If you’re in your twenties, you’re probably tired of older generations nagging you to save for retirement. After all, with houses, cars, weddings and holidays to save money for, there are far more imminent life events to consider. While our elders seem to be stressing out about our empty pension piggy banks, most millennials I’ve spoken to seem to be surprisingly calm about the whole thing. “Don’t worry” we say. “We’re all in the same boat!”
There’s so much pressure on us to save for so many things at once, it’s almost as if we’ve accepted that pensions will have to be put on the back burner. But no matter how many times my friends reassure me they don’t have anything saved either, I can’t help but stress out about my lack of retirement savings. Let me explain why…
My pension pot is non existent
I have nothing saved whatsoever towards retirement. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. I’m screaming inside.
Auto enrolment hasn’t affected my office just yet so there isn’t currently a workplace pension in place. As a result, I’m torn between finding an alternative pension savings option versus waiting it out. I could set up a private pension. Or, as of April next year, I could open the Lifetime ISA. But the majority of pensions experts cite a workplace pension as the best option due to employer contributions.
In the meantime, I’m just tryna build my overall wealth by squirrelling as much as possible into high interest savings accounts.
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I want to be making the most of every second of retirement
When I’m retired, I want to be going on cruises and eating scones in the local cafe and sneaking money into my grandchildren’s pockets when their parents’ backs are turned. I don’t want to be holding everyone up in the queue at Tesco by slowly counting every single penny that I pull out of a dirty plastic bag. I wanna be shopping in Waitrose or Booths. I don’t want to have to decide between having the heating on or eating a nice meal for tea. I wanna have a cheeky (large) glass of Jim Beam every so often. I want to go on holiday and make my skin really wrinkly and leathery. I wanna be Madge Harvey in Benidorm. I want to live a comfortable life in retirement and I know that in order to do that, I need to start saving as soon as possible.
Let’s ignore inflation for a moment and imagine I wanted to live off £20,000 a year as a pensioner. If I lived for 20 years after quitting work, I’d need a whopping £400,000 to live off. That’s an extra £400,000 I need to save during my working life…on top of all the other things I have to save for such as a house and holidays and my future kids’ school trips. How. Is. That. Even. Possible?
In a perfect world, I’d like to take some time off work when I have kids
If I have kids in the future, I do love the idea of giving up full time work so I can spend time with my babies and teach them to be miniature versions of me. God help you all! I love the idea of popping out two or three babies in a short space of time and going through a few years of absolute hell before hopping right back into my career once they’re all in school. Productive AF.
Anyway, I’m digressing here. If I take a break in my career, this will result in a break in National Insurance contributions and workplace pension savings. This career break could leave me significantly worse off financially in retirement than if I was to work my whole life with no interruptions.
Since I haven’t even started saving yet, it’s beginning to dawn on me that, if I do have kids one day, I’ll probably have to return to work as soon as my maternity leave is up and live with extortionate childcare costs.
We’re likely to live longer and will need more money to fund these years
Since I already have my emergency fund saved and I’m making great progress with my deposit savings, I realise I’m in a much better position than many. However, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be worried about retirement. Since we’re likely to live longer than our parents and grandparents and great grandparents, we’re going to need more money than those before us.
A lack of retirement savings is a very real problem and many of us are likely to reach retirement age and think “Shit! They weren’t kidding!” before living off beans on toast for years to come. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I want for my sweet old future self. I want that old bird to be living the high life.
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