Saturday, 24 August 2013


I’m writing a series of blog posts exploring the books “How to be Free” and “The Idle Parent” written by Tom Hodgkinson.  I enjoyed a lot of the ideas expressed in these books, and think that exploring them further will help me to explore the principles behind my own way of living and parenting.
Chapter 22 – Stop worrying about your pension and get a life – SAY YES TO LIFE
A pension is supposed to be security for when we are older and can no longer work.  Or is it?  In actual fact we work all our lives, putting money “aside”, which actually means into the pockets of the pension firm executives, and to be “invested” on a perilously unstable stock market (gambling).  Would it not be better to look after ourselves?  Whether this means investing by ourselves in something a little more secure (property / gold / under the bed), choosing an occupation from which we don’t want or need to retire because we are so busy enjoying ourselves, or cultivating a more caring attitude amongst our family – didn’t the older generation used to live with and be cared for by their working age children in their dotage?

Stop worrying about the future (which after all, we may never see) and enjoy life now.

How does this match up to the ink-spots-and-grass-stains life?
Having opted out of a “career path” I think my pension provision is pretty non-existent.  Hubby has a pretty good one.  I’m not too worried.  I figure I’ll just squirrel a bit of money away, keep working, spend less and hope for the best.  So I think my attitude pretty much squares up with Tom’s.
Having said that, I know that I have family approaching retirement age in the next decade who are very worried about how they will manage when they can no longer work.  I hope very much that I’ll be able to ease their worries and take them in.  I would certainly prefer that to seeing them worry about how they’ll pay their heating bill, or seeing them scratching away at a job just because they can’t afford not to, when they would prefer to be enjoying their old age.

What about you?  Do YOU have a pension?


  1. Interesting post, but surely we should not even be thinking of pensions just of living and living well. My husband and kidsand I live in Italy where family is king. Family is everything and the old look after the young and vice versa, Uncles and Aunts look after nieces and nephews so the younger generation can work. The older generations have worked and saved enough to help the younger with buying houses as much as 100% sometimes, it is one very effective and extended support system, even distant cousins bale out relatives in need without question. In the UK I feel people have lost this thread, this connectedness and that is why external systems such as pensions have become normal. Personally I feel we need to trade skills and strengths as individuals, family members, friends and neighbors to support each other and stop 'paying the man'. Mel, your posts are really thought provoking and inspiring well done xxx

  2. Thanks that's really kind. I agree, family should be the support network that we look to. I'm a long way from my family, and wish that I was able to be there more for them. We seem to have moved away from that completely. Thanks for your comment.

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