Wednesday 28 September 2016

'I'm left with a pension of €80 a month after a life of working'

Grainne Loughran

Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30

Gerry Markey in Dublin. Photo: Doug O’Connor
Gerry Markey in Dublin. Photo: Doug O’Connor

Gerry Markey says the fees for his pension scheme weren't discussed when he started working in Clerys over 30 years ago.

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Now working in Harvey Norman, the Finglas, Dublin, native didn't realise he would have to pay any service fees. He says pension policies should be explained in a straightforward and accessible manner.

He also advised people to start thinking about their pension as "early as possible".

"When I started my first pension, I was 21. There wouldn't have been any kind of discussion about fees or anything like that," Mr Markey (53) said.

When Clerys shut down last year, it left a "minefield" for the workers.

Mr Markey claimed they retained their pensions with help from the Pensions Authority. He has still been left with little to show for his years of labour, with a pension of €80 per month.

"With my pension, I ended up getting a lump sum out of it because I was over 50," he said.

Read more: Spike in 65-year-olds getting dole as they don't yet qualify for pension

"The balance left is a considerable amount, but then it was transformed into a pension - so I get a pension of €80 every month even though I'm just over 50.

"I would have preferred for that not to be paid to me as a monthly pension but that wasn't an option.

"I worked in Clerys for 34 years and that's the pension I have until I'm dead and buried. It's not an awful lot of money - you can't do much with it."

Mr Markey says that it's important for people to understand exactly how much they're paying and what the fees are when they set up a pension.

He would advise people to join an occupational pension scheme where available, "once it's clear and in straightforward language".

His biggest advice is to start planning your pension as early as possible.

"To start it off, you have to go back to the beginning and talk to schools and colleges about this.

"Before you know where you are, you're 35 or 40 and it's really too late. That needs to be changed," he said.

Irish Independent

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