Episode 6 Holding Back the Years


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Episode 6

Series exploring concerns about ageing. Dr Rangan Chatterjee looks at what happens when we lose our hearing, and Bill Turnbull offers pensions advice.


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Transcript


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-Everything has an impact on your life.

-Whatever your age.

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From the type of house we live in...

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Oh, this looks nice.

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Yes, it's been completely renovated throughout.

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..to how much money we have to spend...

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Your wage ends up being like a normal working wage, which is good.

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What we put in our bodies...

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I don't think I've ever been fat-fat, but I have put weight on.

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..to the secrets of our genetic make-up.

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You are going to live to be 140.

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That will do. I'll take everything I can get.

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So, finding out about all those things and more

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could help you mature brilliantly.

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Or slow down the ageing process just a little.

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We've tracked down the very best tips and advice

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for holding back the years.

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And now with the help of our team,

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we are going to pass them on to you.

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To show you how to have the time of your life.

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Whenever that may be.

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Hello, and welcome to the show that never grows old.

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Well, we hope so anyway.

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Here's what's on today's show.

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Can you afford to retire now or in the future?

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If the answer is "no" or "I don't know",

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then you might want to pop into our pensions parlour

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for some timely advice.

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I have a small pension from a company that I used to work for

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but they've gone into liquidation

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and I can't find the paperwork anywhere, so is that gone?

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Well, losing trace of a pension is actually

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quite a familiar problem these days,

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but there are ways of tracing the pension.

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All this week Dr Chatterjee is making sense of your senses,

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and today he looks at what happens when we lose our hearing

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and what can be done about it.

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You may find that you're starting to turn the television up

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a little bit louder. You are having to get people to repeat things.

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You may not feel that you've got a problem but you might start to think

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people are mumbling, but it is worth getting it investigated

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if you do experience it.

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And with Britain facing a bungalow building crisis,

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which is bad news for anyone for whom stairs are the enemy,

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is plan B to build your own?

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Ten years ago, when we started specialising,

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I would suggest that the bungalow buyer's typical age would be 65-70.

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Probably 50 now.

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I think that people are recognising that there is going to be a shortage

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and I think people are cottoning on that if they don't get it then,

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they may not be available when they get to 65-70.

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Now, it's estimated that 15 million people are not saving for their

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retirement. Are you one of them, perhaps?

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I am. Do you even know what the different pension plans

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available to you are, or what your state pension is worth?

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So many questions, which is why, with a little help from a friend,

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I headed out to Manchester to set up

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the Holding Back The Years pensions parlour.

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We've come a long way since the idea of a pension was to line up

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at the post office and collect your old age benefit.

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Today, if we are to afford the sort of retirement we want,

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then it's up to us to make sure we know as much as we can.

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But everyone can do with a little help.

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So today in Manchester, the country's first age-friendly city,

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we are setting up a pensions parlour to do just that.

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Perfect.

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And if we're going to get proper answers to people's questions

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then we're going to need a proper expert.

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Michelle Cracknell is chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service.

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She's got one mission - to help people plan for their future.

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-Hi, Michelle.

-Hello.

-How are you?

-Morning.

-Good to see you.

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Thanks for coming along. Tell me, then,

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what's the biggest issue facing people and their pensions today,

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-do you think?

-Well, over the last 15-20 years,

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there has been this big change from employers and the state

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providing your retirement income to individuals

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having to take personal responsibility.

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So really the big thing for people at the moment

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is to think that, "I need to think about what I need for my retirement."

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A lot of people think, "Well, I'm going to get my state pension

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"so that will be all right, won't it?"

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Well, the state pension is £159 per week in today's money.

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It certainly won't give the retirement

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that most people aspire to do,

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and that's why you need to do something in addition,

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either through a private pension or through your workplace.

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Well, she certainly seems like the right person.

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All we need now is to round up some people with questions to ask.

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And that's my job.

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Roll up, roll up, bring me your pension questions.

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Come on, then, come and see me.

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Do you know what a pension is? Do you know how much your pension is?

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Roll up and we'll tell you.

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-You know what a pension is?

-Yeah.

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-OK. Are you saving for a pension?

-I am, yeah.

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Are you saving for a pension?

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I'm not, personally, yet.

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I had a work pension but I don't work any more

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so I'm reliant on property to be my pension.

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Does that worry you at all?

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Yes.

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Do you know what a pension is?

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-I certainly do.

-Are you saving for a pension?

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Not at the moment.

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-How about you?

-I've had one for years

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and I'm with a company pension.

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-You'll be all right then.

-Why do you think we are together?

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Because she's got the money!

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New government rules state that after April 2018,

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it's legally incumbent on all employers

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to offer a suitable workplace pension for their staff.

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It's called the National Employment Savings Trust, or Nest for short,

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and that's exactly what 25-year-old Amy Mann is concerned about.

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What would you like to know from Michelle?

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Just how Nest works and what happens when the money goes in and out?

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The first time you'll be able to access the pension pot is aged 55,

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so you've still got a long time to wait, but equally,

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a long time for the money to build up.

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The workplace pension scheme is not the only type of pension scheme

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that you are building up. You are also getting credits

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towards the state pension in addition,

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via the National Insurance that you are paying.

