Monday, 23 May 2011

Beach Psychology: Through the eyes of an alien

Location: A beach on Koh Samui. An alien and a human are observing holidaymakers.

Alien: What are these humans doing? Do they come here to sleep?
Human: No, they’re sunbathing.
Alien: Why do they worship the rays of this distant orb?
Human: Well, they like the feeling of warmth and they like the colour it turns their skin.
Alien: What colour is this?
Human: It turns them darker, they go brown.
Alien: And this darkness is beneficial to humans?
Human: Not exactly, too much can burn their skin.
Alien: Burn it? The orb’s rays can harm humans?
Human: Yes. It burns their skin. It ages it prematurely. And it can cause cancer, a potentially fatal disease.
Alien: Yet still they come?
Human: Yes. In fact they pay money to come. They er..enjoy it.
Alien: And do they do this for long, these beached ones?
Human: Oh yes, often all day, for a week or two.
Alien: Here comes a very browned one.
Human: Ah, that’s a beach seller. He isn’t a holiday-maker. He lives here and earns money by selling things to the holiday-makers.
Alien: The beached ones need the things he sells?
Human: Well, not eactly need…..
Alien: ..they want the wooden elephant with the spinning ears? They have been seeking that and he brings it?
Human: No they didn’t know they wanted it …look. It’s because they need to shop. It’s what they do.
Alien: Here is another browned one. He brings food. They are hungry the beached ones?
Human: Well, yes and no. They probably had a full english breakfast at their hotel and some of them will have sneaked a few cheese rolls into their bags. But the beach-seller knows they cannot resist ice-creams. And donuts. Oh and hot dogs.
Alien: Many of the beached ones are a great size. They do not move. Yet they consume the offerings of the beach seller? They seek to be his colour and a bigger size?
Human: Oh no, they’d prefer to be his slim shape.
Alien: This does not compute. The large beached ones burn their skins, they buy things they do not need, they over-consume to become a size they do not wish to be. Did you say they are paid great sums of money for this process?
Human: Er, no. They are the ones that pay. Excuse me, I'm off for...a lie down.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Are you financially prepared for retirement?

Ceri's website is packed full of articles, tips and advice for women celebrating being over 50 and feeling fab!

When facing retirement are we ever really ready?

With life expectancy increasing, and one in 7 women turning 50 this year likely to live to be 100, traditional retirement may be a thing of the past

Today, retirement presents an opportunity to ’relaunch’ our lives. It is important to be confident about your outlook and passionate about what lies ahead:
  • When planning your retirement, set yourself a monthly budget equal to your projected  retirement income and try to live on it. Be realistic about  what your monthly expenditure is likely to be. You may be spending less on commuting daily, but you will have more leisure time and increased socialising normally means more expense! Not to mention that you will now have the time for all that travelling you didn’t quite get round to.
  • Think about the financial  ‘benefits’ you may be losing such as private health cover and  life insurance- if these have been funded by your employer you will need to check out the costs of buying the cover privately.
  • Make sure you have a complete picture of your financial situation- ask for current figures on your pension plans to have a realistic picture of what level of income your current pension  will deliver. Worryingly according to the Office of National Statistics It seems that the average pot for 56 year old women living in the UK stands at only £9,100.  This would generate an approximate income of around only £550 a year.

Recent changes to pension legislation also mean that women have to wait longer before being eligible to draw their state pension; women's state pension age rises to 65 by November 2018, and then to 66 by 6 April 2020.
If  you realise that you can’t really afford to fully retire as planned, look at the options available to you- do you want to work part-time?  93% of the new jobs created in the last 12 months are part-time so in theory this should work to your advantage.
If you need to look for full-time employment are your skills up to date?  Do you need to attend any training courses- have you budgeted for these? Are there any evening classes you can attend to fill any skills gap you feel you may have?

Also, once you reach state pension age, should you continue to work you cease to pay national insurance contributions, giving you an extra opportunity to save!

Have you always had a yearning to be your own boss? Now could be the time to set up your own business.  Statistics show that more businesses set up by the over 50s succeed than businesses founded by the under 30s. If you build up a business with the potential to be sold, as well providing an immediate income stream it could also provide you with a lump sum at a later date.
It’s never to early to start planning for retirement!

Thanks Ceri for reminding us that, if we prepare for retirement, we can look forward to so much more than a bus pass and a shopping trolley... as the inspiring stories on the website testify.