August 18th 2016
Today I got to sit around a table with my friends and talk about how old we’re all getting.
Alice and I have had our references accepted on a house we’re going to rent. Aaron lives in London but will move in with Laura-Jayne before long. Chris has a proper girlfriend now. We’re all growing up and sorting our lives out.
Aaron has the next 30 years of his life planned. He knows which promotions he needs to get, and what schemes he needs to apply for, how much money he’ll be earning at what age and what his job title will be when he’s 40. He’s landed his perfect job straight out of University and will stay there, growing through the company, until he retires. He was telling me about his pension plan today, and told me I should pay more attention to mine.
Apparently pensions are matched and it’s like getting free money… in 40 years. It’s always my ethos that I’d rather have some money now than more money later. But he started to talk about what happens when I’m older and I’m only living off my state pension? I dunno. I’ll figure it out when I get there. My idea is that when I retire I’ll just have the entire summation of my career wealth in a bank account to live off until I die. But apparently it’s not that simple. There’s pensions and tax and I’m even paying off my student loan.
I got this letter through today that reminded me that I’m £45,000 in debt to the government.
Which is great. Five grand in interest and I graduated 13 months ago. I can’t wait to see what it’s like when I’m 65. These pension tax student finance payments are made easier by the fact that they all happen before my salary goes into my account. So it doesn’t feel like I’m paying them.
But now I’m moving into a house I’ve got a whole load of new shit to pay for. And that’s it for the next 40 years. That’s your lot. Pension. Tax. Student loan. Gas. Electricity. Water.
Forty years of bills.
But it’s okay. Because I’m looking forward to it. I’m just not looking too far forward. I’m not one to know what I’m doing at the weekend, and definitely not for the next 30-40 years. I kinda just wing it and see how it goes. And I’m happy with that.
It works for Aaron, because he knows that he’s gotta get through the shitty years to get to the good times. But I couldn’t work like that. I couldn’t just survive for the sake of being happy in a few years time. I’d rather be happy now.
I guess that’s just me. I don’t know. I just think that now is more important than later. Maybe that’s naive, but it’s who I am.
Tonight we sat around and played Articulate, and for brief moments we were able to just enjoy ourselves without the worries of our future. But the conversation always drifted back to the future. To marriage. To kids. To houses. To jobs.
I’m 23 next month.
Two weeks after my birthday I move into a house of my own for the first time.
Until tomorrow, is it exciting or terrifying? No idea.