I’m living life on the edge: old enough to draw a pension, but young enough to want to work – well, sometimes at least.
I love the freedom of being a part-time freelance journalist. And surely this is the key to a luxury retirement: having enough money to give you the freedom to choose.
Getting to this position has involved a mix of strategies.
Crucially, Mrs H and I both started regularly saving when we were young and held steady when stock markets fell.
The people who told me pensions were boring when I was in my 20s were the same people who expressed surprise when I walked out of my full-time job aged 52 and left them slogging away for 12 hours a day.
Unlike them, today I can sit at home in my white towelling dressing gown looking out at the rainy day, tapping out these words (there’s an image you won’t be able to erase from your mind in a hurry).
Take just one investment I made 22 years ago: when building societies were converting to banks and giving away shares, I chose a special savings plan launched by investment firm Fidelity.
It held the shares without charge if investors committed to saving into three out of four funds on offer.
I sold the windfall shares, but kept the Fidelity funds.
For an investment of £100 a month (total £1,200) throughout the 1997/98 tax year, Fidelity Asia is now worth £8,734, Fidelity Special Situations £9,867, Fidelity Europe £8,920 and Fidelity American £11,315. I, of course, chose the first three, but I am happy with my decision.
My golden rules for long-term investing? Save every month and be prepared to take some risk when you’re young.
Always join your employer’s pension scheme so you benefit from its contributions and tax relief. And, as my mother-in-law tells me, always spend less than you earn.