I met a man at a party last night. He played the trumpet- he is a professional trumpeter. He never went to college and he told me he is now 67. He asked me what I did and when I mentioned I advised on pensions he told me his pension story.
In the early 1980s he had purchased a pension from a famous life company. He did so because he had a friend who sold “life insurance” and because his wife told him he had to have one.
Two years ago the pension matured and he is now receiving £500 per month, he got a lump sum too of just over £30,000. I asked him about how he came by the pension.
He hadn’t used a broker, he’s ended up with the in-house annuity of his pension provider. He’d no idea whether he’d got a good deal, he may well have done but when I asked him about guaranteed annuity rates, medical underwriting and the like – he looked blankly at me.
He explained that his wife did the paperwork and he played the trumpet. He seemed happy enough with everything that had happened and I wasn’t going to lecture him on the need to engage and get educated.
By the way he was knocking back the red wine and the state of his belly, I suspect that this fellow would have a short but happy retirement and that this should have been reflected in the annuity rate.
He has no idea whether the pension dies with him (I hope his wife had a say in that) nor whether it is inflation linked (unlikely).
Like many people, he has left financial decision making to others, because he worked hard and saved well, he has a relatively large pension and enough cash for his needs. He can play the trumpet as much as he likes and he still gets plenty of good work.
Infact he has probably done quite well out of the pension system though that “probably” is decidedly iffy.
I was struck by just how trusting this trumpeter was and how vulnerable he was to the slings and arrows of outrageous salesmen.
People like him need default options that protect them from the worst. I will have him in mind over the next twelve months as we turn the vague concept of CDC into something that benefits him.