“Cynicism’s” trending on #pensions



Well it’s not much of a tweet, cynicism always trends and it always will. Among the twittering classes there is nothing so thrilling as a put down, whether it’s of an idea, or a person and the bigger the idea and the more celeb the person – the better.

So I’m cynical about cynics – but in a nice way. Most cynics are depressive and “Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage”. Their cynicism is a symptom of their illness and should be treated with merriness .

The latest outbreak of “pension cynicosis” manifests itself thus

“well employers don’t really care”.

A detailed examination of the patient‘s condition will reveal that

  1. the patient works for a life company and in marketing
  2. the patient has not had a serious pension discussion with an employer in some time
  3. the patient has been listening to his intermediaries
  4. the patient has invested his company’s money heavily in compliance software at the intermediary’s behest.

The illness is not terminal and can generally be cured by his “getting out more” or as our Victorian ancestors put it “taking the airs”.

“Out there” are a lot of employers – over 1.2m of them – who are aware that their houses are not morphing into pensions , that their inheritances are subject to nursing fees and that the state benefits are not going to cushion them into a lifelong Thomas Cook cruise.

In short they are going to have to rely on their pension. This is getting serious.

“Out there” – employers are waking up to reality – staff are not opting-out of these workplace pensions as expected, that their obligation to pay into these pensions is going to be long-lasting and onerous.

They’re realising that even if it is a “bad job” it would be sensible to make the best of it.

If nothing else , they realise there is nothing to be gained from operating a rubbish scheme.

In fact, there’s plenty to be gained from running a good scheme – in cynicspeak..

  • less whingeing from employers and unions

  • less grief from whatever Government quango runs pensions

  • opportunity to kick out staff when they get old .

Of course, pension people could decide to look the auto-enrolment gift-horse in the mouth. They could complain that auto-enrolment regulations are so complicated that they bring pensions into disrepute. They could develop a panacea for Regulations (1.0) when the vaccine labelled “AE Simplification” has moved uson to Regulations (3.6)

Meanwhile other not-so-cynical people will see an opportunity here to find themselves working in a business that regains its self-respect and the respect of employers and employees. They’ll concentrate on setting up good pensions not “chickenlickin disaster recovery kits”.

This is the long-term cure for “pension cynicosis” . The generic name on the bottle is “Get Happy” though the treatment may be labelled “cheer up” “get working” or without sugar-coating “move on”.


For those not following this poll, of the 250 responses 34% reckon pensions are fundamentally flawed (“move on” – ed).

Sorry…that should read 66% of people don’t think pensions are fundamentally flawed.



Stella Vine, Museum of Modern Art Oxford



About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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6 Responses to “Cynicism’s” trending on #pensions

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  6. website says:

    Cet arficle est vraiment plein de bon sens

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