Once in a while something in the headlines catches my eye which generates an opinion bordering on a rant.
First of all, let me remind you of this from a couple of months ago:
It’s worth a read because I got the figures from the Government website, and some of what is contained in that post is a bit twitchy in this one……………..
I’ll entertain you with The Impossible Dream whilst you’re having a look.
OK then? Got a cuppa and biscuits? Then I’ll begin………………..
This was the headline that grabbed me:
Think you’re poor on £80,000 a year? A Labour government might make you more grateful for what you have now (link)
First and foremost, I see that the average income stated here has suddenly dropped from what the Government website suggests.
Secondly, this post is not about politics. We have a General Election coming up and quite honestly, I despair.
This post is more about budgets and money and how our leaders have no idea of the true state of Joe Public’s ‘wealth’ (or lack of it), neither do those like Mr 80K who feels he is so hard done by, though I do not know his circumstances. I just wonder how financial statistics are arrived at when earning £80K pa is a fortune to so many.
There are a lot of families, hard working families, who cannot attain or enjoy this kind of income no matter how many hours they put in. Many have mortgages, children, debt, but I bet they don’t drive flashy cars or have exotic holidays.
Now before you start shouting at me, I am NOT knocking anyone who works hard, earns good money, and enjoys a comfortable lifestyle. They deserve the luxuries and rewards of their labours. What I am knocking are those who bleat about not being able to live on generous salaries because they choose to overspend, perhaps to keep up with their friends, have the latest electronic toys and go even more into debt for them, live in expensive properties but can’t afford to pay the bills, or in some cases have sufficient savings in the banks to generate a lot of pounds in interest rather than just pennies like the rest of us.
Eighty grand would see us through about ten years at today’s current cost of living, but I concede we do not have a mortgage or rent to pay, have no children to worry about, and definitely no debt whatsoever. If we can’t afford it, we don’t have it. Simple.
We are used to living frugally, cutting our cloth to suit our purse, and doing without.
We’ve had it throughout our thirty plus years together, getting caught in negative equity, both of us experiencing redundancy, unemployment and in later years, ill health.
In truth, we do not want a fancy lifestyle or loads of dosh in the bank. We’re not used to it, we don’t suit it, and we wouldn’t know how to live like that.
All we want is to be allowed a decent standard of living, not be taxed to the hilt by day to day taxation with local taxes, food and utility bills. We don’t generate enough to pay income tax, so promises of raising the personal allowance threshold before tax doesn’t help non-tax payers like us but we do have bills to pay and pay those taxes like everyone else. We would like enough to enjoy life without having to worry about the next car maintenance or vet bill which is budgeted for only once a year. Both of those have been exceeded by about 300% this year, but we have still managed to come up smiling by making little adjustments elsewhere to compensate. Those cutbacks have now actually become the norm for us since losing 60% of Hubby’s disability allowance.
I was talking to a fellow dog walker the other day about state pensions. Like us, the goalposts were moved for her too and she didn’t qualify until she was 65, which she was in April. She has only just got it, without back dating, and I suggested she look into that as she should have got it the first week after her birthday. She told me that you now had to wait six months for your pension after your qualifying age as this was government policy, and it had affected both her and her husband.
To say the bricks were trying to release themselves from my bowel is an understatement and the first thing I did when I got home was check it out. If true, Hubby and I would have to compensate for the equivalent of ANOTHER YEAR ( six months each) from when we believed our pensions to begin. Already I shall get a reduced pension anyway as they have moved the National Insurance contributions to begin at 18, not 16 when I started work. I lose 2 years and thus have not contributed the minimum 35 years to qualify for a full state pension. Now I could ‘top up’ my contributions, but this would have to be from 2007 to the present day, and I do not have £8K to spare.
According to the Pensions Website, those approaching retirement age are sent a letter no less than 2 months before their relevant birthday inviting them to claim their pension, which is paid a month in arrears either at the beginning or end of the month as per your choosing. It is no longer an automatic entitlement, you have to ask for it.
We can download the necessary paperwork and intend to do so at least three months before our 66th birthday. There was no mention of a six month delay (though that doesn’t actually mean there isn’t one as it could well be hidden in the unpublished small print), so I am at a loss as to why they had to wait, unless of course they didn’t receive their initial invitation.