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Weekend reading: 75 not out*

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What caught my eye this week.

Just when you thought pensions had been rehabilitated with the freedom to spend your savings how you like in retirement – and the laudable success of auto-enrollment nudging you there – along comes a conservative think tank ready to bugger them up again.

Not content with his faction bringing us the thermo-nuclear bungle that is Brexit, former Tory ‘leader’ Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice suggest the government withhold the state pension until 75:

The SPA [State Pension Age] should better reflect the longer life expectancies that we now enjoy and be used to support the fiscal balance of the nation.

The SPA in the UK is set to rise to 66 by 2020 (Pensions Act 2011), to 67 between 2026 and 2028 (State Pension Act 2014) and to 68 between 2044 and 2046 (State Pension Act 2007).

We propose accelerating the SPA increase to 70 by 2028 and then 75 by 2035.

There’s a lot to be written about this. For one thing, my co-blogger The Accumulator might have to revisit his fear-de-mongering article on why your pension won’t be plundered.

(Oops! Lucky it’s a Bank Holiday @TA!)

More seriously, the CSJ report shows its workings, and it’s hard to come away from it without thinking Something Must Be Done. I also personally happen to like the idea of working indefinitely, in some capacity, professional damp squib to the FIRE brigade that I am. I believe it’s probably healthier for most of us.

However I’d certainly expect to be easing up into my 60s. Perhaps a day or two a week by 70. I’d want to have options. I wouldn’t want politicians forever moving the goalposts away from me like some demented version of football devised by the Greek philosopher Zeno.

More darkly, as The Guardian points out there are pockets of the country such as Glasgow where male life expectancy doesn’t even hit the 75-year old mark. And life expectancy isn’t the same as healthy life expectancy, anyway.

An additional fear for the likes of us is that the age when we could access private pensions could also leap.

It’s already set to rise to 57 by 2028. Perhaps you’d be barred until 65 under the CSJ’s regime?

The alternative – wealthy types retiring in their 50s en masse to be served lattes on weekday afternoons by bitter septuagenarians – sounds almost worse.

Existential diversification

Of course this is only a proposal. It carries exactly zilch formal weight. Even Duncan Smith has said it’s not his policy, and he’s a Magneto for nonsense.

But I do think it’s a reminder that the rules of the game can and will change again and again.

In just the life of this blog we’ve seen it with everything from the pension lifetime allowance to the taxation of dividends to those who came here from the EU in good faith and lived here for decades being ordered to pay up for the right to stay.

Change is constant, which is why I’m as bemused when I hear people explain their entire strategy is 100% based on pensions as I was when old-time investors told me they eschewed using ISAs because their dividends were tax-free.

Political risk is hard to avoid unless you’re ready and able to move (and let’s not mention expats again this week, eh? 😉 )

But there are pragmatic approaches you can take, such as using various investment vehicles together (ISAs and pensions, at a minimum, and probably also property), keeping your hand in at earning to preserve your human capital, and trying to stay healthy for as long as possible.

As someone should have trademarked: Not everything that can be modeled to two decimal places on a FIRE spreadsheet matters. And not everything that matters can be modeled.

*If only Joe Root could say the same.

From Monevator

How to invest as an expat – Monevator [Controversial, several comments add a lot of value]

From the archive-ator: Is your cash safe in the bank? – Monevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view you can click to read the piece without being a paid subscriber. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing if you read them a lot!1

Trump “orders” US companies to look for alternatives to China trade partners – BBC

Britain’s most expensive cities are becoming [slightly] more affordable… – ThisIsMoney

…while under-pressure sellers drop prices leading to a pre-Brexit summer sales spike – ThisIsMoney

Small investors in Kevin McCloud’s property mini bonds stand to lose up to 97% – Guardian

More people than ever want to work in asset management, CFA data shows – Institutional Investor

Most of the rest of the world’s stock markets look cheaper than the US – MSN

Products and services

The deadline for PPI claims is August 29 at 11:59pm [*KLAXON*]ThisIsMoney

Payday come early: Monzo allows you to receive BACS payments eight hours sooner – ThisIsMoney

Ratesetter will pay you £100 [and me a cash bonus] if you invest £1,000 for a year Ratesetter