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You will probably have more than this job

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by the time you hit retirement, so if you do leave,

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remember that you keep in contact with the pension scheme

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and always give them your contact details

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so that they can keep sending you statements to say

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how much you've got in your pension pot.

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It's a great thing that at the age of 25

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that Amy is contributing to a pension scheme, though, isn't it?

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She's got a long way to go.

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That's right, definitely, a long way to go.

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The earlier you start, the easier it is to start building up a pot,

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and whilst the contributions now are quite modest, obviously,

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the closer you get to retirement,

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the more you'll need to review how much

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you are putting into the pension scheme and what level of retirement

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income it's likely to provide for you at retirement.

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Along with the state pension from the government,

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there are two types of workplace pension.

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One is calculated by how much you or your employer puts in per month.

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It's called a defined contribution pension.

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The other, based on your total salary and how long you've worked

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somewhere, is a defined benefit pension.

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So what if you have both types?

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Well, that's the issue facing training consultant

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and former council employee Louise Goodman.

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So, this one is my most current pension,

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so I'd like to know a little bit more about that.

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It's supposed to be a self-investment.

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And this one is my local authority one.

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What shall I do with it? Shall I leave it?

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Let's start off with the oldest,

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which is the local authority pension scheme.

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Now, this type of pension scheme was based upon your salary

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and so when you left, it was calculated,

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the number of years you worked was a percentage of your salary

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at the date of leaving,

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and then that is revalued each year with inflation.

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Now, for most people, when they have one of these,

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what is described as a defined benefit pension scheme,

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you should leave it where it is.

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You have no investment risk and you've got a guaranteed income

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at retirement, and the pension keeps pace with inflation.

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The latest one that you've taken out

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is a self-invested personal pension plan.

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You could, if you wanted to, have a look,

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have a look on their website where there's a huge amount

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of information, and choose different fund managers,

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where you wanted to invest the money.

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Nowadays, with many of us changing jobs throughout our lives,

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it's not unusual for people to have more than one pension, like Louise.

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Louise has got seven different pensions.

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That's a lot to keep your eye on.

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Is there any mileage in trying to combine them

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-into fewer than that?

-Well, there could be.

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For most people, they should keep defined benefit pensions

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with their employers. With the defined contribution pots,

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it is worth having a look at where they're invested

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and what charges that you're paying.

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And also there's an administrative point

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that if you've got a very small pot,

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-and in fact, one of yours is very, very small...

-It's tiny.

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..for administrative convenience, you may say,

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"Actually, I'd like to pop that into one of the other pots."

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So, remember, if you're thinking about bringing your pension plans

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together, it's important to know what you would be giving up.

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Not all plans are the same

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and it's worth asking your pension providers to give you

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an up-to-date statement and the latest copy

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of your scheme's terms and conditions.

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Of course, not everyone goes down the pension route.

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Some people choose other investment opportunities, like Julia Frost,

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a self-employed puppeteer who wants to use property she owns

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for her retirement.

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I don't know whether it's better to keep them rented

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so that I have sort of an income every month coming in

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from the rental of those properties,

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or whether I would be better off selling them both,

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having a lump sum and then, I don't know, investing it, or...

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Having properties is obviously one source

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of getting a retirement income.

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I think some of the things to think about is that with properties,

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as you're probably very aware,

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is there's quite a bit of management and, obviously,

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there could be times when they can't be rented out,

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so having all of your retirement income coming off

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the back of properties is probably risky and you should think about

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having something in pensions as well.

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Investing solely in property for her future means Julia is missing out

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on the tax relief a pension provides,

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and in the years in which you earn more,

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you should be adding more, too.

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If you want more out, you have to put more in.

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When you do have a very good year and you're paying tax,

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possible higher rate tax,

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they are the years to make the pension contribution

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because every pension contribution

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does get full tax relief,

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so it's a very, very efficient way of saving.

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-Right. I didn't know that.

-Time your contributions to the years

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when you're incredibly busy

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and make sure that you can actually bring down your tax rate.

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And Julia has just one more question

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that a lot of us might be familiar with.

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I have a small pension from a company that I used to work for

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but they've gone into liquidation

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and I can't find the paperwork anywhere, so is that gone?

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Well, losing trace of a pension is actually quite a familiar problem

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these days, but there are ways of tracing the pension.

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In fact, if you go on to gov.uk,

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the government runs a pension tracing service.

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You write in the employer that you use to work for

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and they will tell you what happened to that pension scheme,

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so whilst the company may have gone bust,

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the pension scheme is actually separate from the company

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so it should still be somewhere

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and be managed by a pensions administrator.

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There must be loads of pension money

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which is sort of sitting there unclaimed

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because people have forgotten about it or lost the paperwork.

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-How much is there?

-There is millions,

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and so one of the things we recommend is

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actually go back and think about,

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these are all the places I've worked

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and have I got a pension scheme to match all of those places?

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And the good thing about being a puppeteer

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is you don't have to put in pension contributions for your employees.

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Yes, well, that's true!

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So, a busy day in Manchester but we weren't finished there.

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Come on, then!

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Coming up later in the show

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I get out on the prowl for more pension punters.

