Tuesday, 2 July 2013

How Will I Ever Afford Retirement?

Frugally philosophical thoughts about how to avoid abject poverty in the event that the State Pension collapses and we're left without an income.

Part II

Having had a quick look around at what people (and nations) fear most, it would seem there are four main threats. Whether these are perceived or real remains to be seen, but fear them, many do. In no particular order, here are what look to be the biggest fears of all:
  • Financial instability
  • Global Warming
  • Extremist groups / terrorism
  • Nuclear developments
I can't say that any of the above surprises me in the least, as it simply boils down to money and self-preservation. Let me think, where have we heard that before? "Your money or your life?"

This brings me to an abrupt conclusion about the future of our financial well being during retirement - it matters not one jot as long as you are alive and well enough to live life when the highwayman comes calling. Nations may rise and fall, sea levels may rise and fall, we frugal Scots will vote for or against independence as we see fit but, at the end of the day, it's all about life until the end. So let's get ready to live it for less in a way that helps secure our own futures.

My main priority is to slash overheads - the basic cost of living. No rent, no mortgage, no debts whatsoever and nothing that ties me to a lengthy contract. Looking around to see what ill-fate could possibly befall me to foil any such plans, I begin to see how little we are taught about self-reliance, self-sustainability and self-responsibility, so I want to redress that balance and ensure that my future is secure in my own hands and less dependent on others.

Think ahead - what do we need to live and enjoy life without fear of discomfort? Where could we possibly save cash so that it will grow and provide us with a secure future during retirement? Where is it safe to save it so that it needn't be lost completely in the event we don't see out life long enough to retire, more to the point? Lest we forget, the highwayman isn't averse to daylight robbery and his weapon of choice can inflict sudden death! (I'm a cheery wee soul, really, but let's get real and face facts - our ticket to life doesn't include a 'use by' date!)

Right, back to basics - food, water, clothing, shelter and energy with the health, wealth and fitness to enjoy life. That's it! Those are the basic essentials that we all need and into which we should invest, be it financially or practically.

Knowledge is power, as they say, so learn as much as you can about food production & preparation, making & mending, DIY and energy saving while balancing a healthy lifestyle with a fun fitness regime. And share your views freely.

If we are financially savvy with it, we can enjoy the speculation of accumulation by way of long term investments that are guaranteed to be there for generations to come, serving us well when needs must.

The wisest investments, I would think, would be those that cannot be manufactured or mass produced - personal skills, personal space and the environment in which we live.

Entrepreneurs, did you know that it's 90 years since Clarence Birdseye, an American taxidermist, invented the concept of frozen food? But we still aren't eating synthetic food, it still has to originate in nature, albeit with a genetic helping hand now and again.

Since the above and other such conveniences, we seem to be freeing up more and more time, finding more and more things to buy and spending more and more time trying to earn cash to pay for a whole heap of ludicrous, unnecessary 'stuff' just because it's there. Think labour saving and time saving with an element of 'cool' mixed with gimmicky 'must-have' and you might be onto a winner in the invention stakes, but there's also a huge amount of money to be made in security, be it home, personal or virtual and alternatives to fossil fuels. At first I thought the hydrogen fuel cells would eventually develop into something big but it's been so long now that their shine has tarnished. The naturally occurring elements and exploration of space have to be at the fore of research and development, surely, as planet earth cannot expand to accommodate the billions of humans as well as all the flora and fauna forever more.

I don't have the magical answer to the ever-asked question, 'what is the next big thing?' What I do have is a head full of useless facts that all seem to be pointing in the same direction - civilisation, despite all these leaps forward in science and technology, still isn't all that civilised. There are still wars, famines and epidemics, there are still murderers, rapists and thieves and there are still no life-sustaining environments outside of our own planet.

Wondering about how to afford to live in the event that a tiny Government on a tiny island cannot afford to extend me a tiny amount, sufficient to pay for the bare essentials, becomes so insignificant that I may well simply never ask the question again. I'll just save what I can, live my frugal lifestyle and invest in long term benefits like those provided by a good pair of wellies, a waterproof jacket and a productive garden. I may even buy myself a parasol for the patio and just sit there watching the herbs grow while contemplating life as we know it.


  1. The problem with life is we never know whats round the corner. I never thought I would have to retire at 49 to look after hubby, after us
    working our way up to a decent income. However we had been spending due to various disasters beyond our income. Suddenly we were in debt and no money coming in at all for months, thanks to the good old DWP. I learned very quickly that my penny pinching education needed to be dusted off and honed to a totally dependant life skill. I know analyse every purchase and consider if it can be made or bodged, bought from a charity shop or found on a free site. I grow, sew, knit and forage. I look at skips and share things with others. I have to say despite the worry and Hubbys deteriorating health I am doing ok. I have a cushion of spare change building up for emergencies ie the DWP stopping our benefits for no reason as they did a couple of years ago. I have a bottom drawer for my future including food and bedding. Am also looking at solar recharging for some household items and have candles etc foe emergencies.

    1. The bottom drawer approach is fantastic, Vixen, and it is one of the few things that many women (and possibly men) will be familiar with, as far as early savings were concerned. It was drummed into us by mothers and grandmothers alike when I was growing up, yet the prospect of everything going wrong was a topic always avoided. Every penny counts in the savings stakes and I'm still looking into other items as investments. It's surprising how few things can be bought in 'lifetime supplies' quantities. They laughed at me for buying a year's worth of toilet rolls but a bargain is a bargain! :)

      I'm just reading about a solar rechargeable item now - if it looks promising, I'll post a link. For now, I'm still wondering if it's a hoax. :)

  2. If the "state pension collapses"....well that would be Game Over for people such as myself (ie who are already retired - receiving the work part of our pension only at the moment - whilst waiting to reach our revised State Pension Age and start getting the rest of our pension).

    For those still in work - I guess it would mean carrying on working indefinitely (and that's seriously bad news) but for those of us who HAVE already retired and are waiting for the State Pension to start up too - then Game Over. We have bargained on a certain length of time between retirement and Revised State Pension Age but, if the State said, "State Pension Age will NEVER come" then there would come a point at which it would have no option but to be "hail and farewell" and "sign out from Planet Earth time" - or, put more harshly, kill ourselves. Well...that would be one way to reduce surplus population - but I'm optimistic enough to believe that They wouldn't dare do that to us.

    1. Hopefully, I share your optimism. The way we live lig=fe needn't be affected if we're prepared and I count my lucky stars that I have had the good fortune to waken up to the real world and realise that the current financial trends are unsustainable. My late father was a great one for saying that "money is a thing of the past". I never understood that nor did he ever explain it to me, he just said I'd find out one day. It wasn't until I reached my late 30s that it suddenly dawned on my what it was he meant. I'm glad to say that I have lived my life by that principle since then and know fine well never to try and explain it to anyone, especially if they don't want to find out for themselves. :)


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