I was walking the dogs yesterday afternoon and cursing to myself. The bushes were overhanging the pavement so you couldn’t walk without intermittently stepping into the moderately busy road, which is tricky enough as a lone human, never mind with two dogs over 20kg. On I went, muttering under my breath for absolutely no-one to hear.
It wasn’t until my return route that it struck me. Just cross the road and walk on the other side. Simple really, but I was so clouded with frustration, views of ‘what it should be like’ and an expectation that ‘someone should be doing something about this’ that I couldn’t see the obvious.
Coincidentally the news hit the headlines yesterday about the rise in the State Pension Age for those of us born between April 1970 and April 1978. I initially read the reports on social media and found myself bemused by many of comments; “Utter disgrace”, “We are so f*cked that I can’t put it into words” and other such useful musings.
My husband and I are both in this age bracket, and have quite a different view to the ones above. Here’s why.
- Times have changed
When you trace back the notion of retirement as we know it, you often stumble upon Otto Van Bismarck, the conservative minister president of Prussia. In 1881 he
presented a radical idea to the Reichstag: government-run financial support for older members of society. In other words, retirement. The idea was radical because back then, people didn’t retire. If you were alive, you worked.
He argued that those who are disabled from work by age and or physical needs had a well-grounded claim to care from the state. After an 8-year fight, the German government created a retirement system for over 70s…if they lived that long.
At that time, retirement age was almost the same as life expectancy in Germany and even with retirement, most people still worked until they died. So back then, the state financial commitment and the time spent in retirement were both minimal.
As we know, life expectancy is now way beyond 70 which begs such questions as:
- Can we really expect to live on a state pension, when there are so many more of us drawing it for what could be 30+ years?
- Can we really spend 30+ years in a period of traditional retirement and still get all our mental, emotional, psychological and physical needs met?
- Times will continue to change
According to Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott’s book ‘The 100-Year Life’, people born after 2007 have a 50% chance of living to be 103 in the UK. As many people would say, that’s an exciting prospect if you live a healthy life!
In any case, this development does challenge the ‘normal route’; the traditional 3-stage life of education, employment and retirement. The young ‘uns are looking to us as role models for how to approach this new, multi-stage life – so what are we doing?
- What attitude towards ageing do we exude?
- How are we demonstrating that we control the quality of our numerous life stages, not a third party such as the Government?
- The normal route will get overgrown and difficult, so just take another path
Just like my bramble-filled path, anything as large and unwieldy as state pensions will become unpredictable, frustrating, ever changing and impossible to control by us normal folk. And, just like the path, I could whinge, fester and complain about it or I could simply choose another route.
Many people already are; finding new ways to invest money, carving out a second or third career, taking on part time, rewarding work in retirement, starting a business in an area of interest etc.
It’s definitely unnerving, to know that the new route is not mapped out, its not been travelled before and who knows how it will turn out. Whilst numerous Government policies and employment practices will need to change with the times, what I do know is that I don’t want my future resting on a small pot of money that may or may not transpire.
Taking the other path is actually much more enjoyable because you’re in total control and you’re not wasting energy on the stuff you can’t change.
For a free 30-minute consultation to explore your ‘other path’ contact Becky on 07714 329339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.