It's said that when you get to your wit's end, you'll find God lives there. I'm starting out with a joke, because what follows may bring tears to your eyes in you're British. And, if you're at your wit's end about money, maybe take this as a GREAT INCENTIVE to SAVE REGULARLY from an early age... to protect yourself in retirement.
I'm going to to give you a few worldwide stats about pensions and retirement - always a tricky issue. But it's SO good to think the UK's not a Third World country when it comes to things like this, isn't it? Or is it?
I've got some shocking facts for you, of which younger folks should take note. Believe it or not, there are some countries where pensions actually EXCEED earnings! ... Yes! The Netherlands, for example, typically get 101% of earnings. I'm here to give you the shocking fact that in a table of 45 countries before me, we come NEXT TO BOTTOM at 29%. ONLY South Africa, is worse, at 17%. Can you BELIEVE it? Turkey gets 102%, and Croatia - the HIGHEST - gets - wait for it - 129%! So they get more in Croatia by retiring than working. Here are a few more figures: Poland 39%, Ireland 42%, Switzerland 45%, US 49%, Germany 51%, Estonia and Slovenia 57%, Lithuania 71%, Brazil 76%, Cyprus& China 83%, Bulgaria 89%, Italy 93%, and India 99%. BELIEVE it or NOT!
So, still think we're NOT a Third World economy? THIS, a country in which many in their late sixties and seventies, find the need to work on. So what is going on? And, you know what? It gets worse. Those countries with the highest pensions also have the highest percentage of home ownership. Here are some examples: Romania, 96%, Croatia and China 90%, India 87%, Poland 84%, running down to US and UK both at 64%.
So, I repeat. What is going on? How do we improve our world sensibility rankings? I'm guessing that the people in countries with higher pensions and home ownership focus more on acquiring what they can actually afford to BUY, as opposed what they can afford to RENT. Prior to the financial crash, the banks were inviting us weekly to borrow more and live for the day.The result is repenting in the morrow.
Do you remember a radio show where the farmer's phrase "I think the answer lies in the soil," was famous? Somehow, I don't think that's the answer to this problem. I think the answer lies in avoidance of debt, rather than collective heads in the sand. And, maybe, no longer thinking our country is responsible for policing the rest of the world. Those top rankers only focus on their OWN country. Time to think about our FUTURE standard of living, I think, rather than just our PRESENT one.