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Tell me what you're worried about and see if we can sort you out.

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And Michelle tackles even more questions.

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I do have a partner. I'm just wondering if she would be able

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to claim if anything occurred to me.

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This week, Dr Rangan Chatterjee is making sense of your senses,

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giving top tips on what to expect as we get older and how to fix it.

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So today he is tackling the subject of hearing loss,

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which will affect four in ten of us over the age of 50.

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So, listen closely.

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Most of us will experience a notable loss

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in one of our senses after the age of 40.

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That's eyesight, hearing, smell, touch, taste and balance.

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But if you know what to look out for and how to get it tested,

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then treatment is available,

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not to mention top tips for preventing it in the first place.

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I'm Dr Chatterjee and all this week I will be helping you

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make sense of it all.

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Today, I'm trying to keep an ear out for your hearing.

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Around 40% of people over the age of 50 in the UK

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have some form of hearing loss.

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It's incredibly frustrating for those who experience it.

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Particularly in noisy situations like this bar here in Manchester,

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where things can sound more like this...

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MUFFLED SOUNDS

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It's a condition that can lead to social isolation and even depression.

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Not to mention the dangers of not being able to hear warnings, alarms,

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or even last orders.

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So, what can be done to test and tweak hearing loss?

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I've come to Manchester Royal Infirmary

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to speak to Danny Kearney, senior audiologist.

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So, Danny, what happens to our hearing as we get older?

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As we get older, we lose sensitivity from the nerve fibres

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in the inner part of our ear.

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And we're born with a set number

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and they have to last our entire lifetime.

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But they don't heal or regrow, and as we get older,

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as we listen to more sound, they become damaged,

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they become stiff, and so aren't then as effective

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at transferring the sound energy into the signals

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that we need to hear the sounds.

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What do people first notice when their hearing starts to go?

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Initially, it may be other people that notice that difficulty,

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but you may find that you're starting to turn the television up

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a little bit louder, you're having to get people to repeat things.

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You may not feel that you've got a problem but you might start

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to think that people are mumbling

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and they don't speak as clearly as they used to.

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Of course, some people's hair cells might deteriorate more quickly than others.

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Maybe due to family history, infection or disease.

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Or maybe you suffered damage by exposure

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to loud noises in work or at play

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which, given my love of rock music, is something that could apply to me.

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But hearing loss isn't always how this damage manifests itself.

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Sometimes it presents itself in a condition known as tinnitus.

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So, Danny, many people complain of tinnitus.

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What exactly is it?

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Tinnitus is noises that we hear within the ears.

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People often describe it as a ringing or buzzing sounds.

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Tinnitus itself, the noises and sound that we hear,

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that in itself doesn't cause hearing loss?

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No, it's more of a consequence of perhaps changes

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in the inner part of the ear, but it is worth

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getting it investigated if you do experience it.

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If you notice any of these problems,

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the first step is to talk to a GP like myself

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about how these problems are affecting your day-to-day life.

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Some basic tests will clarify whether the problem

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is being caused by something temporary or treatable,

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such as a build-up of ear wax or an infection.

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If there's no obvious cause we'll then refer you

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for a hearing assessment with an audiologist

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who will test to see how well you can detect

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different levels of sound.

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This assessment will help find the cause of your hearing loss

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and what treatments would work best.

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-So, I'll play you a series of tones.

-Sure.

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And whenever you hear a tone, I'd like you to press a button.

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Today I'm sitting in on one of these tests

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with 71-year-old Michael Brundrett,

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who has been experiencing some hearing issues lately.

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Next, to offer what we call the control in our experiment,

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it was my turn.

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OK, gentlemen, so I have the results here.

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Michael, we've got the red line here for your right ear

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and the blue line for your left ear there.

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For the low pitches, your hearing is within that normal range there.

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It is also good for the right ear

0:16:270:16:28

but we are having to make it slightly louder.

0:16:280:16:31

It's then, as we get into the high pitches,

0:16:310:16:33

we are having to turn the level of the sound up to a moderate level,

0:16:330:16:37

and it's more of a, possibly even getting into profound level,

0:16:370:16:40

on the right ear. Were you aware that the right ear

0:16:400:16:43

was worse than the left ear?

0:16:430:16:44

Oh, definitely, because you instinctively

0:16:440:16:47

turn your best ear to the sound.

0:16:470:16:49

Now, on to you, Rangan.

0:16:490:16:50

What it's showing is that you've got very good hearing

0:16:500:16:53

for the low and the mid-pitch sounds.

0:16:530:16:56

As we get to 4,000 hertz, so that squeaky, shrill pitch,

0:16:560:17:00

we are having to make those sounds a little bit louder

0:17:000:17:03

so it's broadly within the normal range

0:17:030:17:05

but there are a couple of pitches there

0:17:050:17:07

that's a bit more on the borderline.

0:17:070:17:09

That tends to be a bit more common

0:17:090:17:11

where there's been sort of noise exposure.

0:17:110:17:14

So perhaps in your, you know, the band, sort of playing music,

0:17:140:17:18

going to gigs, it can cause more damage

0:17:180:17:21

to the nerve fibres in that area.

0:17:210:17:24

Yeah, a little bit shocked to have a small area of hearing loss there.

