The point of work’s to dream of doing nothing

Langland's Dreamer: from an illuminated initia...

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The ongoing semantic squabble about how not to talk about “pensions” continues to preoccupy those advising on and providing pensions.

Last night I was chatting with Ben Mulroney of Mallowstreet who complained that there was only so much that could be discussed about pensions and we agree that we should be looking at a wider agenda.  Absolutely Ben – how about ….Beyond work, close bosom friend to “beyond caring!”

There is a time when we can work no more – typically around 5pm though I noticed walking through the City at 11.30pm an awful lot of people still at their desks. There is also a time in the duration of a lifetime when a person gets beyond work full stop.

That time used to be called the state retirement age but that was when we were prepared to accept collective decisions on lifestyle. Today, one man’s retirement age might be another’s mid career point.

All this talk about pensions that goes on around Liability Driven Investment or SIPPS or whatever specialist area you chose to be in represents a little building block in the big monolith which is “Beyond Work” .

Which is why we need to stop thinking of the getting there – of the here and now of our narrow interest and start dreaming of the big picture “beyond work”. 

I’ve spoken before of the “Field of Folk” that Piers Plowman (William Langland) observed from his Malvern Hill. All those folk working to a common aim – common weal as they called it then. Langland’s trick was to describe their endeavour from a great height, getting a perspective on the whole kit and caboodle so that his readers could transport themselves through his poetry out of the quotidian into a vision that made sense. Of course the vison came in a dream – Piers lay down and slept to see the point of work.

We shouldn’t be getting caught up in semantics – “pensions” will do. We need to concentrate on the bigger picture of a life beyond work. Whether beyond work is the right point to stop working  for the day (not 11.30pm at night) or stop working full stop – we need people to recognise, (as Langland did), that all this endeavour leads somewhere -to the point where we feel confident we can do nothing and be happy with the memory of our  getting there.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to The point of work’s to dream of doing nothing

  1. Dan Zwicker says:

    Here is one more – my favorite pension focus – ‘Beyond Risk’.

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