It’s always a pleasure to see your bank balance improving. My Aperol fund – at least in old age – is looking really healthy at the moment. That’s mainly thanks to the stock market, however, and not particularly any saving effort on my part.
I expect Hargreaves Lansdown are the only other people who are as thrilled about this as me. They do the admin for my self-invested pension plan (Sipp) and were kind enough to drop me an email update about it last week. Or perhaps my children, upon whom the burden of my elderly years will be less onerous if I have oodles of my own cash and a certain orange drink. Yes, applause all round: my initial input of about £9,500 has turned magically into £26,054.01.
Admittedly this has taken several years. I put the money into the Sipp in dribs and drabs, starting in 2004 with a small amount and putting in the greater part over the past three years. I’ve also had a massive boost from the government which has topped up my contributions from £2,880 to £3,600. I’ve also managed to pick some gold-fingered fund managers to grow my money, notably Nick Train at Lindsell Train and Mark Slater (Slater Investments). And of course the stock market is riding high at the moment – it doesn’t always go up.
HL has also said that, without further top-ups, my current stash will generate an income of £750 a year. I’m going to have to start ferreting away much more to enjoy a truly minted retirement. But I’m grateful to myself for having the wit to have put away even this little amount. The latest figures going around show that two-thirds of workers whose employers fail to pay them the minimum wage are women. Even in the top jobs, women tend to take career breaks to care for children or elderly relatives, leaving a gap in their pension savings. And, if they take on part-time work in order to manage a family too, women may not earn enough to be signed up to auto-enrolment for a pension (now a legal requirement for most full-time employees) and miss out on valuable employer contributions.
Impossible as it is to find any fat between the mortgage and the credit card, us ladies really have to find a bit extra for the pension every month. If you haven’t got a work pension, you can still get a personal pension and SMM has a guide to doing that here. Put down that new lipstick – the future may never be truly minted but you could make it more orange.