An intelligent look at the retirement debate

Jun 22 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

One of the more intelligent discussions of how we ought to deal with retirement appeared in today’s Times courtesy of a typically lucid column by Libby Purves.

Ideally, the pension crisis needs tackling from two directions: by encouraging private saving, and by making it possible — but not inevitable — for energetic workers to carry on, while keeping employers’ freedom of judgment.

But, as she goes on to point out, government policies have destroyed the incentive for people to save in the UK by systematically dismantling almost all the tax incentives to do so - despite all the empty rhetoric to the contrary, the truth is that the British tax regime punishes prudence.

But this idea really caught our eye – which sadly means that it is probably far too sensible and straightforward ever to see the light of day.

Or you could take the robust “all square” option, which I am forever proposing, and simply decree that nobody over 65 (who does not draw a state pension) need pay any tax and national insurance whatsoever on incomes below £30,000. That would cut paperwork at a stroke and encourage semi- retirement and part-time work. Age and experience could do the natural thing, and move to the edges of work without leaving it.

The Times | How we can help people to retire with good grace