0:17:240:17:29

And I wonder whether going to all those gigs and playing in bands

0:17:290:17:32

when I was in my 20s has actually had an impact.

0:17:320:17:35

Which is still a little bit of a lesson for all of us.

0:17:350:17:38

Whilst the changes in my hearing may be minimal,

0:17:380:17:41

I want to find out what it's like to live day-to-day

0:17:410:17:44

with significant hearing loss,

0:17:440:17:46

so I'm meeting Tim Jones,

0:17:460:17:48

who has suffered from the condition for many years.

0:17:480:17:50

If you can't hear something,

0:17:510:17:53

your face seems as though you're being indifferent,

0:17:530:17:56

and then if you don't have a proper diagnosis,

0:17:560:17:59

you believe the evidence the other people are giving you.

0:17:590:18:02

You believe that you're stupid, you believe that you can't do things.

0:18:020:18:06

Any kind of hearing loss makes you introverted,

0:18:060:18:08

makes you go inside yourself, makes you scared to go to parties,

0:18:080:18:12

go to pubs, so you stay in and spend a lot of time by yourself.

0:18:120:18:16

The solution for Tim, like 1.5 million other people in the UK,

0:18:160:18:20

is to get a hearing aid.

0:18:200:18:22

But it might not be the type you're thinking of,

0:18:220:18:24

because hearing aids have come a long way

0:18:240:18:26

since the days that they looked like this,

0:18:260:18:28

and they sounded even worse than they looked,

0:18:280:18:30

often amplifying everything, including background noise.

0:18:300:18:33

Today, Tim uses a revolutionary cochlear implant.

0:18:360:18:39

Cochlear implants work by taking audio signals

0:18:390:18:42

straight into the inner ear,

0:18:420:18:45

and Tim's now showing me how it works for him.

0:18:450:18:48

This fits onto a screw that's inside of my head.

0:18:480:18:51

This vibrates and the vibrations miss out the bad part of my ear

0:18:510:18:55

and go straight into the part that works OK.

0:18:550:18:57

Wow. So the conventional hearing aid goes inside your ear

0:18:570:19:01

and you've got something that bypasses the inside of your ear

0:19:010:19:04

but gives you a very similar effect.

0:19:040:19:06

Yeah, so this is air conduction through the ear,

0:19:060:19:09

this is bone conduction through your bone.

0:19:090:19:11

It's been a life-changing bit of tech for Tim

0:19:110:19:15

and it even comes with some added bonus gadgets.

0:19:150:19:18

This is the most useful piece of equipment.

0:19:190:19:22

It's a remote microphone,

0:19:220:19:24

which means I can go and have coffee with any friend in any environment,

0:19:240:19:27

they place it just like that there

0:19:270:19:29

and I can hear them, wherever they are.

0:19:290:19:31

This one is a TV streamer.

0:19:310:19:33

The biggest sources of domestic strife was the volume

0:19:330:19:37

I had on the television.

0:19:370:19:38

This means I can listen at my volume into my Bahas wherever I want

0:19:380:19:43

and Lynne can adjust the volume according to her.

0:19:430:19:47

There is only one problem - she gets the remote.

0:19:470:19:49

OK, so let's head back to the bar

0:19:500:19:53

where I'm going to test the tech for myself.

0:19:530:19:57

First up, I simulate significant hearing loss.

0:19:570:20:01

OK, how does that sound for you?

0:20:010:20:03

One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four.

0:20:030:20:06

Yeah, I can hardly hear that. I just can't hear you

0:20:060:20:09

and it makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable.

0:20:090:20:11

Next I put on a simulator to see just what Tim experiences

0:20:110:20:15

when he uses his new hearing device.

0:20:150:20:17

Two, three, four. How are you? How are you?

0:20:170:20:19

Oh, yeah, I can hear you.

0:20:190:20:20

Yes, and it cuts out all the background noise as well.

0:20:200:20:23

But there's something else the implant lets Tim do.

0:20:230:20:26

Raise your hand if you can hear me.

0:20:260:20:28

Now raise your right hand.

0:20:280:20:30

Brilliant.

0:20:300:20:32

He can hear people up to 30 metres away.

0:20:320:20:35

-That's amazing.

-If you want to go and order me a drink,

0:20:360:20:38

I can tell you what I want.

0:20:380:20:40

Tim, a seriously impressive bit of kit.

0:20:400:20:42

I can see how this has revolutionised your life.

0:20:420:20:45

What would you say to people who are suffering with hearing problems?

0:20:450:20:48

I would say lose the fear.

0:20:480:20:49

I would say find out as much as you can about your hearing loss,

0:20:490:20:53

go to the professionals, ask their advice,

0:20:530:20:55

stay within the National Health Service.

0:20:550:20:58

It was wonderful to see how technology

0:20:580:21:00

has revolutionised Tim's life.

0:21:000:21:03

That was really interesting

0:21:030:21:04

but they do say that prevention is better than cure,

0:21:040:21:07

so I wonder what tips Dr Danny Kearney can give me.

0:21:070:21:10

I would say tip one would be if you start to notice

0:21:100:21:12

any difficulties with your hearing,

0:21:120:21:14

if people are commenting that you are having the TV louder

0:21:140:21:17

than normal or you are mishearing things then do go to your GP.

