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This week I was made to feel old.

It was not the introduction in the Budget of the Lifetime ISA - that I will not quite qualify for.

It was not the final goodbye to contracting-out, nor was it being introduced to the fresh-faced apprentice who started this week (who incidentally will never have any contracted-out service making their flat-rate state pension easy to understand!).

It wasn’t moving up a box in the age range category on an application form. It wasn’t even being berated for my choice of 80s music in the car.

No - it was because this week I responded to a technical query by referencing IR12 and was asked, “What is IR12?”

It is only ten years since this was our bible, but is it so easily forgotten? I am a proud possessor of an original copy of IR12 and I am now wondering whether or not I should frame this and preserve it for prosperity!

In my day…

I started in this wonderful industry in the late 1980s and the pensions world was a far, far different concept than it is today. There may be people working within the industry today who do not remember what it was like before A-day, yet I can remember.

I remember ‘old code’ and working with pre-87 and pre-89 regimes. I recall the introduction of contracting-out via defined contribution schemes, and loanbacks when you used to have to get the spouse’s permission.

I remember the introduction of self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) in the 1989 Budget and the simple wording of Joint Office Memorandum 101, which in today’s pensions world seems strange - for the next ten years this was the only guidance on investments allowable within a SIPP.

I was there for the murky pensions waters of the 1990s, seeing the impact that both Maxwell and Barber had on the pensions legislation. There was the pensions mis-selling scandal, and there was a change of name – the Superannuation Funds Office changing to the Pension Schemes Office to avoid confusion with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO)!


By the 2000s, pensions ministers were coming and going like buses (much like Aston Villa football managers today).

Then, of course, ten years ago came the introduction of pension simplification.

The concept was to replace our then eight existing pension regimes and make it simpler. Simple? Perhaps I need a new dictionary, does the word simple means something different to the youth of today? Or is this a new expression or text phrasing perhaps? “Suckers! It’s more problematic laughing emoji“.

We now have eight protection regimes, as well as some more mix-and-match options with individual protection (both of them!), don’t forget the tax-free cash protections – oh, and let’s add in a bit of auto-enrolment to the pot.

I do look back and think that actually it used to be simpler with my IR12 and IR76.

Luckily, just like some of my favourite songs from the 80s, some things do make a comeback. That old pensions knowledge has not gone to waste and we are still referencing some of the pre-A-day rules.

And perhaps in the future we will look back on some classic pensions of tomorrow that have been introduced in the last ten years, and in the years to come we will look on this pension period more fondly, forgetting some of the trials and tribulations that we endured on the way.

So, is age just a number? My state pension age has already increased and, with movement in the state pension age likely in the foreseeable future, at what age will the minimum retirement age be?

Currently it is 55, but from 2028 the minimum retirement age will be linked to the state pension age and will increase from 55 to 57. Is it not too much of a stretch to think this will increase to 60?

A link to the new Lifetime ISA income access date perhaps? The good news is that no matter what happens with the Lifetime ISA (did I mention that I do not qualify for it?!), it will be at least 21 years before the first person uses it to take ‘retirement income’ (whatever form that will take!), and hopefully by then I too will have retired… maybe.

- Karena Woodall, Wealth Management Consultant, 11 April 2016

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