Well I have now reached the ripe old age of 52 and awoke yesterday, not only to that realisation but also to the news that I belong to that elite age group that was about be told that we'd have to work another year before we get our pensions from the government. Not that I expect to get much.
Having been through higher education twice and then worked for several years without paying National Insurance, I suspect I won't ever catch up with my contributions. The funny thing is that I could probably afford to make some additional contributions, but it's almost impossible to work out how to do that or if it's even possible. As far as I know it's now to late for me to do anything about the missed years, and to be honest I'm not about to add that to my list of jobs to do.
The sad thing is that for those people who will be reliant upon the state pension, their working lives will be extended without any choice. It's usually the low paid, poorer members of our society that fall into this category. Dare one suggest that a state pension age is irrelevant to the bankers and money market people who have handsome pension pots.
I suppose we've come to expect to be able to retire early enough to have 20 or more years of playing golf and non term-time holidays. It's a rather middle-class ideal, early retirement. When I set up my personal pension, I was advised to choose 60 as a retirement age to avoid having to work until I'm 65 to get my pension. Having said that, ministry doesn't really seem to lend itself to retirement, although the thought of not carrying the responsibility can be very appealing as you watch the paperwork and jobs pile up on the corner of your desk.
Perhaps, now I'm 52, I should reflect on life. Perhaps I should take the time to think seriously about what I've done with my life and what I should be looking to achieve in the later stages of my ministry. On the other hand I think I'll open the Liquorice All Sorts, stick the DVD of "The Big Bang Theory" in the DVD player and laugh a lot!