0:21:170:21:22

Tip two would be if you are doing noisy activities,

0:21:220:21:26

invest in some ear protection.

0:21:260:21:28

Over-the-ear ear defenders

0:21:280:21:30

or moulded earpieces with different filters.

0:21:300:21:33

Tip three, the ear itself is sort of self-cleaning

0:21:330:21:37

so the best thing to do if you do produce a lot of wax

0:21:370:21:40

is to maybe use some olive oil drops

0:21:400:21:43

to help keep the wax nice and soft and moving out of the ear canal.

0:21:430:21:46

Time now for our daily clip-based quiz.

0:21:480:21:51

Yep, all you have to do is watch the following

0:21:510:21:53

and work out when it all happened.

0:21:530:21:55

And it's a very simple question - what was the year that was?

0:21:550:21:58

So here's how the game works.

0:22:000:22:02

We're going to give you a few key events

0:22:020:22:04

that all happened in the space of a year. But which year?

0:22:040:22:09

And here's why you should play along, by the way.

0:22:090:22:11

Psychologists have said that nostalgia

0:22:110:22:14

can promote a sense of wellbeing and vitality in us all,

0:22:140:22:18

so this really could help you hold back the years.

0:22:180:22:23

# Been around the world and I, I, I

0:22:230:22:25

# I can't find my baby

0:22:250:22:27

# I don't know when, I don't know why

0:22:270:22:29

# Why he's gone away

0:22:290:22:31

# And I don't know where he can be, my baby... #

0:22:310:22:36

From my point of view, I'm at the centre of the web.

0:22:360:22:40

In theory, I can pull in information from any other point

0:22:400:22:44

at the speed of light.

0:22:440:22:46

# Something's gotten hold of my heart

0:22:460:22:48

# Keeping my soul and my senses apart... #

0:22:480:22:53

Researchers use the net to post their discoveries -

0:22:530:22:56

the structure of a protein, the sequence of a human gene -

0:22:560:23:00

almost as soon as they are made.

0:23:000:23:02

But the quantity of data is doubling every 18 months.

0:23:020:23:05

-You know where we are.

-Yeah.

0:23:050:23:10

Be lucky.

0:23:100:23:11

# And if dreams were wings, you know

0:23:150:23:17

# I would have flown to you

0:23:170:23:20

# To be where you are

0:23:200:23:23

# No matter how far

0:23:230:23:26

# And now that I'm next to you

0:23:260:23:28

# No more dreaming about tomorrow

0:23:280:23:30

# Forget the loneliness and the sorrow

0:23:300:23:34

# I've got to say it's all because of you

0:23:340:23:38

# And now we're back together, together

0:23:380:23:44

# I want to show you my heart is oh so true

0:23:440:23:50

# And all the love I have is especially for you... #

0:23:500:23:58

And we'll reveal the answer to that at the end of the show.

0:24:020:24:05

Staying independent is always top of any list

0:24:050:24:08

when it comes to holding back the years,

0:24:080:24:10

whether it's for our grandparents, parents or even just ourselves.

0:24:100:24:14

Where we live has a massive impact on that.

0:24:140:24:18

In particular, the ability to get in and out of your own house

0:24:180:24:21

or up and down the stairs.

0:24:210:24:23

The answer should be bungalows, of course,

0:24:230:24:26

but we are facing a national shortage.

0:24:260:24:28

So, what is the plan B?

0:24:280:24:31

Fiona has been exploring the options.

0:24:310:24:33

Once you get to a certain age, so they tell me,

0:24:350:24:38

steps can become a real problem.

0:24:380:24:41

Whereas once you used to bound up them two steps at a time,

0:24:410:24:46

they start to become more akin to climbing Everest.

0:24:460:24:49

And yet, many older people simply don't have an option.

0:24:490:24:53

Statistics suggest that up to a third of us

0:24:530:24:56

could be living in unsuitable houses for our age.

0:24:560:25:00

For people like May Evans, it can be akin to being imprisoned.

0:25:010:25:05

She has lived in this housing association flat for four years.

0:25:050:25:09

-Hey, May! I'm Fiona. Hello.

-Pleased to meet you.

0:25:090:25:13

-Lovely to meet you, too.

-Yes. Would you like to come in?

0:25:130:25:16

I would love to come in. Thank you very much.

0:25:160:25:18

Thank you.

0:25:180:25:20

So you come in through the main entrance

0:25:200:25:21

and straight ahead of you you've got stairs to contend with.

0:25:210:25:24

-Yes.

-How's that?

0:25:240:25:25

Two and a half years ago I was ill with a pulmonary embolism

0:25:260:25:30

and pneumonia, so when I came home from the hospital,

0:25:300:25:34

I found that the stairs were really a problem.

0:25:340:25:36

It's very difficult to breathe when you have pneumonia

0:25:360:25:39

and an embolism and, of course, going upstairs

0:25:390:25:44

was a big problem.

0:25:440:25:45

I stood at the bottom of the stairs and I thought,

0:25:450:25:47

"Will I actually make it to the top?"

0:25:470:25:50

-Yeah, I can imagine.

