They shall not grow old!

nigel and sheila.jpg

Yesterday I wrote about how 40% of those who could claim pensions credit don’t. Today I’m writing about Nigel and Sheila, my boating friends who have a related problem. Nigel is 75 in a fortnight, has been deferring his defined benefit pension but has been told that whether he likes it or not, he gets his pension from his 75th birthday.

A little bit about Nigel (and his remarkable wife Sheila). Nigel is curator of wood for the Victoria and Albert Museum, he is still working and Sheila tells me that when he gets home after a full day, his first thought is to walk the dog and second to mow the lawn. Nigel is a remarkably fit man despite having been ravaged by cancer earlier in what most of us would call his later years.

Nigel and Sheila have a large family with whom they share their boat, they are never without a smile on their face (even when Sheila had a boating accident and broke bones she never moaned).


It’s an overworked phrase. Nigel and Sheila have it and they people who spend time with them – see it rub off on them.

I don’t know how to advise Nigel regarding his pension. I am quite sure that he sees this influx of unnecessary money as a nuisance but I’ve tried to convince him that there will come a time when even he will look for a wage in retirement.

He doesn’t seem to comprehend the idea of stopping work, explaining to me that that would be like a death sentence.

Let’s celebrate getting older

In a week when the prospect of getting older looked a little dim, Nigel and Sheila are my role models and mentors!

I think we can look up to older people in this way (there is less than 20 years between us but it seems like a generation).

Nigel was born at the end of the war, he is a child of that post-war austerity (like another friend Bernie Rhodes). The resilience of that generation is something I’d like to inherit.

Let’s celebrate getting older and learn to love the older life – however young we are!

Nigel and sheila 2.jpg

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 They shall not grow old!

  1. Retirement is a relatively new construct. It enabled weary loyal servants to make way for newcomers in Royal Courts and Governments. Pensions can in fact trace their ancestry to rewards for spying, and eventually payments by Royals to the original crown servants, officials, advisers and noblemen, and eventually civil servants, politicians, etc whose employers trail blazed pension provision, which was then widely copied by large employers elsewhere.

    Eventually it was seen as a good idea by the Government and tax breaks were awarded to encourage pre-funding via a Trust (required for tax approval for occupational schemes in the earlier part of the last century).

    Originally the English monarch awarded estates, land, castles, and titles which were not pensions but patronage, but these estates provided for the chosen families for many generations. The farmers and servants that toiled on the land never retired because they seldom lived long enough, and if they did they would rely on extended families, which still goes on today in some communities.

    I wonder if a transfer-out would be allowed on a discretionary basis by the pension scheme? Some schemes allow it as a non-statutory transfer and then Nigel could buy a longer, shinier boat, help with AgeWage’s 3rd round of funding and buy some razor blades perhaps? Only joking, magnificent whiskers!

  2. As a sporter of whiskers, I’d also like to add my admiration!

  3. Brian Kent says:

    Let us ALL pray for ACTION and not another 50 years of aspirational ‘waffle’……….

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