Whether I like it or not, my working life continues to raise its head away from the office, often in rather unexpected ways.

I have written before about approaches from family and friends who are looking for assistance understanding their pension savings and the choices that they face. There are at least another three such tales to share from the past month alone, but I’ll save those for another day.

Where I have been surprised to find the office crossover taking place is in my list of podcasts.

Now, first things first – I confess I do not listen to any financial podcasts. I know that they are many in number and I’m sure that some are excellent, but it is not a subject matter that I actively seek out as the accompaniment to dog walks, road running or car journeys.

Typically, the themes that feature highly in my podcast library are music, sport and movies. Oh, and The Archers, but I’ll get to that shortly.

Given these topics you can probably imagine how it can jar you from a moment of escapism when an all too familiar work-word is unexpectedly mentioned.

"I've spent my pension"

football-50Between stories about ‘bonkers goalkeepers’ and ‘fans reading Dostoyevsky’ I heard the line “I’ve spent my pension.” This pronouncement came from a well-known football podcast I was listening to recently.

The host went on to elaborate, “I had no idea I had it and they said you know you’ve got a pension. So, when I got to 60 I saw the accountant and said I’ll have it now. They said I’d lose lots of it in tax and I said I don’t care, I’m going to spend it by Christmas, that’s the future ain’t it?! I spent £141,000 between May and Christmas.”

£141,000 in eight months! I was stunned (and ever so slightly envious) but each to his own I guess, and it highlights the need to understand individual attitude to risk and wildly different financial goals.

His co-host’s comments also demonstrated how for some, a pension is unlikely to be a major concern.

“I can’t remember the details, we’d put a bit away for a pension but I’m pretty sure there was something where you could withdraw some form of pension from 35. I’m going to find out about that, my agent will know.”

I’m certainly not going to be in a position where I can be as cavalier as either of them.

Pension scam storyline

workplace-coinAnd so it is that The Archers brings a semblance of reality to podcast proceedings, although not always positive. Christine Barford was tricked into cashing in her savings and pensions to invest in a fraudulent overseas investment. The subsequent loss of £300,000 had an understandably crushing impact and is an example of the all-too-real danger that has prompted the concerned calls from my family members that I alluded to earlier. The Financial Conduct Authority’s ScamSmart campaign is doing some hugely important and valuable work. (Concerned? Read our blog on how to protect yourself and others from pension scams).

Thank goodness then for David and Ruth Archer for demonstrating some calm common-sense amongst the drama. They looked to the future, their family, and the security of the farm, when they decided to invest most of a significant inheritance they received into their pensions.

workplace-hand-heartPodcast recommendations

Finally, if you’re looking for a podcast to add to your library then I can wholeheartedly recommend ‘Blood on the Tracks’ for diverse musical debate or ‘The Mysterious Secrets of Uncle Bertie’s Botanarium’ for wonderfully comic tales of botanical adventure. No financial focus required.


Posted by Gavin Zaprzala-Banks

Topics: Friday Fun

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