Aunts, uncles, godparents, and family friends can now gift premium bonds to kids – ThisIsMoney

Homes with extra space to let [Gallery]Guardian

Comment and opinion

The top four portfolios to recession-proof your investments – Portfolio Charts

Financial struggle and the human instinct – The Simple Dollar

If you’re a young investor you should hope for a stock market crash – The Irrelevant Investor

How to make a thousand bucks an hour – Mr Money Mustache

Don’t wait for a life-changing event to change jobs – Fast Company

Monzo, metal credit cards, and bullet journals – Simple Living in Somerset

Which countries have the greatest per capita wealth? – Visual Capitalist

Why you should keep playing offence into early retirement – MarketWatch

Writing wrongs – Humble Dollar

If you’re good with money, don’t get married [IMHO]Business Insider

Naughty corner: Active antics

Warren Buffett is the greatest investor of all-time – A Wealth of Common Sense

A deep dive into the WeWork IPO – Stratechery

John Hempton on bank stocks and other active nerdery [Podcast]Odd Lots

Is US market outperformance a result of its sizeable tech sector? – Elm Funds

The downside of discounted cashflow analysis – Albert Bridge Capital

Trend investing protects the downside, but at a cost – Movement Capital

The ‘beach money’ threat to early stage investors – Institutional Investor

Kindle book bargains

The Winning Formula: Leadership, Strategy and Motivation The F1 Way by David Coulthard – £1.99 on Kindle

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg Mckeown – £1.99 on Kindle

The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits that Will Transform your Life before 8AM by Hal Elrod – £0.99 on Kindle

The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt by Robert Sutton – £1.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Amazon fires: Brazil threatened over EU trade deal – BBC

Diversify your identity – Ozan Varol [via Abnormal Returns]

Will Morrison’s 30p plastic bags end our habit for good? – Guardian

The Athletic keeps on signing subs. An antidote to clickbait media? – Bloomberg

Research suggests too much exposure to bad TV as a child can lead to populism – Guardian

And finally…

“The psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer has a simple heuristic. Never ask the doctor what you should do. Ask him what he would do if he were in your place. You would be surprised at the difference”
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Anti-fragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

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  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. []
{ 60 comments… add one }
  • 1 Anonymous Coward August 23, 2019, 11:33 pm

    Could someone please provide a link to comments 1-50 on the expat piece? I can only see 51 onwards.

  • 2 ermine August 24, 2019, 12:09 am

    > In just the life of this blog we’ve seen it with everything from the pension lifetime allowance to the taxation of dividends

    In all fairness, on the up side, the massive greater flexibility of pensions away from the annuity/capped drawdown scenario has made a lot of things possible that weren’t before

    @AC You have to scroll to the bottom to get to this link to the start of the comments

  • 3 cat793 August 24, 2019, 1:50 am

    As things stand there are so many problems with raising the retirement age further without a lot of onerous supporting policies that might create their own problems. As you say life expectancy is not the same thing as being fit, healthy and capable of work. Many people will begin to see a significant decline in their capabilities well before 75 and will find working increasingly unrealistic. It is one thing pushing pieces of paper around, quite another to be doing physically punishing or dangerous jobs. Would you really want to brave public roads knowing that increasing numbers of heavy trucks are being driven by septuagenarians? In Australia there is already a growing problem of workers being forced to leave occupations in their fifties and early sixties because of their health or because they have to care for a partner with failing health and being put onto unemployment benefits until they qualify for the age pension. They are unable to perform their old role, unsuitable for many others and discriminated against by most employers yet expected to get back out into the workforce. The result is growing misery for many.

  • 4 Learner August 24, 2019, 5:23 am

    No one under 40 will be surprised when this comes to pass.

    Does the Centre for Social Justice (?!) hazard a guess at the kind of jobs people 60-75 will be doing in 2035?

  • 5 Mr Optimistic August 24, 2019, 6:12 am

    @Anonymous. Scroll to the bottom of the comments you can see and you’ll find a link ‘ previous posts’.

