Strawman more urgent than snowman

March 02, 2018 Tom Murray

politics Ageing population Autoenrolment pension reform irish government

Strawman more urgent than snowman   The Irish Government’s latest foray into the world of pension reform has been buried under an avalanche of snow. Given the ageing population in Ireland and the ever-mounting costs of providing for people in their old age, this issue deserves far more front-page space than the ability of people to survive two days without a fresh supply of bread or milk. Such is human nature, however, that we find Storm Emma dominating the front pages whilst the government plans for pensions are firmly buried deep in the business sections.
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There is no fairness in reducing pension’s tax relief

April 17, 2015 Tom Murray

longevity Pensions general election UK politicians

We are in the midst of a general election and, naturally, there are all sorts of spending proposals flying around. Of course these proposals will need to be paid for, and it is worrying how frequently the idea of reducing pensions tax relief is being bandied around as a means of raising funds to pay for these new proposals.
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When TLC isn’t enough, LTC comes into it’s own

October 28, 2014 Tom Murray

protection x factor Pensions UK LTC

Over the last decade, the autumn television season has been dominated by a battle between ITV’s The X-Factor and the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. While initially the X-Factor led the way and regularly thumped Strictly in the ratings, the gap has been narrowing and for the last couple of years it is Strictly that is the dominant offering on the television. One of the factors involved in this turn-around is the audience the two shows are pitched at, with the X-factor being aimed at a younger audience than Strictly. The improvement in Strictly’s ratings mirrors the ageing of the UK, as the rate of increase in the older segment continues unabated.
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A modest proposal to resolve the public sector pension crisis

November 02, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions Public sector pensions HMRC

It is upsetting for everyone to see public sector workers driven onto the streets in an attempt to preserve the meagre lifestyle that they have been promised after a lifetime’s devoted service on behalf of Her Majesty. The despair of the workers at the proposed delay in giving them their pensions and the significant reduction in value of those pensions can only cause distress to any decent citizen observing the situation.
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Pick a Card, Any Card!

October 25, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation FSA Life and Pensions Australia

When a magician performs, people struggle to spot the actual trick. They know there is one and they are desperately trying to avoid being misdirected by the magician into looking in the wrong place while he completes the manoeuvre to produce the illusion.
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Canada trusts its pension providers – why don't we?

July 13, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions Canada superannuation FSA New Products

Once again, the Canadians are showing how to tackle fundamental problems by using a large dose of common sense and sweating the assets you already have. Following on from their brilliant but obvious approach to transferring pension risk to individuals and then teaching them to cope with it (see blog - http://wp.me/pn0vi-3S), they now seem certain to proceed with the introduction of PRPPs – Pooled Registered Pension Plans. This rather clever new product is a response to the lack of access that 50% of Canadians have to workplace based pensions, either because they are working in small firms in the private sector or are self-employed. In essence sets out to solve the same problem that the auto-enrolment / National Employment Savings Trust sets out to do in the UK. The product removes the need for an employer- employee relationship for membership of the plan and allows for the pooling of all contributions from the employees of many small firms and self-employed individuals. The size of the resulting plans allows economies of scale to be achieved similar to the plans of the large employers, delivering better value to the individual pension contributors.
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Compulsion may be the only choice for pensions

June 29, 2011 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions regulation NEST

Monday’s Populus survey for the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) showed that 47% of those aged between eighteen and thirty-four would save more for their retirement if they knew how much state pension they would get. Accordingly, the NAPF have stated that the reason for the lack of saving for the future with young people is that the government have failed to make it clear what level of state pension will be available in the future, so it’s their fault that nobody is saving. This makes the government a handy scapegoat but, in truth, the connection between government clarity over state pension pay outs in thirty years time and the lack of urgency felt about savings by today’s young people is slightly tenuous. To see what the survey is saying, you have to consider the likely basis for individuals answering the questions. For a start, no matter how much the marketing companies try, the setting is completely artificial. The respondents are asked a specific set of questions, which by their nature focus them on the issue in hand.
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The ACFS show the Australian government a quick win on pensions

October 27, 2010 Tom Murray

Illustrate Plus Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions Australia

The recent research carried out by Mercer for the Australian Centre for Financial Studies[1] makes some fascinating points -(No, it really does.) This report is the second one produced for the Centre and it creates a global pensions index by which they compare the retirement income systems in fourteen countries across all five continents.
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French riot - because they’re worth it!

October 19, 2010 Tom Murray

Pensions UK French riots Life and Pensions Ageing population

The surprising thing about the rioting in France is that we haven’t yet seen it closer to home. In truth the French people appear to have cottoned on to the fact that the current economic crisis, aided by years of poor planning by western governments, is going to have a dramatic effect on their future lifestyles – dramatic in the sense of a Shakespearean tragedy, while the rest of us are accepting this as if it is ordained by the fates.
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The futures here - in the seaside towns

September 30, 2010 Tom Murray

Pensions superannuation Life and Pensions Ageing population Life & Pensions

There’s nothing like a break by the sea, the quiet relaxing walk on the promenade with only the raucous calls of the gulls to punctuate the rhythmic hissing of the waves over the stony beach, the brisk wind blowing onshore that makes you shiver even in September, and the quiet whirring of the mobility scooters as they whizz past you on the promenade, nearly taking your shins out in the process.
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