The story that the BBC is consulting its staff on what basically amounts to the end of its final salary pension scheme has naturally been whirling around my mind recently.
It’s the latest in a long line of final salary scheme closures, mostly in the commercial sector. The BBC’s move is seen by some as a blueprint for what the Coalition Government might do to other public sector pension schemes.
The reason why it’s been whirling round my mind is because it’s the first time I’ve really thought about the money I’ll need to live when I retire.
I am, it has to be said, further ahead of the game than some on this one. As soon as I could start paying into a work pension, I did, joining aged 22 just over 10 years ago. I started early partly due to my mum’s constant mentioning of it at the time, and because I would occasionally watch programmes like Working Lunch and almost everytime they mentioned pensions, they would say the earlier you could start, the better and the more you’d have at retirement.
At the age of 22 it all seemed a lifetime away, but I’ve always been practical and – shall we say – cautious about money (I’m no miser counting my pennies, but I don’t throw money away unnecessarily) so it seemed to make sense. So by the time I retire, my thought was that I’d be all right financially.
Suddenly I found my mind swirling round with such thoughts as “How much does it actually cost to live?” combined with “How much WILL it actually cost to live?”, “What savings will I have?”, “Will there even be a state pension by then?” and the biggie… “When on earth will I even get to retire?”
And that last one’s a moot point. Retirement ages keep increasing. We’re told populations are getting older; the country can’t afford too many retired people.
Up until relatively recently in history, people pretty much worked til they dropped – is the same going to happen to us 30 somethings?