I've worked out that if I can keep my ISA at a 3% rate for the rest of my working life I'll be able to retire at 62 with a marginally comfortable pension using today's prices. Which is kind of sad but clearly a necessity. But with no end to the recession in sight, finding that 3% deal is proving tricky. And that's how I know the recession is a real problem.
I didn't have a pension when I worked full time and money was the least of my worries. I spent my money, and spent and spent. And now I have a lot of catching up to do. Let that be a warning to you.
If I want to retire at around about state pension age I've only got 21 years left to muster up about £220,000 which may just keep me in food and heating if I live into my 80s. And who knows how long I'll live after that if I get that far.
Today, for the first time, a person in their 80s
has higher living standards than someone
working in their 20s
It's disconcerting how all through your twenties retirement is a whole other existence away. But then suddenly your thirties arrives and you think uh-huh. Real life. But those vital years do make all the difference.
Of course if you think I'm worrying now you need to read this to understand how catastrophic things could get not only for younger generations but also those approaching retirement now. The pension you might be putting away now, isn't actually there. It's being used to pay for a generation of retirees who are already there. But if fewer people are now putting away for their retirement where are current pensions coming from? The state pension may now in some cases be comparable to an early twenties income but an increasing number of pensionable age workers are now hanging in there and still working because they cannot afford to retire.
Many children are now living at home into their 40s because the costs of moving out are too prohibitive and older mothers who have held off starting a family due to careers and money concerns are being blamed for the steep rises in births in the last decade.
Of course, you might get lucky and make your millions, but if you don't this could be all you have so it's worth planning ahead to save yourself from years in poverty or an extended working life when you're older.
Sadly it won't be practical for a lot of us but be armed with the information and make informed choices wherever you can. That holiday in the sun might be just what you need right now but one week and it's gone. Put that money away and it could be paying for that retirement cruise instead.