“Millenials should forget retirement and at least the word pension,” says George Critchley, Chairman at True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners.

Retirement is an old-fashioned concept, and pension is a word that has become tainted.

Let’s look at matters differently. Retirement used to be STOP work at 65 (men) and 60 (women). Receive the state pension and occupational pension and live for a few years till illness and age and inflation catch up. The have’s after retirement were those lucky enough to have many years in an occupational pension scheme. The have-nots didn’t.

The state pension today is an income that is below the poverty line.

Pensions are viewed with suspicion by the public. Numerous scandals from Robert Maxwell misappropriating his employees’ funds, to the most recent difficulties for British Steelworkers, have lead to mistrust. Successive governments constant tinkering has confused everyone. The future, for millennials, when considering putting money away for the long-term future, starts today. The job and skills market is changing at an incredible rate. Employees have to be prepared to change, retrain, produce, then change, retrain and produce again. This cycle may repeat itself several times during a working life.

Recent press publicity tells us that the government National Insurance pot that funds the state pension is running low. Demographics in the UK are working against the millennials. The ratio of over 60’s to under 30’s means fewer are contributing to a pot that has more hands dipping into it. The government has no choice but to push back the age when it pays out. 66 by 2020, 67 by ….., 68 by……. What next? Today, an increasing number of retirees are not stopping at 65 or 60. They are healthier than previous generations. Healthcare technology is improving in bounds. That final 25-30% of their lives offers new possibilities. Part-time or periodic work projects, not only benefit the country, but also the individual. A purpose in life improves the quality. Years of experience can be passed on.

What is needed is a large bucket of money, built over the years, with the encouragement of some tax reliefs. This bucket has to be contributed to by both the individual and their employer. Each must put in a minimum percentage of salary. Access to the bucket should only be available later in life.

When money is taken out of the bucket there should be further tax reliefs. Money should be able to come out on an ad hoc basis to match the individual’s needs. The money in the bucket should be able to grow with tax reliefs to enable better growth potential. The bucket should be able to pass to the buckets of the next of kin in the event of death.

Hey, you’re thinking isn’t that a pension? Yes, it is. What you want and need already exists. What doesn’t exist is understanding of this fact with the UK public.

“The politicians have just got to stop tinkering,” says George. “If we don’t understand something we are all reluctant to participate. Let’s take pensions out of their hands. We can then all plan for the future with confidence.”