Today I am spending the last day of an extended vacation in Sri Lanka. I have travelled around the island largely onboard the magnificent Viceroy Express. I’ve shovelled coal into the boiler, climbed over 1000 steps to the top of Siguria and cleaned an elephant’s tummy.
I’ve had a great time and so has Stella and so have all the guests of the Railway Touring Company with whom we travelled. We are all pensioners (apart from Stella!).
Yesterday I posted on twitter a casual remark about how good it was to see British Pensions being enjoyed by people who a generation ago would not have considered the luxury of time out here within their grasp. The pension schemes that those in retirement today enjoy (and not all do) are creating fantastic opportunities.
With that in mind I posted this comment on twitter yesterday.
This isn’t a parody account https://t.co/9CZB0xoqYU
— John Ralfe (@JohnRalfe1) March 13, 2019
I include John’s comment because he is articulating what I suspect a lot of people feel, that pensions are liabilities around sponsor’s necks. My comments weren’t taking the Mick, they were a simple response to the pleasure retirement is giving to a generation that has proper pension provision.
The prize is more than solvency
When I go to pension events I learn about funding strategies, about engaging people with their savings and all kinds of paraphernalia that comes with running a pension scheme.
But there is something missing – the end product. The end product of a pension scheme is a long happy and relaxed retirement without financial worries.
The prize, for those working in pensions management, is to deliver this generation after generation. The prize is more than “getting by”, the prize is what I am looking at – here on the edge of the beach.
One outstanding achievement of the Sri Lankan people is the recovery they have made from the twin disasters of a 30 year long civil war and one horrific day when a Tsunami wiped out most of its coastline. To put our local disasters into perspective, 1800 people died in a train that was swept off the lines a few miles from where I write.
The hotel I am staying in was completed two years ago, it replaced the ruins of a hotel wiped by the wave.
We visited Jaffna and the north east where fighting was most fierce. We put flowers at the feat of a soldier who died for peace. We celebrated the peace.
Sri Lanka has set its goals as peace and prosperity and it is attracting tourists from around the world who enjoy the optimism of a country that has been close to disaster and has found a way back
Enjoy your pension!
Retirement is the longest holiday of your life. It has taken me over two weeks to wake up to the simplicity of retirement living. It can be blissful and the wonderful people i have shared this holiday with have shown me how!
If you are a trustee, or work for a sponsor or are simply saving for your retirement, I hope that the simple expression “enjoy your pension!” resonates. We are working to a common goal, long , happy and financially solvent retirements.
For all the problems that beset pensions, the bigger picture remains, that we have in the UK a cracking pension system. We should exercise ourselves to keep it that way and the best way for us to do that is to keep our eye on the prize.