27 September 2019 (Friday) - Retirement Seminar

Yesterday as I drove to work I charged my phone from my car. I arrived at work with a full charge, and by mid-afternoon the thing was at zero per cent charge. In a similar length of time overnight it only used eighteen per cent of its battery power. I’m blaming working two floors beneath ground level, even if I am getting warnings that the McAfee security is making unnatural demands of the phone.

I didn’t sleep well; over brekkie I watched another episode of “Nightflyers” in which pretty much nothing at all happened, then I had a quick look at the Internet. My cousin is on holiday in Cornwall and had posted up some photos. Being a nosey person, I wish more people would do that sort of thing. Someone else had posted a link to a rather interesting article which probably explains why the world is such a sad place. I replied with a link from the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

As I drove to work the pundits on the radio must have been short of news. They were interviewing the general public to find their opinions about current affairs. Perhaps they were rather subjective in the interviews they chose to broadcast, or perhaps they really did only interview half-wits. But there were no shortage of people ready to demonstrate their ignorance on national radio. One chap was saying that we should go for that really easy Brexit that he voted for, not this one with the backdoor (Irish backstop?) that isn’t working. Another one was banging on about how Parliament is full of traitors but was utterly unable to explain what he meant by that.
You have to admire stupidity.

And so to work.. I say “work”. I was at a pre-retirement seminar today. It was rather good. Fifteen of us sat down and a chap lead us through all sorts of things that we didn’t know about retirement and hadn’t even thought about; all with the caveat that what he told us was correct today, but anything might happen in the future.
We started off with that always unpopular thing they always do in these training sessions of being divided into small groups to discuss stuff. What would we miss about working? What would we do to fill the time when we used to work? What worries did we have?
We were then presented with some factual information about the state pension. It was at this point that the first idiot chirped up. He wasn’t happy that the state pension age had gone up. To be fair, neither was I, but no one had told this idiot that the bloke presenting the session wasn’t the government minister who made the rules. This idiot was not at all happy when the speaker told him “these are the rules; I didn’t make them”.
We eventually got back on topic; I didn’t realise that you can defer your state pension. Did you know that you don’t have to take your pension at retirement age? If you work another year you get five point eight per cent more state pension if you take it that year later. Mind you having lost out on the first year’s pension you then have to live seventeen years to make a net profit.
The nice man then spoke about the NHS pension. For me this was the bit I wanted to know about. He’s given me some web sites to check, and I need to speak to the boss on Monday, but my provisional plan now is to take semi-retirement in four and a half years’ time. (I’ve added a countdown timer to my blog. Four and a half years sounds rather more manageable that one thousand six hundred and seven days).

By now our heads were spinning. We adjourned for lunch. After lunch we had a rather depressing talk about wills and lasting powers of attorney (a job for "My Boy TM" should I go doolally) and funding long-term care should it be needed.
It was at this point that another idiot got angry…
The session had been very good. The speaker asked people to comment and ask questions as we went along. Most people did (I certainly did); most people’s questions were sensible and relevant, but there were a couple of half-wits in the group. I must admit I agreed with one of the half-wits that if you need long-term nursing care then it sucks that you have to pay for it. I also agreed that I would rather leave my house to the fruits of my loin rather than sell it to pay for massively overpriced nursing homes. But that is an argument to have elsewhere. The nice chap at the front could only tell us what was happening now; he had no power to change the rules.

We then spoke about inflation and savings and tax… and at this point my brain overloaded. Fortunately I think the nice man presenting the session realised this would happen as this was the end of his presentation. He’s given us some websites to review and will phone us on Monday to answer any questions.

Perhaps I should have gone in to work for the last hour, but I was down to be on the course all day, and to be honest my mind wouldn’t have been on the job. I had a *lot* to ponder. Seeing the glorious sunshine I thought I might ponder whilst walking the dogs round the park.
We got half-way round the park when the heavens opened.

We came home and dried off. I did have a vague plan to go to the geo-meet that was taking place this evening, but by the time "er indoors TM" had been shopping, it was all a little late. So following on from today’s seminar I tried to access my on-line pension statement. It only took an hour to do.
We had a rather good bit of fish and chips, then I looked at the monthly accounts… Bearing in mind I’ve had a serious fix to the water heating, a major car service, new varifocal specs and an epic vet bill all in the last month I’m rather pleased that I’ve actually got some money left.
After all, what is money for, if not to squander foolishly?

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