, “Mmm, tricksy”.  Indeed.

I know nothing about seeking independent, impartial advice on pensions or what kind of pension to go for and I don’t feel in a position to start contributing to one now (actually, I’d far rather just put some money under a mattress every month than trust any financial institution), so please don’t optimistically read on thinking I am going to come up with a solution!  I would actually far rather invest in something, ie something I could sell that would at least keep its value, than gamble on a pension.  If only I could have become a property mogul about fifteen years ago.  I’ve always loved the idea of doing up houses and letting them to people like me who would rather pay a bit more rent to get a home rather than merely paying into somebody else’s retirement fund.  Not helpful, but at least writing this has got me thinking about sensible financial things; this is progress indeed.

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