. . . that we ain't facing up to!
Yesterday the postman brought the Annual Report from my professional pension provider - the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).
The Payments Manager's Report pointed out that when he took up his post in 1989 (one year after I took early retirement and started drawing a pension from the scheme) he was sending payments to about 15,000 retirees and their dependents. Now, 21 years later, that figure is over 55,000! An increase of MORE THAN THREE TIMES in 20 years. Not quite as unsustainable as it sounds, by reason of a big jump in the number of pensioners in the late 80's when the Universities offered very attractive packages to older staff so they could replace them with younger, cheaper staff. (Good academic economics or what?)
I suspect but cannot prove that the same sort of thing is happening at all levels of the Education Industry. We hear of Heads and Assistant Heads retiring from schoolteaching at 50. Ditto police, military, many levels of the public sector.
From time to time I take a trip to the Senior Common Room. I sometimes run into former colleagues, whose company is never less than stimulating.
"What are you doing here, Richard?" they sometimes ask.
"Gloating!" is my merry reply.
"I'm thinking of Early Retirement myself," they sigh, "the endless form filling is driving us all crazy. No time for teaching the little b*gg*rs, or doing a bit of research."
"You can't retire!" I cry. "You must keep at it, laddie. Your contributions to USS from your salary are needed to pay my pension!"
They fix me with a hard stare. "I would buy you another coffee and croissant, but . . "
"I know! I know! I remember . . you must dash for an 11 o'clock lecture! HaHa!"