My pension scheme? It's a flat in Bulgaria
Article by Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent, Telegraph News, 13th August 2005
|Rosemary Niblock, a secondary school teacher, worries about her children's financial security, like most mothers.|
But she is the first to acknowledge that some of her fears are unfounded. Both children, Matthew, 29, and Sally, 30, think about pensions and their financial security even if some of their savings plans are unconventional.
Matthew, for example, has sunk his money into an apartment in Bulgaria, which he describes as his pension.
"I don't know what I think of that really," says Rosemary, 58, a divorcee who lives with her partner Anthony in Erdington near Birmingham. "To me, pensions are you paying into a pot as part of your salary and an employer paying his share. I suppose what Matthew is doing is just different, and as my dad used to say, 'it's not wrong, it's just different'.
"Matthew, who is self-employed, is very astute with money. If he can get a bargain he will.
"He bought a very old house, completely gutted it, did it up and now he is just interested in how much it is worth."
Her daughter, Sally, is a buyer for a children's wear company. "She has big child care bills and her husband is self-employed but he is a very hard worker. She recently got a financial adviser, on my advice, to sort out her pension. She listens to me more than my son."
If Rosemary has a criticism, it is that her children spend a lot on clothes. "Sally spends a lot of money on designer clothes for Poppy [her 20-month-old daughter].
" She would be horrified to know what I used to dress her in. Poppy has had more clothes in her lifetime than Sally ever had.
"Matthew also buys designer clothes for himself and up to the minute quirky things. Suddenly he will join a gym and then he will stop going."
Matthew, who works in computers, said he had a £127,000 mortgage and bought his Bulgarian apartment for £45,000 by increasing his mortgage.
He hopes it will increase in value when Bulgaria joins the EU in 2007, at which time he will sell it and invest in something else. "I would not say I am careful with money. I do have a big mortgage, but I see property as an investment. My mum has got a good pension but I don't trust pension schemes at all."
Sally said her financial adviser helped her and her husband, also called Matthew, to reduce their mortgage and find the best pension fund for her husband, a roofer.
Sally said that she was not paying into a pension fund herself, partly because she pays £600 a month on child care.
"We have to do a lot of 'inspiration shopping' where we look at designer brands and try to spot trends and that is lethal. But I don't have any credit cards. They just lull you into a false sense of security."