-So, because I didn't get out so much

0:25:500:25:53

I was getting really bored and frustrated.

0:25:530:25:56

But I think if I was older and I couldn't hardly get out at all

0:25:570:26:02

then if all I had was the TV for company,

0:26:020:26:06

I would be most unhappy and probably very lonely.

0:26:060:26:08

In the old days, of course,

0:26:120:26:13

the answer would have been for someone like May to be rehoused

0:26:130:26:17

in a single-storey bungalow, but times have changed.

0:26:170:26:20

In 1980, one in six new builds were bungalows.

0:26:200:26:24

Today it's less than one in 60.

0:26:240:26:28

Here in Swindon, there is one person who is devoted to fighting the cause

0:26:280:26:32

for bungalows - Sue Leeburn.

0:26:320:26:35

She is the manager of Only Bungalows,

0:26:350:26:38

the only estate agent in the UK

0:26:380:26:40

which deals exclusively in bungalow sales.

0:26:400:26:43

Today, she is showing me around a prime example in nearby Rowton.

0:26:430:26:48

Oh, this looks nice.

0:26:510:26:53

Yes, it's been completely renovated throughout.

0:26:530:26:56

It's a 1960s bungalow, typical of the area.

0:26:560:27:00

Three-bedroom semi.

0:27:000:27:02

But the attraction with the three-bed,

0:27:020:27:04

sometimes you don't want three places to sleep

0:27:040:27:07

but they'd rather have a dining room that's separate to the sitting room.

0:27:070:27:10

So how is business in the bungalow world?

0:27:100:27:14

Very, very good.

0:27:140:27:16

We literally, every time we put a bungalow on,

0:27:160:27:18

we'll find a buyer for it.

0:27:180:27:20

In fact, often more than one buyer.

0:27:200:27:22

We've got huge demand and the supply,

0:27:220:27:25

they just don't build them any longer.

0:27:250:27:27

And Sue has also seen another growing trend

0:27:270:27:30

that's increasingly placing these properties

0:27:300:27:32

out of reach for many older people.

0:27:320:27:34

Ten years ago when we started specialising,

0:27:360:27:39

I would suggest that the bungalow buyer's typical age would be 65-70.

0:27:390:27:43

Probably 50 now.

0:27:430:27:45

I think people are recognising that there is going to be a shortage

0:27:450:27:49

but I think people are cottoning on that if they don't get it then,

0:27:490:27:53

they may not be available when they get to 65-70.

0:27:530:27:56

Statistical analysis found that shortages in bungalow housing stock

0:27:560:28:00

and high demand from Britain's 11 million over-65s

0:28:000:28:04

are affecting prices, with the average bungalow

0:28:040:28:08

commanding an asking price 16% higher

0:28:080:28:11

than a traditional house.

0:28:110:28:14

So, the crunch question - how much do bungalows cost?

0:28:140:28:19

This is a three-bedroom bungalow.

0:28:190:28:21

How much would this cost?

0:28:210:28:23

This is on the market at £240,000, but it will get that level of price.

0:28:230:28:27

So why aren't more being built?

0:28:270:28:29

I think it's a land issue, to be honest with you.

0:28:290:28:32

Builders have learned over the decades

0:28:320:28:34

that if you've got a piece of land, the more you can get onto it,

0:28:340:28:37

the greater your profit margin is going to be.

0:28:370:28:40

Which, unfortunately, is bad news for May,

0:28:400:28:43

who'd loved a single-storey place of her own,

0:28:430:28:46

and who, until recently, spent most of her life living in bungalows.

0:28:460:28:51

The first bungalow I lived in, I moved to when I was three years old.

0:28:510:28:56

It was one that was built either during the war or just after.

0:28:560:28:59

And I actually bought one of my own.

0:28:590:29:03

That was a two-bed semidetached.

0:29:030:29:06

Quite nice. I did it up fairly well.

0:29:060:29:09

I spent quite a bit of money on it.

0:29:090:29:11

But then I decided that I would really like to live in the country,

0:29:130:29:17

so I sold it and I went to live on a farm.

0:29:170:29:20

So you missed your bungalow? The space, it all being on one level...

0:29:200:29:24

I absolutely missed it.

0:29:240:29:25

It was so versatile.

0:29:250:29:27

So, May, if someone said to you you can swap your lovely flat here

0:29:270:29:32

for a bungalow, what would you say?

0:29:320:29:34

Yes, please!

0:29:340:29:36

Unfortunately, currently in the UK 26% of new housing

0:29:360:29:41

is in the form of flats, while bungalows make up just 2%.

0:29:410:29:45

Have you ever tried to rent one?

0:29:450:29:47

No. I mean, I find they are very expensive to rent privately.

0:29:470:29:52

There are very few bungalows around with the council

0:29:530:29:56

and I have been told that to get a bungalow

0:29:560:29:58

you have to have a disability of some sort,

0:29:580:30:00

otherwise it's a flat.

0:30:000:30:01

Well, there's no denying there's massive demand

0:30:040:30:06

for more bungalows to be built.

0:30:060:30:08

The trouble is people who have got bungalows are staying in them longer

0:30:080:30:12

and developers aren't building bungalows because they don't make

0:30:120:30:15

enough profit from them, so is there a solution?