  • 6 JimJim August 24, 2019, 7:34 am

    The Guardian piece “Can too much bad TV lead to populism? ” Seems too easy a target for 48% of the population to jump on the back of to start with but I would like to see the data and method behind this piece. If it is not politically backed, the upshot of these findings could be dangerous in the coming years and politics could swing to more populism than we even have now, if anyone seriously wants to get elected ever. (Makes you think that Mr Duncan-Smith’s lot might be trying to lose an election on purpose perhaps???).
    I do not believe it is possible (or desirable) to un-glue the phones and tablets from the hands of the young, middle aged and newly retired folk that have adopted the technology with gusto. If these findings are correct, education about the consequences of over use should be the way forward.

  • 7 Richard August 24, 2019, 7:44 am

    People talk about office jobs being ok in your 70s. I have an office job, computer based, and get a form of RSI. Been told to just live with it by doctors (couldn’t find anything obviously wrong). Can’t believe I will be wanting to do this in my 70s either (or my 60s).

  • 8 Simon August 24, 2019, 7:46 am

    Great reading and even better links
    Monzo, metal credit cards, and bullet journals – Simple Living in Somerset

    That has just introduced me to concepts and just stuff I haven’t even considered, pondered etc. GTD – seriously!

  • 9 Anonymous Coward August 24, 2019, 7:47 am

    Thank you both.

  • 10 james August 24, 2019, 8:49 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we see large public sector strikes if the retirement age is raised significantly. My civil service pension while generous is set to the state retirement age, and the pension is a significant part of the package. Already discussion in my office the other day around if pension would still be worth it if the retirement age was 75. Has emphasized to me why it is important that I have other investments and not just rely on my dB pension.

  • 11 Brod August 24, 2019, 10:32 am

    Work till you’re 75? Christ, I’m incredibly lucky and have been allowed to work three days a week after a heart bypass at 52 last summer, but I’m having trouble finding any interest, desire or motivation to do even that despite being physically in the best condition I’ve ever been in.

    Yes, from what I’ve read (and I have a keen interest in my life expectancy and quality of life 🙂 ) it’s healthier to keep working and I intend to do that until I’m 60 and as long as I can after. Keep mentally engaged and keep physically active. I’ve seen the guys in Weatherspoons at 11am, they don’t look fulfilled. Mending roads and emptying the bins? God help those guys unless there’s some sort of Universal Basic Income set at a civilized level. But as the UK pension is pretty much the meanest in Europe, I can’t see that happening.

    Of course, the path is clear, generate the headlines, get people discussing it, normalize it and eventually 70 or 72 will seem like “common sense”.

  • 12 Ric August 24, 2019, 11:08 am

    I’m looking forward to reading the articles in the “Naughty corner: Active antics” section, thanks 🙂

  • 13 LukeM August 24, 2019, 11:19 am

    @TI – I was only last week, at the Financial Independence London meet-up in St James’s Park, telling someone you weren’t smitten with the RE part of FIRE. Thanks for the reminder. ;o)

  • 14 DrVictor August 24, 2019, 11:55 am

    People live longer that’s for sure, but statistics are just blind tools. Your quality of life and ability of work is likely to be affected over 65.
    50% of people over 65 have osteoarthritis affecting daily living and many of them will require joint replacement surgery.
    7% of people over 65 have dementia, and 25% of new cancers are diagnosed over 65, with a median for many between 68-72.
    So your capability to work over 65 might be dramatically reduced.

  • 15 Yami August 24, 2019, 12:11 pm

    “In just the life of this blog we’ve seen it with everything from the pension lifetime allowance to the taxation of dividends to those who came here from the EU in good faith and lived here for decades being ordered to pay up for the right to stay.”

    What do you mean? Registration for settled status for EU citizens is free of charge and we keep our rights to free NHS treatment, state pension etc just as before.

  • 16 ZXSpectrum48k August 24, 2019, 12:43 pm

    A report from the “Centre for Social Justice”. BS. The last thing this think tank wants is social justice. A more appropriate name would be the “Centre for the Reintroduction of Serfdom”.

    We get the politicans we deserve and on the basis of the current collection of intellectual lightweights from Trump to BoJo, JRM, IDS through to Corbyn, we probably deserve to go extinct. Skynet taking over would be a good thing.

  • 17 dearieme August 24, 2019, 1:11 pm

    The current justification for increasing the state pension age is that it should compensate for increases in life expectancy. But there are now signs – probably inconclusive, but signs – that life expectancy may be levelling out. That would mean that there’s a case for halting the increase once it reaches the ordained 68, or even 67.

