Blog thwarted by spam – retirement plans by ignorance

Sorry it’s taken a while to resume normal blog service, but it’s taken a couple of days to find a way past a daunting obstacle.  In the time since my last entry, the endless torrent of spam flooding in had overwhelmed the capacity of this software, so that, frustratingly, it wouldn’t let me scroll down to the bottom of the incoming-spam lake, where the “delete spam” control is to be found.  The only solution I could find was to use a control called “delete this message only” on just over 130 individual messages, until the bottom came back into range, and I could use “delete spam” to get rid of the other 250.

This was very boring, and also I must say very unpleasant.  After the best part of an hour going through this grubby stuff and deleting it message by message, you feel that at the very least you need to go and wash your hands, and ideally go for a shower.  I love the Internet and think it is a huge privilege to be living and working during the era of its development, but the worst thing about it is the way that it forces you to recognise some of the most depressing aspects of human behaviour.

Anyway, the spam blockage is now cleared and I’m now left only with the trifling task of finding something new-year-related to write about.

From my point of view, one significant thing about 2008 is that my birthday this coming October will be what’s known in the trade as my SRD, or Selected Retirement Date.   This doesn’t, of course, mean that I’ll be retiring.  It means that many, many years ago, when I was young and optimistic and still had hair, I had to fill in a pensions application form specifying when I’d ideally like to retire:  and at that time, I imagined that I would have made more than enough money to pack it in at 55 and spend the subsequent years following England cricket and football teams around the world to witness their triumphs in international tournaments at first hand, retiring in the evening to my luxurious hotel to wash and blow-dry my bouffant hairstyle.

Of course a huge amount of reality has gatecrashed these daydreams, and in the event I’m not sure which is in the more dispiriting state – my finances, English cricket and football, or my hairstyle.  But apart from making me feel old, the fact that I could start drawing my pension later this year does concentrate my mind on just how astoundingly little I know or understand about my pension arrangements.

I think that rather than go on about this now, I’ll return to it later – for one thing it’s lunchtime, and for another several people have told me that these blog entries look unappealingly long when they get much beyond this length.  But there is a theme here, not just a self-critical whinge:  if someone as closely involved with financial services marketing as me understands so pitifully little about his own arrangements, then a) what kind of state must other people be in, and b), assuming the general situation isn’t good, whose fault is it?

I’ll return to this soon, unless of course I get spamblocked again. 

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