There was an article in today's local newspaper (I get the news digest via email) entitled "Care costs a ticking time bomb" which basically made the point about people having to work longer before retiring otherwise they'll suffer financial difficulties in their old age. One of the quotes was that "Our study found that more than half of professionals aged 35 to 45 said they would encounter financial problems in old age if they did not receive a parental windfall to bail them out", hence the starting point for my riposte. The article ended with the line "The Government must do more to encourage people to think about their future if we are to avoid the massive time bomb currently ticking", which is what evoked the response below.
I currently fit into the 35 to 45 age bracket and am struggling to get myself out of debt so that I can be more comfortable as I get older. At this point I don't intend to fully retire from work at all - instead, my aim is to move more into work that I really enjoy so I can keep going for longer. I'm also trying to keep myself in good health so that I can keep working for longer. I completely agree that people ought to put more effort into thinking about and planning for their future.
I have one small question: why does everyone always put the onus on the Government for issues like these? We're not sheep who need to be herded in the right direction and most of us are not children so why must there always be some 'greater authority' tasked with making life decisions for us? The devolution of power is always a topic for debate in political circles and, for those with some exposure to it, in psychological/therapeutic circles. The age-old call for 'power to the people' must carry with it the companion call of 'power to the individual', which means each person must, to the best of their ability, take responsibility for their own life. Instead of whining like a bunch a spoilt children, saying "Why doesn't *this person/group/agency*" do something about *this problem*", it's time everyone understood that changing things for the better begins, like charity, at home. If you want something improved, see what you can do to improve it - sitting around complaining about things not being good enough doesn't change anything, it just wastes time, energy and potential. The Government is not there to tell us what to do, it is there to do what we tell it to. The first thing that must happen is that each individual must take responsibility for their own actions, their own lives, both now and for the future. If everyone did that we wouldn't need the Nanny State. The Government would be in much better shape because they wouldn't need to spend so much time/money/energy on trivial detail so the money we pay in taxes would be better spent and, as the Government would have less power over the individual, we would all have better lives. We just have to stand up and do it.
A few celebrated people have said it well:
Seneca: It is not because things are difficult that we dare not, it is because we dare not that things are difficult.
Michael Jackson: If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make that change. (Song: Man in the mirror)