    Because most people seem to find pensions a great bore there is a case for not changing anything about them that people do understand. Thus I’d leave the 25% tax-free lump sum alone, because it’s probably one of the few facts that many people know correctly. On the same grounds, after each change the pension age should be left alone for many decades.

    The solution to any problems associated with the DB pensions of government employees is to scrap them, safeguarding accrued rights of course. If that means that pay rises would be required to attract and retain staff, so be it. Though a well run government would want to make such rises heavily focussed on jobs that are hard to fill while getting rid of many employees who aren’t really doing anything useful. Roughly speaking, reversing the Gordon Brown jobs-for-the-boys policies would be a reasonable first step.

    Mind you the expression “a well run government” might occasion guffaws.

  • 18 Marked August 24, 2019, 1:43 pm

    Anyone notice that IDS belongs to

    the Centre for Social Justice

    and European Research Group

    where both groups are Oxymorons?

    I see others are also noting that retirement at 65 where you may have a few years of relative fitness for your retirement is very different to being 10 years older where fitness diminishes. I’ve seen it in both my father and father-in-law where both have slowed down massively from 73 or so. One is 78 now and we wonder how long he has , and the other is 75 and nowhere near as mobile.

    It’s beyond me how this could pass without voter dissent, but then again it’s beyond me how there could be an election directly after a no deal brexit since if just 15% of yellowhammer is correct voters will be very upset with the Conservatives.

    My money is still a deal by 31st Oct, with a change to backstop, but probably a 10 year time limit.

  • 19 Ben August 24, 2019, 2:33 pm

    So turning to economic and monetary policy.

    In a world where the government can borrow for 30 years, basically for free. What’s the justification for increasing retirement ages? I look across at Japan and starting to get an inkling that maybe they’re 20 years ahead of us, rather than some special case.

    It’s over 10 years since the financial crisis, inflation has been low, interest rates have been low, bond yields low, and we’ve had quantitive easing. Maybe this is a new normal?

    Ps one Grandad died at 69, the other is 80 and not in great health, he wouldn’t have been working to 75. If you do an office job with an understanding boss you could maybe do it. You cant be doing any kind of manual labour until that age, you’re just going to have a load of working class people in penury until they’re old enough to retire. Crazy.

  • 20 Adrian August 24, 2019, 3:11 pm

    “Centre for Social Justice” lol
    Pension at 75 sounds like a “good idea” dreamed up by people who will never be subject to it. Keep younger people working longer to pay for the lifestyles of those lucky enough to have bailed-out in time.
    How about existing pensioners paying more tax? They have, after all, enjoyed the benefits of a welfare state that future generations will never have. Funny this kind of proposal never gets a mention. Can’t think why.

  • 21 Rick G August 24, 2019, 3:25 pm

    Kindle book bargain suggestion:
    I just bought ‘Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business’ by Charles Duhigg for £2.49 this morning. (I was feeling frivolous, I usually only go for the 99p Kindle deals!)
    I love the ‘Kindle book bargains’ section of these posts and thought I would add this book to the mix. Keep up the good work!

  • 22 The Borderer August 24, 2019, 3:29 pm

    Has anyone considered the makeup of the ‘working group’ who produced ‘Ageing Confidentially’?

    Amongst them we have: –

    Ben Houchen – “…disproven economic claims of prominent Remainers…” (Writing in Brexit Central)

    Dr Adam Marshall – “…tough period for many in business…when the dedication and passion of British business truly shines through.”

    John Mills – founded Labour Leave, having long been a supporter of the Labour Euro-Safeguards Campaign, and has been Chair of The People’s Pledge, Co-Chair of Business for Britain, Chair and then Vice-Chair of Vote Leave.

    Dame Helena Morrisey – “joined 37 senior professionals backing Brexit”

    Gerard Lyons – Chief Economic Adviser to Boris Johnson while he was Mayor of London. He was Co-Founder of Economists for Brexit and is co-author of Clean Brexit.

    DS – enough said

    Gabrielle Erhardt – A very pretty intern who left university a few months ago.

