Get yourself a cup of tea or coffee, you might need it, as this is a bit of a rant!
It is amazing how much the death of someone close to you makes those around you, think about their own lives.
That side of things hasn't changed much for us, as at the moment, we have both done everything we can to ensure our executor/s don't get overwhelmed by it all when the time comes. We have both done our wills, still find the money to pay into life insurance and have paid upfront for our funerals - not cheap, but we both felt it necessary. Have you any idea how much it actually costs to get buried or cremated?
We also keep getting rid of 'stuff', the bane of everyone's lives it would seem. If you have been unlucky enough to lose parents and deal with their estate, home and all its contents, twice, you will know what I mean!
We learnt from DB's father who had just paid upfront for their funerals, only a few days before he died. I doubt he really knew he would die unexpectedly only a few days later but who knows. Such foresight saved us both a tremendous amount of hassle and decision making when not in a fit mind to be able to do it! He had also sorted out his everyday bill finance holder and left money in it, for unforeseen circumstances!
B. had been retired (early) just 2 years when she died, almost to the week! The three of us liked to discuss our finances in a reasonable amount of detail - not actual but rather ball parks amounts. Savings, whether small, medium or large would be moved around regularly to ensure the best interest rates applied. She like us, had made sure her pension plans were in place as best they could be and had even topped hers up. The fact she didn't live to claim it, is neither here nor there when you think about it. That is just bad luck and bad luck happens to us all at times.
Other people we know, are going down the opposite route, of living and spending for today, not saving for their retirement, nor having life insurance etc. Their thinking is "what's the point".
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and as this is my blog I shall give mine but you are free to think and act otherwise. DO NOT BE SO SHORT SIGHTED!
You many not be in a position to afford life insurance or pay into a pension plan, either at work or as an individual. You may believe that should you last that long, the Government will take care of you. Have you seen how much the basic weekly pension is? Some people have just that amount to live on, could you really do it? Do you want to risk it? I would urge you to think long and hard about it.
Reading blogs, it is obvious that some are in that situation but are still living within their means through judicial planning, scrimping and still managing to save. It can be done. They are not the people I am referring to. It is those who live an exorbitant/wasteful life style and seem to think they will be able to still do so later in life!
At the very least, make sure you have paid, if at all able to, enough National Insurance to get your full or almost full, government pension entitlement. It is no good believing the pension and benefit system will still be up and running. The former maybe, the latter, probably not. Governments are struggling to cope with their ageing populations. On top of that are the unemployed, the sick, disabled and in some cases, the just plain lazy.
Have you been watching the programme about being on the dole in 1949 - a right eye opener for some, a complete change of life and attitude for some, and no change at all for others. Same old same old. I thought it interesting that getting any money at all depended on whether or what you had paid in. No paying in, no getting out. Partial paying in, partial paying out! There was very little top up from anywhere else. Now, wouldn't that be a right eye opener to some in our society. Perhaps that is how we should go now, who knows.
Yeah I know, it is okay for us, we are retired, talking a load of clap trap. Really, really!! DB was lucky to have a job that paid a pension (and didn't lose it as so many did in recent years). Living on only that pension amount per month was a real struggle. We had to live on exactly the same amount for 5 years, after he first retired. When all essential bills were paid, we needed to go on war rations, simply to be able to feed our family. See our war diary at the top. Yes, we could have got a top up from the government, particularly as I was too ill to work but we chose not to. Silly us, fancy not wanting to be a burden to those worse off than ourselves and yes, there were and still are, plenty of those.
Now, he has reached the right age to also get his government pension. Now and only now, are we actually able to live reasonably well, but probably not so in the eyes of others. Provided we are careful, on food and bills, but in particular heating. The Government says you are in fuel poverty if you need to use more than 10% of your total income on fuel, keeping the main room at 21C and the rest of the house at 18C (not sure if they mean all day/all day and night, or not!)
This last autumn, winter and early spring, other than the front room, where the wood burner is, the rest of our house was only at 14C for half an hour in the morning and occasionally the evening. Other than that, it was whatever the temperature fell down to, depending on the temperature outdoors. That is primarily the only way for us to not be fuel poor. Yes, we could have the whole house warm but as we are not in the whole house, all the time, what is the point. Lowering bills as much as possible also helps. Our use of electricity and oil has greatly reduced. Our food bill is being maintained as much as possible in the current constant increases in food. We manage to treat ourselves to a small snack when out on our weekly walks. That really is a treat we look forward to. Neither of us smokes and we rarely drink.
The Government consider electricity to be the main fuel poverty deciding factor but oil, well that isn't even mentioned and that is what we have. With the rise in both electricity and oil charges every year, let alone the rising cost of wood, it isn't difficult to see why people struggle.
I feel pyjama's and dressing gown mode arriving in the next couple of months:)
Not one of us in reasonable health now, knows when we will die. Most of us will probably make it to proper old age and get our pensions or proportional pensions, if we have paid into them. I cannot imagine the shock to you if for whatever reason, you haven't and hope the Government will bail you out. Some of us like B., will not make it, but at least her contributions helped others.
I would urge everyone where possible, to at least think about it long and hard, to see if there is any way at all, to help yourselves now, so you can prepare for and enjoy your old age. Should DB die before me, being the one with the pensions, I would probably have to sell and move but will cross that bridge if it arises!
Waiting until you arrive at the old age station might want you to throw yourself in front of the life train! That my friends, would be very, very sad.