Website creator and editor, Claire Baldry, talks pensions....
Recently I learnt about WASPI. If, like me, you don't know what it means, here is the link Women Against State Pension Equalities. I was interested, because I am a woman who was born in the 1950s.
For the record, unlike many of my contemporaries, I am in favour of the pension reforms in principle. There is no logical reason why, in the long-term, women should receive their state pensions earlier than men. Furthermore, as we are living longer (we hope), the pension pot needs to stretch further. It makes sense for both men and women to wait a few more years for their pensions.
But before all you pensionless female baby boomers throw a missile at me, please read on.
I do admit there is also a problem, which is this.....
No one told us in good time that the change would happen. We weren't warned long enough in advance to prepare. I spent most of my working life, believing that my state pension would drop into my bank account when I reached the age of 60, but now it won't actually arrive until I am 66.
I am one of the lucky ones. I have an occupational pension in my own right, which has allowed me to retire. This is just as well, because I have a husband with considerable health needs, who needs ongoing practical help. I was able to retire before reaching the state pension age in order to support him. Not all women of my age can make that choice. Many decided to set aside their occupational pension rights in order to focus on the massively important role of bringing up a family. They contributed to society, but now their state pension has been delayed. Some are really struggling financially, and I feel for them.
So whilst I am not complaining about my own situation, I admit, it was a blow to learn that my state pension would be held back for 6 years.
Now a petition has arisen from the BACKTO60 movement which seeks a return to the pension age of 60 for the women of my decade. You can learn more about it here.
I do have a problem signing it, because, if accepted, the reform would apparently cost billions of tax payers money, but I would nevertheless like the government to rethink the issue. Jumping our pension ages from 60 to at least 65 without a few more transition arrangements to soften the financial blow was bound to plunge a proportion of my generation into poverty. We planned for our future with one set of regulations in mind, and then became losers because the government changed the rules without adequate warning. Imagine the outcry, if FIFA extended the length of a football match without telling the players well in advance. Millions of football supporters would be outraged. But unless you are a 60 something pensionless female, (or her dependent) I doubt the pension problem will keep you awake at night. We are not an especially high profile group.
So if you happen to notice a lady of a certain age, debating whether she can afford to turn on the heating, mention the words 'state pension', and see if you get a reaction.
To find out more about Claire Baldry go to www.clairebaldry.co.uk