0:30:150:30:19

I'm meeting architect Neil Turner

0:30:210:30:23

here at the national Self Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon

0:30:230:30:27

to find out more.

0:30:270:30:28

First up, what's his take on the great British bungalow?

0:30:280:30:31

So, Neil, the bungalow.

0:30:330:30:35

Is it a design classic, do you think?

0:30:350:30:38

Yes, I think they are and I think they are much underrated

0:30:380:30:40

and maligned, and I think it's about time that we started bringing them

0:30:400:30:43

forward into the 21st century,

0:30:430:30:45

as a real housing solution for modern day living.

0:30:450:30:48

And part of this problem is because developers want

0:30:480:30:52

to bring them high, and so that they earn more money

0:30:520:30:55

from multiples of flats, rather than...

0:30:550:30:57

The more they build, the more they can max out their profit.

0:30:570:30:59

So what do we do about that? That's not going to go away, is it?

0:30:590:31:02

No, it's not, and I understand the economic argument of that,

0:31:020:31:05

and therefore a sensible mix when they get in

0:31:050:31:08

their planning permissions,

0:31:080:31:09

where they are sort of encouraged to put more of that mix

0:31:090:31:12

of accommodation and to make a more successful...

0:31:120:31:14

-Proper community.

-Exactly.

0:31:140:31:16

And that can be done through planning law.

0:31:160:31:18

And yet there could be an old solution

0:31:190:31:21

to this very contemporary problem - prefabs.

0:31:210:31:24

We relied on them after the war, and over the last decade

0:31:240:31:28

the idea of prebuilt kit homes that you put up

0:31:280:31:30

where and when you can has increasingly been seen

0:31:300:31:33

as a modern solution in places like Sweden.

0:31:330:31:36

So could it be about to come here next?

0:31:360:31:40

What is a prefab?

0:31:400:31:41

What exactly is it?

0:31:410:31:43

Can you get different types?

0:31:430:31:44

Yeah, to try and define what prefab is,

0:31:440:31:46

in essence, it's the elements of that built in a factory

0:31:460:31:49

rather than constructed on the site.

0:31:490:31:51

But is it ultimately the solution?

0:31:510:31:53

If we can make more efficient, better built,

0:31:530:31:57

smaller single-storey homes, I think it's part of a solution.

0:31:570:32:01

Well, it certainly seems ingenious - in theory, at least.

0:32:020:32:05

But I want to see what someone like May thinks,

0:32:050:32:09

and to help us we've asked advisor Neil Davey to run us through

0:32:090:32:12

what's available in kit form.

0:32:120:32:15

-So, May, you want to get out of that flat.

-Yeah.

0:32:150:32:18

Have you ever thought about maybe building your own bungalow?

0:32:180:32:22

I would love to, if I could afford it.

0:32:220:32:24

So, how can she afford it, Neil?

0:32:240:32:28

There are different build routes you can go through

0:32:280:32:30

which actually save you money.

0:32:300:32:32

Flatpack homes, houses that are made in factories,

0:32:320:32:34

should become cheaper.

0:32:340:32:36

And the more we do self build, that industry will grow,

0:32:360:32:41

and that will bring the price down.

0:32:410:32:43

So, how much would it cost May to buy a prefabricated bungalow?

0:32:430:32:47

What sort of a bungalow are you looking for?

0:32:480:32:50

-How many bedrooms?

-Only two bedrooms.

0:32:500:32:52

At 75 square metres, you're looking at about £135,000.

0:32:520:32:57

Still not cheap.

0:32:580:32:59

However, at around half the price of the bungalow we saw earlier,

0:32:590:33:03

definitely an improvement.

0:33:030:33:05

But while the flatpack house may be affordable,

0:33:050:33:08

the land it sits on is another question altogether.

0:33:080:33:12

With plots ranging from 50,000 to several millions,

0:33:120:33:16

it begs the question of how can our ageing population,

0:33:160:33:20

who are interested in having a bungalow built for them,

0:33:200:33:22

ever afford the land?

0:33:220:33:24

There might just be a solution on the horizon.

0:33:240:33:26

The Right To Build act came out last year

0:33:300:33:32

and councils are now under an obligation to provide land for self builders.

0:33:320:33:38

So when they open up their boundaries for housing,

0:33:380:33:40

they've got to think about so many plots for self builders.

0:33:400:33:44

-OK.

-That sounds a good idea,

0:33:440:33:46

but providing they keep these plots at a good price,

0:33:460:33:49

a reasonable price, for people like you who want to do a self build.

0:33:490:33:53

Are they duty-bound to do that?

0:33:530:33:56

They are.

0:33:560:33:57

Well, we spend a huge part of our lives in our homes,

0:33:590:34:02

so the kind of home you are in can have a huge impact

0:34:020:34:06

on your quality of life.

0:34:060:34:07

Perhaps that's why so many of you are saying, bring back the bungalow.

0:34:070:34:13

OK, time now to return to Manchester,

0:34:160:34:18

where, with the help of one of the country's leading pensions experts,

0:34:180:34:22

Bill has been offering advice to those who need it now

0:34:220:34:26

or in the future.

