Hundreds of thousands of women aged 55-65 will be hardest hit by changes to the state pensions.Those of us born in the 1950s will have to wait longer than expected to receive our state pension due to rises in the state pension age.
For the past 25 years I’ve earned a reasonable living as journalist/writer. If things were different in my industry I would continue well into my 60s and beyond but the reality of dwindling fees and commissions makes this unrealistic, and I’m only too aware that I am one of many in this situation.
Naturally, I have diversified and taken on other work as well as some tentative steps into teaching to pay the bills (this used to be called a portfolio career but now it amounts to chicken scratching) plus I’m in the fortunate position that my family is now grown up; but it’s my age that is kind of the problem.
My state pension wasn’t exactly the gold medal at the finishing line, but now that I am 60, with work so thin on the ground, it would make all the difference, particularly now that my last piece of regularly paid work with The Herald is about to come to an end.
As someone born in 1955, I’m told that I will be 67 before I get the state pension – and possibly not the entire amount due to maternity breaks. Of course the choice to work on should be there but not everyone has that option, be it down to patchy employment prospects or the fact that they are no longer physically up to it.
Last November, I heard the Pension Minister, Baroness Altmann on Moneybox (yes it’s come to that) saying that she’d considered helping women in this position but could not find a way to do so, whilst telling a 60-something woman that she’d just have to keep working/ find a job. Now I’m all for baby boomer power but if you work in food retail, lugging heavy boxes post 60 is a fast track route to a gynaecology ward.
We have significant youth unemployment rates and it seems wrong that some should be reluctantly working on when a young person can’t even get a start. And do you want your infant child taught by 67-year-old, bearing in mind that we are not considered fit to sit on a jury after the age of 70?
I’m writing this to not say poor me but to highlight the fact that many women have been left with little time to plug their savings. Equality is all well and good (we are The Female Eunuch generation after all) but the alacrity with which these changes are being implemented and the fact that we’ve been living under the cloud of a recession will cause hardship for many women.
If you are a woman in this position, please read http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/family/2016/01/womens-state-pension-petition-hits-100000-signatures
And visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776 to sign the petition. Thanks to my primary school friend Kate Maclean for passing on the link.