Simon Little (RP Jan 2009) refers to calls from Dr Ros Altmann for the government to act to prevent a pensions crisis and he suggests that she is mistaken when she talks about an imminent pensions crisis. He says it is already with us. Of course he is right.
In fact, when speaking at a seminar for Transact users last October, Ros Altmann was adamant that we were definitely already in a pensions crisis and what we face soon will be a pensioners' crisis. The human misery this involves and the negative impact on our economy are currently being masked by means-tested state benefits. However, mass means-testing of pensioners would, in her opinion, make personal accounts an expensive failure.
Dr Altmann went on to make common sense suggestions that will be unpalatable to some, including the notion that a universal old age state pension at, or above pension credit level, should start at 75. She pointed out that this would still give pensioners a longer life expectancy than had been the case when state pensions for males at age 65 were introduced.
For me her most telling comments were that pensions legislation and planning should be removed from party politics and serving governments and, just as we have with the MPC with the setting of interest rates, there should be an independent body established that can take a 40-year view. She also suggested that the word "pension" should be dropped for anything other than the state provided benefit. The word, when related to private provision, was a turn off for many and associated with mis-selling. It also implied retirement which increasingly was not the case. Reducing the working week, that required some income replacement, would be the real world that we should be planning for.
That's where wrap services come in.
Record numbers of people aged 90 plus
From 3 to 10 October
'Integral part' of the financial planning process for many advisers
Proposals outlined at Labour Party conference