Hi, let me explain why I decided to start agewhatage.com. When I first thought about retiring I did what everyone else would do and looked for advice, information, shared experiences and so on on the internet. Every time I tried a search I came up with nothing but hundreds of pages trying to sell me products and services, or different ways of separating retired people from their hard-earned cash.
Lots of sites are targeting retired people with holidays, retirement homes, etc, but it was almost impossible to find any comparisons or reviews of these products and services as well.
Many others were selling financial products such as pension plans, annuities, life insurance as well as newer financial products such as equity release and investment schemes for cashed in pensions. I looked into some of these offers and also followed the press, and it was frightening what bad value so many actually were. Also there were very few sites, if any, providing an objective view.
Although the financial services industries have extracted billions of pounds of savings and assets from retired folk, many of these companies are virtually unregulated! Most of the visitors to this site will be old enough to remember insurance and banking scandals in the past, when people have been grossly mislead from supposedly reputable businesses.
Do you remember the great endowment insurance meltdown several years back, or the last pension scandal when thousands of public sector workers were persuaded to transfer final salary schemes to a privately managed investment fund? The investment managers made a packet, and their clients lost thousands. Let’s not even mention PPI!
It’s not difficult to see how in a few years time some of the schemes now being promoted will be exposed as an expensive rip-off, but that will be too late for many of their victims.
Of course there are a number of well established and very worthy charities, but they seem to be there to provide support to people who for one reason or another need help that they can’t get anywhere else. Recent publicity about a major charity offering poor value for money products and services through affiliated schemes is also very worrying.
This leads me on to another theme. At every level of government and even society, retired people are seen as an expensive inconvenience. But when people have retired at the end of a long working life they have huge experience and knowledge. Society is totally failing to harness and utilise this energy and experience, and I think that’s a crying shame.
I really hope that in due course agewhatage.com will become a platform for retired people to come together, and collectively raise a voice which will be heard at national level. We need to put a stop to retired people being thought of a problem, and prove that society should consider us as a valuable but wasted resource.
Individually retired people have no voice, but collectively we can really make a difference. So please register and join our community, and contribute to our site. We need to build up an active exchange of ideas and experience on the forums, and yours are just as important to us as everyone else’s.