    Is this group a reflection of what some believe to be Brexiteers’ sinister aims to remove the ‘yoke’ of the EU’s employment and human rights laws from the UK, allowing them to force people to work until they drop?

  • 23 Adrian August 24, 2019, 5:30 pm

    A really nasty idea from a bunch of disaster capitalists.

  • 24 The Investor August 24, 2019, 6:31 pm

    @Yami — You do now. Initially there was a mandatory charge and there will be a mandatory registration.

  • 25 Ian August 24, 2019, 7:07 pm

    Rather spookily Joe Root ends the day 75 not out…

  • 26 Jonathan August 24, 2019, 8:42 pm

    Impressed with your prescience – Root precisely 75 not out at today’s close. He will probably need 200 not out to save the match though.

    Future retirement prospects could be scary. I am very grateful I reached that stage before the upward adjustment, and my wife has now followed me using the current early retirement age – and it seems that previous employers will retain the original pay out ages for her even if state pension age increases.

    The article about mean versus median wealth was interesting. No wonder a cup of coffee in Switzerland is so expensive! (Let others report on Australia which I haven’t visited). Trying to relate that to my own position was difficult however, while my current net wealth exceeds both the listed median and mean UK wealth that is not at all representative of where it has been for most of my lifetime. And we are doing our best in the early and healthy stage of retirement to make best use of that paper wealth while we can.

  • 27 Andrew August 24, 2019, 8:45 pm

    These plans are all well and good but what if you get ill. I have had to retire at 50 because of ill health. All my careful planning out the window.

  • 28 The Borderer August 24, 2019, 8:48 pm
  • 29 JohnW August 24, 2019, 9:33 pm

    The possibility of working to 75 depends very much on what you class as working. It’s “probably” fine if you are sat on your arse pushing pieces of paper around a desk all day, but rather different if you are a labour on a building site carrying a hod of bricks up a ladder for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week.

  • 30 dearieme August 24, 2019, 10:15 pm

    “while my current net wealth exceeds both the listed median and mean UK wealth that is not at all representative of where it has been for most of my lifetime.” Such a consideration will not stop the ranters on the subject. Your wealth needs to be taxed to buy votes from whomever it is handed to.

  • 31 Conor August 24, 2019, 10:42 pm

    “to those who came here from the EU in good faith and lived here for decades being ordered to pay up for the right to stay.”

    I see you’re spouting your Brexit Remainer bullshit again. It is completely free to apply for the right to remain. It costs nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero and you can even do it with a mobile phone app. Those who applied early and did pay have been refunded.

  • 32 M S August 24, 2019, 11:35 pm

    the Centre for Social Justice

    Wow, who asked these people to tell us how and when to take our retirement. Such a paternal attitude from individuals who obviously know what it’s like to do manual or office work for 50 years!!!

    Unfortunately much like our MPs, this group of individuals are not representative of the public in the UK. I am quite happy to sit in the House of Lords on full expenses at 75 and take my afternoon nap or write the occasional article for the telegraph and grumble about the loss of the work ethic in our 70 year olds…

  • 33 The Investor August 24, 2019, 11:51 pm

    I see you’re spouting your Brexit Remainer bullshit again.

    @Conor — I see you’re unable to understand simple concepts. Firstly, they *did* have to pay, as you state in your reply. They didn’t “apply early”, they just applied. After a lot of push back and complaint “spouting” by the likes of me — together with the inconceivable incompetence of the Leave contingent to agree on anything like a Brexit — the government made concessions, including scrapping the fee to Remain. No thanks to the likes of you, who presumably shrugged and said “I’m alright Jack.” (Or maybe “I’m alright Jacques.”)

    Secondly, the wider point was that the ground can change under your feet. If you can’t see that applied to foreign national EU citizens living in the UK than I’m not spectacularly surprised that you voted as you did, among your many other doubtless well-founded reasons.

  • 34 The Borderer August 25, 2019, 12:52 am

    Clearly you believe that any voice that is not in favour of a totally chaotic Brexit is ‘bullshit’.

    If I was unkind, I might suggest you sign up to to the very many populist groups that are available. But then, perhaps you already have?

  • 35 Ben August 25, 2019, 7:10 am

    I’ve just read a BBC article on how BJ is going to be a tough negotiator with the US.

