Sunday, October 24, 2010

State Pension Age

I'm grateful to Radio 4's Money Box Live for providing a calculator for the new pension ages. It was reassuring for me personally because it shows that Ian's retirement age is unaffected and mine is only delayed by a month.

On the other hand I can't work out whether I'll get any of the Equitable Life compensation. I've always been confused by this issue, and I've probably made the wrong decisions. I had a small fund with a guaranteed endowment rate which does not mature until I'm 60. I lost the guaranteed annuity as a result of the collapse. I've read that anyone like me who invested before 1992 hasn't lost anything, but I don't see how that is the case. However, I also invested after 1992, so maybe I get some compensation for that. Apparently I should also have taken my fund out of Equitable Life and invested it elsewhere, but at the time there was such a whopping penalty for transferring my fund that I thought it best to leave it where it was. I suppose I should have consulted an IFA, but by that point I'd been given some very bad investment advice by an IFA that lost me thousands, so I'd decided to make my own investment decisions from that point on.

The fact is that market investments are too much of a gamble for people who are on small or medium incomes, but some of us have no choice but make our own provision if we are not in employment with a pension scheme. If I had to do it all again I would not take out a private pension policy at all, and do all my saving in building society accounts, or National Savings. Alternatively I'd just put all my money into buying a property. Despite the recent dip in property prices and the further fall we will probably have, property has been the best investment in my lifetime.

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