I've been away in Madrid for a short break and have just come back. While I was away I missed all the media stuff about the forthcoming election; I haven't watched TV or read a paper for nearly a week now. When I say 'missed' there, by the way, I mean it as in 'didn't see' rather than missed. It was nice not to be bombarded with it all for a while.
I've picked up with all the news since getting back home and I suppose I wasn't that surprised to find that all the things I think are really important still haven't bubbled up to the surface in our national political debate. When I say that you'll probably gather I mean pensions issues I guess; it's sort of my subject.
I really can't believe that the new pension reforms that are set to affect practically every business in the land by requiring employers to auto-enrol their eligible employees into qualifying workplace pension schemes and to pay into them are not being openly discussed. I know it's pensions and that and it's a boring subject and everything, but sometime soon someone's got to start talking about such a seismic change for employers haven't they?
The first thing we should be putting our collective minds to is the unfortunate fact that means-tested support for the elderly can act as a disincentive to saving for the young; an issue that won't go away however hard we try to ignore it. Check over your shoulder if you don't believe me; it's still there isn't it? Auto-enrolling millions of employees into pension schemes that might not be suitable investments for them is, to say the least, problematical.
But it's not only that. Means-tested entitlements for the elderly are a problem for many younger savers, sure, but they're also a problem for many elderly people too; mainly because they don't claim what they're entitled to.
It all seems complicated, but it's not that hard a subject to get your head round. It's simple enough for me to have had a stab at putting it in this week's cartoon strip, for example, so it can't be that hard can it? The cartoon, if you want to read it, is called Slow on the uptake... and you can get to see it by clicking on the link there. The drawings were done in a springtime trip to Osaka a while ago, if you're interested to know that. The conversation, as usual, is written out more or less the way it happened.
Also, in case you were away earlier in the week too, you may like to know that we've started to work on our new Pensions A-Z page on JargonFreePensions and that you can win a PensionsGuru T-shirt if you want to help us with our task of building an e-glossary of pensions terms. We've had plenty of submissions so far, but it's not too late to get involved...
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