    “Offering an example of a restriction, Mr Johnson said: “Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market because of, I don’t know, some sort of food and drug administration restriction.”

    He continued: “UK bell peppers cannot get into the US market at all.

    “Wine shipments are heavily restricted. If you want to export wine made in England to the US you have to go through a US distributor.

    “There is a tax on British micro-breweries in the US that doesn’t apply to US micro-breweries in the UK.””


    I for one will be buying shares in UK bell pepper producers!

  • 36 Ecomiser August 25, 2019, 8:06 am

    “Centre for Social Justice” follows the same naming convention as the Ministry of Truth, Ministry of Peace, etc. in Orwell’s 1984.

  • 37 ermine August 25, 2019, 8:28 am

    that is not at all representative of where it has been for most of my lifetime.

    Is this not the natural way of things? You start work bright eyed and bushy-tailed with not a penny to your name, and often with student debt. As you progress through working life, the sorts that read this website will spend less than they earn, until the high-water mark when either they stop work, or downshift to part-time.

    I recall as a twenty-something pup growling into my beer as a I was sick of hearing people talking about their damned house prices appreciating as I realised I was going to have to leave London and people and a job I liked because I would never be able to buy a house there.

    Over the next twenty-five years even after buying a massively overpriced house elsewhere at the wrong time, enough of my earnings stuck to the sides to retire early, although helped along by a decent amount of luck on occasion. It is the way of the FIRE world, the young are rich in human capital and sometimes turn into grizzled retirees rich in financial capital.

  • 38 ermine August 25, 2019, 8:36 am


    God old BJ, eh? He seems to have the same grasp of some of the basics of how Britain works as that stupid Raab fellow who was surprised to hear that teeny amount of freight goes through Dover

    Seems to be the trouble with a lot of Brexiters in government. They are all so damn precious about Britain’s multifarious standalone excellences that they have sod all idea of how things currently work.

    Wonder how much wine is produced in England as opposed to California. Should do wonders for the balance of trade, BJ.

  • 39 M S August 25, 2019, 10:23 am

    @ ermine

    “Is this not the natural way of things“

    Possibly but it does not make it right. Being a youth opp kid in early 80’s and being “shafted” by the policies of the then govt for a generation, yes I grumbled about friends with their DB pensions. But it did not matter because I was never going to get old…right? Anyway, yes I found a way to save more money than i earn and 30 or so years later I guess I am semi FI. Only to find “Maggies children” want to make me feel more engaged with the economy(make me work until I drop). No doubt Boris (same age as me) will find me a job in that employee friendly coffee shop Costas!

    Trouble is it’s the same 0.1% making making economical and ideological decisions for the rest of us today and 30 years ago. It’s more important than ever to manage that budget.

  • 40 M S August 25, 2019, 10:43 am

    Sorry, correction “found a way to save more money than i earn” should read save some money each month.

    This talk of state pension at 75 has rattled me!

  • 41 Griff August 25, 2019, 11:25 am

    Come on chaps, some of these Brexit anti Brexit comments bring down the tone of an excellent site. For the record I was Brexit but getting a bit rattled now. Can’t remember why I did it.

  • 42 Ste August 25, 2019, 12:04 pm

    @TI @Yami @Conor
    Thanks for the contributions re EU Citizens.
    I came to the UK in 2015, well ahead of the referendum. Lived and worked there for three years, then applied early for pre-settled status (I didn’t get the fee refunded yet, will have to remind the Home Office). I subsequently started spending considerable periods of time outside of the country due to work commitments, but the UK was still the place I called home. However, the time spent abroad will almost certainly mean I’ll lose the status due to falling foul of the strict requirements regarding days spent in the country, and I will not keep the rights I had when I came to the UK, before the referendum was even called. I understand this might be considered fair or not depending on where you stand politically, but it certainly does not meet the promise made by Vote Leave before the referendum: “There will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. These EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present”. Hope this can add to the discussion – I think it shows that what you might see as guaranteed rights and rules to build a life on today can be swept away by political and societal change a lot faster than you would assume.

  • 43 Ben August 25, 2019, 12:39 pm


    Are you sure time abroad would matter?

    This recent article suggests we don’t keep track of when EU citizens arrive, which suggests we don’t track when you leave.


