20 October, 2006

Clock watching

A letter arrives in the post from the Department for Work and Pensions. Somebody somewhere has calculated, on the basis of my National Insurance contributions to date, the amount of state pension I am likely to receive upon retirement. The figure is £79.17 a week.

The letter goes on to point out, in an unnecessarily coy voice, that such a sum might not support "the sort of lifestyle" to which I am used, and hence "if you haven't yet begun to save, it's never too late to start".

I'd certainly not expected such a communication so (relatively) early in my life, nor one of such quasi-mocking tones. I'm also not ready for such a stark reminder of the passing of time, nor the implication that - despite being perhaps even 40 years off retirement - I'm already not doing enough to set a little something by for a rainy day.

£79.17. What would that buy me in a week? My food, certainly, and probably my gas and electricity. But not my rent, nor any other costs I'd need to incur as I went about my elderly business. At least you'd get your TV licence free. Or not, depending on who's in power in 2050.

Christ. 2050. I'll be 75. Such a date, such an existence, such a period of time, seems utterly inconceivable.


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