Finance

“National Insurance Pension (Old Age Pension)”

I suppose that this is something that affects most retired people. The Government likes to call it a “benefit” which implies a handout, but I worked for well over the number of qualifying years for mine and earned every penny.

During this time I paid extra into the kitty both as “graduated pension” and “State earnings related ” (SERPS), but more of that later. Many of us helped to rebuild the country after the war, working for a better life for ourselves and our dependants, yet the Government refused to allow us to participate in what was rightfully ours by changing the basis on which OAPs were paid.

Pensions used to be tied to average earnings so as to allow the pensioner to enjoy the same benefits as workers, but this was changed to tie pensions to the official inflation figure. This has allowed our pensions to drop behind average earnings to a marked extent. Several bodies are working to try to redress this, and now we have a half-promise from the Govenment. It’ll probably be too late for me though!

“Inflation varies according to the circumstances of the individual.”

If you can afford to buy new furniture, washing machines, cars etc. inflation for you is low and may be negative, but if you can only afford to buy essentials these are the things which increase in price more rapidly and your inflation will be over the official figure.

Inflation is different for each individual. This is why we must work to get back to average earnings, because these are what dictate prices. Pensioners are falling back all the time. Government handouts are not the answer.

Pension Forecast “

I don’t know why the Government is getting so worked up about its capability to provide pensions in the future as the aged population increases.

Many of the present recipients of state pensions went through the period when food was rationed during and after the war. They also took plenty of exercise; not many families had cars and the best way to get about was to walk and cycle.

Later generations have been nurtured on junk foods, watch too much television and don’t take enough exercise. They will not live long over pensionable age so I see the number of pensioners going down as a percentage of the population.

“Benefits”

I cannot stress too highly that you should investigate and claim all benefits to which you are entitled. Over the last few years definitions of who is eligible for benefits has changed. A few years ago even modest savings excluded one from benefits. This has changed and therefore your eligibility for benefit may have changed.

There are a wide range of benefits available; my advice is either to visit you local Age UK or to check them out online. You might be pleasantly surprised.

If you’re in sheltered accommodation ask your Scheme manager to help.

“Cash back”

Every time you make a transaction in a store with a debit card the cashier asks whether you would like a “cashback”. Have you ever wondered why? Stores pay to bank paper money; the more that passes through their bank the more they pay.

When you take a cashback, effectively they are depositing cash for free. It’s good for them and convenient for you.

copyright 2006