Monday 11 December 2017

First person: I'll have to keep going – or win Lotto

LIAM COLLINS

It's still years away, but the prospect of joining the army of pensioners on cheap Ryanair flights to an exotic European city is receding as fast as the fizz on a glass of Prosecco in a dingy bar in the back streets of Rome.

Like many prospective pensioners, I've seen that once attractive pension pot shrink, in my own case by 40pc, so far. And, as if that wasn't painful enough, Michael Noonan has inserted the grubby paw of the state into what is left and shamelessly picked a couple of per cent more for his own use, without ever saying thanks.

To tell the truth, I didn't give a continental damn about the pension when I was in my 20s and 30s and maybe even 40s. Who does? It was a distant prospect and, for some of those years at least, my efforts to emulate Sebastian Dangerfield didn't exactly hold out the prospect of reaching a pensionable age.

Now, past 60, encumbered by a mortgage, wife, children and two dogs, the realisation has dawned that I'll have to work on, and on, or win the Lotto. As I'm not going to win the Lotto, it can only go one way.

But you know that's the part that doesn't worry me. What is 66 but another arbitrary number. It doesn't mean you have to stop what you're doing and start acting like a grumpy old guy hanging around God's Waiting Room. Or clog up the supermarket car park every day looking for something to do.

Yet I do wonder where it all went wrong – that moment usually occurs when I see some mandarin of the civil service walk into the sunset with a lump sum of €300,000 and €120,000 a year for the rest of his, or her, life. But then I have a Philip Marlow moment, say "the hell with it" and cycle recklessly into my particular Idaho.

Irish Independent

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