What is usually meant by a public sector pension is an end of salary pension where the amount is guaranteed. This means that the employee has worked hard spending a few decades usually in the same profession and sometimes in the same place of work. The employer will have contributed up to a fifth of their salary into their pension pot. No doubt the employee has worked hard to qualify for this level of contribution, with the pension invested in large collections of pensions to maximise interest. It cannot be compared to a private pension where the contributions are only made by the worker, and only individually invested producing less interest.
This employee has worked hard week in week out for decades in the security that there is a time when they can retire, and that they will be able to maintain a reasonable standard of living when retired. This word security is interesting. The finance industry uses this word to sell its products by preying on our innate insecurity needed to protect ourselves. This makes the public sector worker invest in this insecurity by setting up a system of keeping the person fearful and working. Fearful that if they stop working and contributing to their pension pot they will not have a comfortable retirement.
This can lead toan employee becoming institutionalised. That is to say a reliance is created on the work institution to maintain security. This can lead to a mind set that expects everything to be predictable and secure. This can create a conservative view of the world.
Ultimately at an extreme this is true. If you have no money at retirement then it will not be fun. A lot of public sector workers like cleaners, receptionists, & support workers do not have a large salary so a pension is important. The people I focus on here are the public sector workers who have good salaries with good retirement pensions.
To go back to the conversation. There is a familiar pattern. Firstly you are asked if you have a pension. If you say ‘yes’ you pass some kind of test that you are a similarly minded person and deemed safe! If you say ‘no’ you are regarded as a mad person who has been wasting their time not having a pension. They ask what are you going to do? Aren’t you worried? Then whatever the response to this question is the speaker will launch into the merits of their own pension.
The pension fear is contagious. Fear creates doubt and uncertainty where there was freedom and creativity.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2014
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.