The actual situation of our young reflects work
insecurity, few possibilities to work for an enterprise during all life, few
possibilities of a working life after the age of 50. If it is so, the
unfortunate ones are those with private pensions based on savings more than a
wage plan, with the possible debased private pension plans and a state pension
fixed on the cost of living. If we also add to that annoying list the changes in
government politics in order to make the pensions less State depending and more
as a personal contribution, we have a scene that should frightened all young
people. The intergeneration cooperation means that we, as retired people, have
more to offer than to receive. It would be irresponsible to keep our mouth shut
when we have so much to contribute. Our task is to warn the young about the
dangers of private pensions, and in the United Kingdom this will be easy. Our
newspapers are full of terrifying stories about how taxpayers have been fooled
about the fees and benefits of private pensions. Various retired people groups
have evaluated that only a strong enterprise could stop the continuous erosion
of the state pensions. We also think that the young generation must join us in
our campaign. As they become more numerous, the retired people are becoming a
more considerable politic strength and there are signs that it is just beginning
to be understood. If politicians can understand anything it is the power of the
vote. We have to inform the young generation that pensions universalization is
the only way to eliminate poverty in the third age.
The majority of European systems of state pensions depend on a
social contract between the generations. Those that normally have a remunerated
job pay the pension of those that are retired, with the expectation that when
they will be retired future wage earners will contribute in a similar way. The
pension is based on a wage system until you are gone. It is not subsidized. Of
course, we, the retired, have paid for the anterior generations as a part of our
obligation in respecting the contract.
We can think that the young have their proper interest in defending
decent pensions for the retired. Maybe the most significant interest is that
they want a decent standard of living for their parents and grandparents. But we
can’t guarantee that since a majority of young and elderly support the
intergenerational solidarity this standard of living is
The government politics, in any country, that
increase the individual responsibility for the pensions at the expense of the
community responsibility, are threatening the relations between generations. The
population is getting older and the pensions are continuously presented as a
“charge”. You have certainly heard the argument that since people live longer
and they don’t have fulltime work, the payments to the social security are
unbearable. This is now universally known as “the demographic time bomb”, and it
is used in order to justify cuts in the social security levels without caring
about the elderly who have paid their contribution according to the national
insurance scheme during their labour life.
I believe that we are perfectly prepared to make an important
contribution. We know the value of good health and financial means sufficient
for retirement. We have considerable experience about the financial industry. We
are Europeans and it is on that basis that we compare. With the settlement of
the intergeneration Foundations I hope we will be able to commission research.
Many organizations have a section for the young and one for the retired. I don’t
personally know anyone with the purpose of joining both young and elderly. We
are then facing an exciting prospect.
Above all, I believe that we should not have any doubt about
proclaiming our message. Maybe there would be some advantages for us, already
retired, but the major beneficiaries would probably be our sons and grandsons.
Isn’t this worth fighting for?
President of TSB Bank Retired Staff Association Manchester