Lawrence Churchill of NEST and John Hutton (of the report) spoke eloquently yesterday of the need for people to focus on a desired retirement outcome (for instance;-“I want an income of £15,000 pa”) work out what it takes to get it and then save like crazy.
As I listened my mind went back to Green Shield Stamps. I used to look in the catalogue, decide what I wanted, work out how many books I needed to complete and then make my parent’s life a misery till I got what I wanted.
Typically this meant long detours to out of the way petrol stations that gave out quadruple green shield stamps and shopping at rubbish supermarkets like International Stores in return for stamps which kept me quiet.
My son still plays with the Dunlop golf clubs that I got from all my badgering ane the taste of those stamps that I neatly aligned on each page (never cheating) still tingles my tongue.
Enough of nostalgia – what of the future?
There’s plenty to learn from Green shield stamp books.
- They were tangible. Pensions aren’t tangible but savings tokens can be. We don’t need Chilean style savings books but a monthly text telling me how my savings are going would serve the purpose better. Like the stamp books (pictured), I want something to focus on!
- They offered certainty. The deal was simple and immutable. The targets were definite and the means of achieving them in my hands.
- They delivered. We may not have needed the pressure cookers, garden hoses and rubbish jewelry but we got them without snags!
If we could make pensions savings as simple as collecting Green Shield Stamps and the annuity purchasing decision as simple as handing over the books and collecting the goods, we would not be in the state we are in today!
If we could get the British public as enthusiastic about pensions as the vouchers we collect from moneysavingexpert and other parts of the net we would not be in the state was are in today.
What brings my memory of Green SHield Stamps back to me with that warm glow? Because saving green shield stamps was fun.
Now there’s a challenge for the Pension Industry……….. Maybe the Pension Play Pen can help!
- Green Shield Stamps, the Co-Op Divi, Klout… [Alan Stevens] (ecademy.com)
- Yes – things are this bad in DC land! (henrytapper.com)
- PPF II -opening the door for a better DC (henrytapper.com)
- Unions and Lord Hutton exchange angry words over pensions (guardian.co.uk)