Many years ago when I joined TEXACO Trinidad, one of my assignments was to interviewScreen Shot 2014-12-05 at 10.45.54 pensioners wherever I could find them.  I met disgruntled, angry men because they could no longer support their life styles.  A couple of them revelled in their stories about drinking premium whiskey and supporting multiple homes in their day while I observed that their homes needed repairs.

20+ years later our retired judges are making out the same case for enhanced pensions. The question is: Who is responsible for your pension? Salaries are payed in exchange for service – it is a simple transaction.  Some employers arrange for part of that transaction to be allocated towards the payment of a pension in the future.  But the ultimate responsibility lies with the individual to put away for the rainy day.  Judges are persons of privilege in our society and they above all should understand the concept of “delayed gratification” so they “put things in place”.

I have no sympathy for the case of our retired judges because during employment their cash and non cash benefits were substantial including vacation travel, housing allowances and exemption from Income Taxes and taxes on the purchase of vehicles.  If you want to travel first class and maintain a chauffeur as a pensioner, then save for it but do not expect the state to help you maintain that unreal life style.

If the case for the Judges is that retirement must be indexed to the cost of living, then indexation should happen across the Board retirees from all sectors. What is the difference between the Nurse and the Judge?  Their contribution to the society is equally important but the judges are unequally rewarded.  If your case is that you can’t pay your medical bills, then welcome to the real world, none of us can.  It speaks to a necessary improvement across the health sector.

The big lesson that I took away from those interviews with Texaco retirees was that pensions as negotiated while employed are unlikely to be sufficient for retirement.

Retirement is a guarantee so we have personal responsibility to put aside a percentage of our current salaries as a pension for when we are no longer employed.

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