The chairman discovers a new pub and contemplates retirement
'I've found a new pub we should investigate,' said the chairman of the insignificantly-sized investment company SmallBlue Planet with the sort of enthusiasm he tends only to be able to muster for, well, the discovery of new drinking establishments.
'Excellent news,' I said with similar relish before stopping short as a terrible thought struck me. 'Hang on ' HSBC Bank don't go drinking there, do they?' 'I really wouldn't know,' replied the chairman. 'But I didn't realise you had a problem with the good people of HSBC.'
'I don't,' I said. 'It's just something they sent me the other day about how, for the price of a pint of beer a day, a 30-year-old could receive a retirement income of more than £17,000 a year.
They went on to say that a quarter of the population were saving £50 a month or less ' and that would be enough to provide a retirement income amounting to the princely sum of £3,962 a year for that same poor, benighted 30-year-old looking to retire at 60. Now, my point is that if the cost of a pint of beer a day will up that pension pot past £17,000, I'm not sure we want to be drinking in the same pub they frequent. It'll bankrupt us.'
'Excellent point,' said the chairman. 'I'll get my people looking into it straightaway. So do you have any other similarly important information you've picked up recently?' 'You mean like npower kindly revealing to me that the nation treasures its teddy bears more than their family jewels?' I asked.
'Not exactly,' said the chairman. 'Then what about Club Direct's helpful tip that you are 10 times more likely to be killed by a coconut than by a shark?,'I tried. 'Ridiculous,' said the chairman. 'Whoever heard of anyone being bitten by a coconut?'
'Well, just as long as you don't go trying to get milk from a shark,' I replied. 'But let me see, what else? I don't suppose you'd be interested in knowing that Joan Collins and her latest husband signed a pre-nuptial agreement before getting hitched recently. Moneysupermarket used that as the hook to discuss the subject of pre-nups, the old romantics. But ¦ hello'
I stopped as the chairman appeared to have drifted off. 'Ah Joanie, dear Joanie,' he was saying. 'Beautiful girl ' courted her for a while years back when she was in between husbands. Don't remember exactly which ones ' or whose, come to think of it. Who knows what might have been if she'd agreed to sign that little contract my lawyers drew up for her? Anyway, what were you going on about? I stopped listening when you mentioned Joanie. Ah, dear Joanie. Beautiful girl ¦'
'Nothing, nothing at all,' I interrupted ' the conversation was getting a little too weird for my liking. 'Well in that case, I think you peaked with the extortionate beer racket,' said the chairman. 'Hang on, hang on,' I said. 'This is a good one. Prudential say that financial hardship is tempting thousands of retired people in the UK to think about breaking the law in order to make ends meet. According to the Home Office, the over-65s prison population has increased by two-thirds since 1997.'
'Extraordinary,' said the chairman. 'And it's not just because there were a huge number of 60-year-olds in prison in 1997 and they've just continued serving their sentences? 'That, I am afraid, Prudential neglected to go into,' I replied. 'Shame,' said the chairman. 'But it's handy to know. I'll implement measures at SmallBlue Planet immediately. Getting security to vet all our employees over the age of 60, plus a few spot-friskings ought to do the trick. Or do you think I should play safe and fire any staff when they hit their 60th birthday?'
'Seems a little harsh,' I said. 'Maybe,' said the chairman. 'Still,' he continued brightening visibly. 'There's one silver lining, I suppose. At least our 30-year-old being stitched up with the expensive beer knows he can carry on drinking that extra pint a day. Looks like the chances are that by the time he's discovered the problems of an inadequate pension, he'll be warm and getting three square meals a day as a guest of Her Majesty.'
To promote 'long-term investment'
Switching 'hard and expensive'
Smaller funds still packing a punch
To drive progress