This is the first in a series of possible events where I took one decision and not another. In all of them I intend to explore what the consequences of an alternative history might have been. Of necessity the outcome of older events is less easy to predict, but there you go.
The first one definitely would have immediate and well-known consequences in the here and now, and that is: what if I had not decided to retire aged 60 on the 31st of March 2016?
As of the first of April 2016 I would no longer be able to retire at 60 without a 25% penalty to my pension, meaning that for all intents and purposes I would be forced to work until I was 65. At the time of the change the carrot was dangled that after a few years the penalty would decrease and my pay would go up to the point that my pension would have increased to the level of 31 March 2016.
So in essence I would have worked for about two years for no increase in pension at all. But that’s not the worst of it. Most people who have followed events will be aware that the British Steel Pension Scheme closed its doors to all comers on 31 March 2017, and from that moment on I would have been a deferred pensioner. Meaning that there would be no effect of any pay increases on the pension, just a lessening of the penalties as I approached 65.
So chances are that I would have resigned myself to have to work until December 2020. In addition, I would also have the luxury of having the third choice of opting out of the defined benefits scheme altogether, whereas now it’s only a choice between PPF and PSPS2 (see blog “BSPS2“). Although I’m pretty sure that I would have made the same decision and go for BSPS2, it would have meant a lot more worry and soul-searching to ensure I made the correct decision.
To say nothing about the potential cloud hanging over Port Talbot from the proposed merger with Thyssen-Krupp. No, all in all, the decision to retire on 31 March 2016 definitely was the correct one.