  • 44 Faustus August 25, 2019, 1:54 pm

    An excellent comment and you make a crucial point about not trusting political ‘commitments’. Political risk is often rather sidelined when discussing investment strategies, but the lies and deception of the Vote Leave campaign on this issue (as on many others) illustrate well why it is just as important as economic risk when planning for the future.

    EU citizens working here have been treated shamefully – especially as they were denied any vote over their futures. If you’ve not already done so, consider signing up to The3million which has done much important work on citizens’ rights and could provide advice on your application.

  • 45 Sam August 25, 2019, 3:04 pm

    Interesting to read points made by others about how so often we craft these entire plans for our lives (career, retirement, etc) only for them to fall prey to changing political or economical conditions. Of course, there is no way in which one can plan to avoid all of these risks. For example, in the expat article earlier in the week, it was mentioned about how one could invest in Azerbaijani bank accounts or Georgian farms in an attempt to diversify away certain risks. But how do you diversify away the risk that one day an eager soldier of a new political regime will break down your door and shoot you in the head?

    I was recently at the Imperial War Museum in London where they have a very moving exhibition on the Holocaust. All of these millions of people no doubt had plans for their life or career before some thugs decided they were inferior beings and executed them.

    Of course, none of the above does not mean that we should avoid planning at all. But instead we should plan to the best of our abilities, in the most efficient way as possible (if investing in Azerbaijani bank accounts is efficient for you, crack on), whilst never forgetting that the future is fickle and that it could all change in an hour.

    “Put your trust in God, but keep your powder dry”.

  • 46 jim August 25, 2019, 4:39 pm

    Am I the only idiot who wondered why Johnson used the example of Melton Mowbray pork pies and then included a country (Thailand) and a shop (Iceland)!?
    The penny has only just dropped upon reading the BBC article. I must be a through and through consumer!

  • 47 The Borderer August 25, 2019, 4:49 pm

    @Ben (35)
    “Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland”

    Doesn’t BoJo know they are sold in Sainbury’s and Tesco, and many other grocery outlets, as well?

    What hope have we got when the PM has so little idea regarding the range and scope of the British pork pie!

  • 48 Ben August 25, 2019, 5:17 pm

    @jim and the borderer

    Just wait, they’ll start introducing ‘export’ controls on what you can take out of the shop!

  • 49 Ten more years August 25, 2019, 6:01 pm

    The mooted change of pension age for private pensions from 55 to 57 in 2028 is quoted above, and in many other places. However, I can’t find a single reference anywhere saying this is definitely going to happen, and my understanding (for what it’s worth!) is that it has not yet been passed through parliament. Does anyone have a link That confirms the change?

  • 50 tim August 25, 2019, 8:00 pm

    @Ten more years: yes, currently this is just some think-tank’s proposal and far from being any party policy. However that think tank (the CSJ) “has been labelled one of the most influential on the British Conservative Party” (at least according to https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_for_Social_Justice ), which is probably why it’s gotten so much attention.

  • 51 Mr Optimistic August 25, 2019, 8:25 pm

    I think it’s all noise and chatter: wouldn’t honour it with my attention. Fine to think and plan for the future but don’t stress and worry about it. If anything nasty is going to happen to you, and it probably won’t, you won’t see it coming. If 20 and 30 year olds are worrying about their old age pensions to the extent that it is impacting the enjoyment of their lives now, then something is wrong with the national psyche.

  • 52 ZXSpectrum48k August 25, 2019, 9:35 pm

    @MrOptimistic. This doesn’t just impact 20-30 year olds. It’s impacts heavily those in their mid 40s like myself. Frankly, these type of ideas stink. The CSJ’s recommendation is just another example intergenerational bias. GenX and Y would be picking up the tab for current retirees and boomers. The boomers would be largely immune to these changes despite having extracted 20-25% more in benefits that they have injected in tax revenues.

