Lottery win means the number's up for ERIC
AFTER all these years, I am quite happy with my name. It s like an old, reliable friend. Not that it has always been that way. Way back in my youth I went through a period – no doubt along with many of my contemporaries, as I m sure it continues with youn
AFTER all these years, I am quite happy with my name. It's like an old, reliable friend. Not that it has always been that way.
Way back in my youth I went through a period - no doubt along with many of my contemporaries, as I'm sure it continues with young people today - when I did not like my name. It seemed so boring and ordinary.
There were so many others which were much more exciting. But any thought of going to all the bother of changing my name fell by the wayside and I soldiered on with John which became a comfortable adornment with age.
But now it seems I have been renamed without me having a word to say about it. My new name is Eric.
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I can't say I particularly like it although I have nothing against it per se - my parents had a good friend who bore that moniker.
It's just the newness of it, I suppose. It's my age which has brought on this name change.
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To be absolutely precise, I find myself being an ERIC which is all in capitals because it is an acronym standing for Experiencing Retirement Income Concerns.
Apparently, there are two million over 50s who have become ERICs because they are facing delayed retirement as recession threatens pension plans.
A quarter of those questioned in a survey said they now have no clear idea when they will be able to give up work.
One solution to the problem could be to increase the amount of savings put away in preparation for I've-left-work-for-good day.
But the financial pressure of recession has forced a significant number of people to actually reduce the amount they are setting aside for retirement.
It's a Catch 22 situation but I have a solution for myself - I'm planning on winning the Lottery and putting all my money problems behind me. I've been working on it for some time and reckon my numbers are due up very soon.
Once that happens I can become ERIC idle.
All this talk about people being in dire straits financially is not surprising when you consider how much it costs to live. The rise is relentless.
Quite how much it has gone up was brought home to me this week with the publication of another survey which shows that the average household in the UK now pays out over �18,000 a year in bills. That's almost one million pounds during the course of a lifetime.
A breakdown of the figure makes depressing reading - the typical annual cost of a mortgage is �6,182, food costs �3,724, credit cards and loans �2,794 and utility bills �1,167. And don't forget to add on council tax, insurance, phone bills and other regular monthly outgoings.
The study of 5,000 people found that one in three still do not regularly shop around to get lower prices - I must plead guilty to that myself - even though more than half admit to be struggling to make ends meet during the recession.
Come on Mr Brown, you've got until next spring to turn it around and bring in a new age of prosperity. Don't hold your breath.