Sunday, 2 January 2011

Boom Boom

Psychedelic_dingbatsYesterday was a momentous day not the least that is was another New Years Day. It also happened to be the start of a new decade; a fact that was lost on most people preoccupied with post-Xmas sales.

It was momentous for a third reason.

January 1st, 2011 heralded the start of retirement for the Baby Boomer generation. This is the year that the first of the Baby Boomers start collecting the pension if they are lucky enough to live in a country that provides one.

It is confession time - I am one of this demographic.  We are apparently one of the most wealthy segments of society, although this remains somewhat debatable. 

According to Wikipedia, in 2004, the UK baby boomers held 80% of the UK's wealth.  There are however many pensioners who struggle to repay their debts once they get into retirement.

The Baby Boom - 1946-1965

According to the same source, our characteristics are: experimental, individualism, free spirited, social cause oriented.

Having survived the "Purple Haze" of the Sixties I can but concur that the youth culture permeated all aspects of life, from the music of Merseyside, footsteps on the moon, Hippiedom, psychedelic art, to protesting against the Vietnam War.

Most of us try to forget the disco era with its gold medallions, platform shoes, curly locks and open chested shirts -  it was but a passing aberration as we moved on to a much more refined and gentile existence!

But there is one side of being a baby boomer that grates and that is being portrayed in contemporary media as an potential burden on society.

I am not one of those who qualify for the pension, even though I have chosen to semi-retire earlier than most of my contemporaries.  Like them I have worked for more than forty years and paid up to a third of my salary in taxes.

Basil Brush
My New Zealand taxes have supported generations of dole bludgers who have not done an honest day's work in their lives.

At least working in Singapore meant that the taxes were lower and you looked after yourself.  If you chose not to work then you understood personal consequences of your actions, and that is the way it should be.

So I shall feel not the slightest burden on society when my time for a pension arrives.  Nor shall I heed the none too subtle 'encouragement' from various quarters to work beyond 65.  It will be my choice should I choose to do so and nobody else's.

To quote Basil Brush who first appeared on our tv screens in the '60's, ""Ha Ha Ha, Boom! Boom!"
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