    I doubt the CSJ, however, really gives a fig about this. What it cares about in it’s conclusion: “The SPA should … be used to support the fiscal balance of the nation.” For the right-wing think tanks, it’s always about reducing fiscal expenditure. Partially, this is because they are macroeconomically in a rut: they simply can’t move on from the inflation scare and downturn of the 70s/early 80s that was caused by the end of the Bretton-Woods system. They continue to fight a battle long since won. They don’t accept that the enemy weak aggregate demand, stemming from exactly the demographic aging issues that this report highlights. Much more, however, this is ideological rather than economic. These people are wrapped up in a ideology that the state is bad, in all scenarios. If follows that all government spending is bad.

    The most pathetic thing about these so-called think tanks is their total inability to think. The government currently has an opportunity to fund long-term liabilities, like pensions, at a positive NPV by issuing long-term Gilts and investing the proceeds into infrastructure assets, but these types just won’t consider it. I’d understand not wanting more debt if Gilt yields were 10%+ like in the 80s but when you can issue 50-year inflation linked Gilts at a -2.10% real yield, it’s not just cheap, you’re actually making money issuing debt. Their lack of price sensitivity is moronic.

  • 53 dearieme August 25, 2019, 11:58 pm

    “you’re actually making money issuing debt”: not if you blew it on HS2 you don’t.

  • 54 Ste August 26, 2019, 12:05 am

    Thanks for the article. True, there is currently no way to reliably track which EU Citizens are inside or outside the country. I think it’s a bit too risky for me to pretend I meet the requirements when I don’t. First because it could get me in trouble further down the line, secondly I know of a few cases where people were asked to submit additional evidence like bank statements to prove time spent in the UK.
    This will all probably become quite a mess in any case. The Home Office currently seems to be fairly quick in granting pre-settled status with fewer guarantees than settled status, but appears to demand a lot more evidence for full settled status. This will likely result in a backlog of cases with both valid and lapsed pre-settled status, and I could imagine it won’t be easy to conclusively determine who will eventually meet the criteria for conversion to full settled status and who not.

    Thanks for the tip, and seconded: The3million provide great support for EU Citizens in the UK. If that’s OK I’d also like to mention “British in Europe” here – the equivalent group supporting UK Citizens in the EU27.

  • 55 Vanguardfan August 26, 2019, 8:02 am

    It would be madness for anyone to knowingly lie in an immigration application – if ever found out that would be it. In fact you don’t even need to knowingly make mistakes – people have been refused visas for minor mistakes on tax returns.
    These things can very easily wreck lives, no one who has any experience of the system, still less whose way of life depended on it, would suggest such a casual approach. That’s the real loss of freedom of movement – the loss of the security.

  • 56 Mr Optimistic August 26, 2019, 10:25 am

    @ZXS. Yep. All down to the Grocer’s Daughter’s model of fiscal management. People of my generation and most of the previous one benefited from the growth in prosperity after WW2. It’s not a case of a inter-generational theft, though imposing measures to reverse it would be! It’s easier to blame others than to accept, manage and strive.

  • 57 Grislybear August 26, 2019, 4:02 pm

    The CSJ report states that spending on pensions is going to consume a larger proportion of GDP going forward. Well they must have no taken much notice of what IDS had been saying, that the UK economy is going to boom after Brexit. If they had factored in IDS views then everyone can retire on a bigger state pension when they are 60, due to future riches the economy is going to make after Brexit. This report contradicts IDS predictions. Someone is telling porkies.

  • 58 Kel August 27, 2019, 10:23 pm

    @Ten more years

    It hasn’t been finalised, according to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/proposed-new-timetable-for-state-pension-age-increases

    I must admit I’d thought it had already been approved. Obviously I’d been normalised to it. I’m now wondering since it hasn’t been approved yet, if the proposal about retiring at 75 hasn’t been put out in order to soften the blow of this being approved in short order? Cynical, moi?

  • 59 Vanguardfan August 28, 2019, 7:46 am

    @kel – not yet finalised, but sufficiently official to be mentioned on the government’s state pension age calculator, if you put in an appropriate age it will say that there are plans for your state pension age to be 68. I suppose that’s so that they can say people have been ‘informed’.

  • 60 Ten more years August 30, 2019, 6:33 pm

    Thanks @kel and @tim for the replies, but I am specifically referring to the plan to peg the private pension age (55 currently) to move to 57 by 2028 and then being pegged to 10 years behind the state pension age. It’s repeated as fact in lots of places but I can’t see that the government have confirmed it.

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