Wednesday, August 31, 2011

pensions are wages - fight for them

The wage is the sum of money necessary to the reproduction of any one's labour power. This amount is ever renegotiated following, in particular, the balance of power between workers and bosses helped by their state. Amongst contractual elements is the one of a guaranteed income for one's old age. That's why this theme had been for a long time one of class struggle's great factors. Henceforth, a pension is nothing else than wages deferred until a worker's legal exit at retirement age. Today, it is all about this part of our wages. Baloney about life expectancy are only smoke screens set by bosses and the state in order not to confront the question.

SOYMB reads that the number of workers planning to retire after the age of 66 has doubled over the past year as poor economic conditions force people to work for longer. Older people have been particularly hard-hit by the sharp rise in inflation due to their reliance on commodities such as fuel to heat the home, while many pensions are fixed or are not keeping up with the rising cost of living.

A new study has found that one in ten people now say they will have to retire between the ages of 66 and 70 to cope with the double whammy of increased living costs and the plummeting value of fixed-income pensions. The report, by Baring Asset Management, also found that a further 12.8 million people - a third of non-retired British adults - are unable to say what age they hope to retire at, while 10 per cent say they have no plans to retire at all.
A separate investigation by Prudential has revealed that a pensioner retiring this year on a fixed income - one which does not increase with inflation - could lose 60 per cent of their spending power over the course of a 20-year retirement. It also found that the average person retiring in 2011 expects an annual income of £16,600, but if that income remains fixed it will be worth a mere £6,700 in today's money in 20 years' time.

Marino Valensise, chief investment officer at Barings, said: "We have seen the cost of living continue to rise, making retirement more expensive and resulting in many more people having to put retirement off."

Industry experts warned that many older people have previously taken out loans in order to help younger family members to get on the housing ladder or fund them through university, but have now found that their pension payments will not be sufficient to make repayments.

Yvonne McDiarmid, chief executive of Money Advice Scotland, said: "People having to postpone their retirement is becoming a lot more commonplace, perhaps because they have taken on additional debt to help out family members, thinking they would be able to pay them off with a better lump sum payment (from their pension pot] than they are getting." She added that an increasing number of people working past the age of 60 would have a knock-on effect for the rest of the working population. "There is a limit to how much people can tighten their belts to cope with the increased cost of living, so we are seeing a much higher number of people continuing to work for longer. Although these people have very good reasons to do so … people staying in work for longer … means there are fewer jobs for the younger generation. Also, it means people who should be sitting back and enjoying their retirement are having to work instead."

Little is said about pension rule changes that expose those who retire to the financial market hazards of the stock-market. In the end the capitalist want us to pay more today to get less tomorrow.

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