0:34:260:34:28

We are in Manchester

0:34:280:34:30

and for one day only we've set up our mobile pensions parlour...

0:34:300:34:34

Hello.

0:34:360:34:37

..where we're inviting people in for tea, biscuits

0:34:370:34:40

and free financial advice.

0:34:400:34:41

So, we're talking about pensions.

0:34:410:34:43

Do you know what a pension is?

0:34:430:34:44

I'm rounding them up...

0:34:440:34:46

Roll up, roll up for your pension questions.

0:34:460:34:48

..and our expert Michelle Cracknell is giving them advice.

0:34:480:34:51

So, Michelle, how is it going so far, do you think?

0:34:510:34:54

Well, we've had a great set of questions from people,

0:34:540:34:57

and we often find people quite reluctant

0:34:570:34:59

to talk about pensions because they think it's very confusing

0:34:590:35:02

and very complicated, but really, when people come to us,

0:35:020:35:06

all we're asking them to do is tell us about

0:35:060:35:08

their personal situation and we'll do the complicated bit

0:35:080:35:11

about thinking what implications that has on their pension.

0:35:110:35:15

What would you like more of?

0:35:150:35:16

I'd like to have more people asking questions,

0:35:160:35:19

just specifically more young people understanding how

0:35:190:35:22

they can think about their pension more

0:35:220:35:24

and where to go to get help.

0:35:240:35:26

We'll see what we can do for you.

0:35:260:35:29

Roll up, roll up, ask your pension questions here.

0:35:290:35:33

All the answers, free of charge.

0:35:330:35:35

That's the way to do it.

0:35:350:35:36

Come on, then. Pension questions for Holding Back The Years.

0:35:380:35:42

Come and see me.

0:35:420:35:43

And soon we were under way.

0:35:430:35:44

First onto our comfy sofa was Brandon, a 21-year-old student.

0:35:440:35:49

-So, look, have a biscuit.

-I'll take a biscuit.

0:35:490:35:51

Brandon is about to enter the workplace for the first time.

0:35:510:35:54

Well, Michelle said she did want them young.

0:35:540:35:57

I would imagine you probably haven't done much about a pension.

0:35:570:35:59

-Not just yet.

-OK, what's your question for Michelle?

0:35:590:36:02

Obviously, at the moment it's not really my biggest forethought

0:36:020:36:05

but it's having the plans in preparation for that

0:36:050:36:07

as an actor and self-employed, so how would I go about that, I guess?

0:36:070:36:10

Well, it's a great question because obviously the sooner you start

0:36:100:36:13

thinking about pensions, the easier it is to save.

0:36:130:36:16

As a self-employed person, obviously,

0:36:160:36:18

it's all down to you and managing your money,

0:36:180:36:21

and whilst I wouldn't advocate at your young age

0:36:210:36:23

that you should be investing all of that into a pension,

0:36:230:36:26

because of course pensions are locked away

0:36:260:36:28

and you can't access them to at least age 55,

0:36:280:36:31

at least putting it away into some savings,

0:36:310:36:34

then you are starting to think about putting that money aside

0:36:340:36:37

and as and when the time comes,

0:36:370:36:39

you could start popping that into a pension as well.

0:36:390:36:43

There are about 4.5 million people in the UK who are self-employed

0:36:430:36:47

and this number is rising.

0:36:470:36:49

And yet the total of self-employed people saving into a pension

0:36:490:36:53

has halved. If you're self-employed,

0:36:530:36:56

you won't have an employer adding money to your pension

0:36:560:36:58

but there are still some tax breaks you shouldn't miss out on.

0:36:580:37:02

You'll get tax relief on your pension contributions,

0:37:030:37:06

usually up to £40,000 a year.

0:37:060:37:08

And this means if you're a basic rate taxpayer,

0:37:080:37:11

for every £100 you pay into your pension,

0:37:110:37:14

the government will add an extra £25.

0:37:140:37:16

But how much should Brandon put away?

0:37:160:37:19

Michelle, over to you.

0:37:190:37:21

One of the rules of thumbs in pensions

0:37:210:37:23

is when you start your pension scheme,

0:37:230:37:26

you should put in half your age.

0:37:260:37:28

So, for example if you start your pension at age 22,

0:37:280:37:32

you should be putting in 11% of your salary into a pension scheme.

0:37:320:37:35

I know that is a big scary number, and again,

0:37:350:37:38

we would say to people, what can you afford,

0:37:380:37:40

and get into the habit of putting something away.

0:37:400:37:43

And after that, they just kept on coming.

0:37:430:37:46

Amanda is a 52-year-old stay-at-home mother.

0:37:460:37:49

Having recently separated, however,

0:37:490:37:51

she has gone back to work and enrolled in a workplace pension

0:37:510:37:54

to make some provisions for her future

0:37:540:37:56

but there may be options she hasn't thought of.

0:37:560:37:59

You might also have a state pension entitlement,

0:37:590:38:02

because whilst you haven't been working,

0:38:020:38:04

whilst you were having your children and receiving child allowance,

0:38:040:38:08

you would have been getting National Insurance credits

0:38:080:38:11

toward a state pension.

0:38:110:38:13

So something else just to check up.

0:38:130:38:15

Go onto the gov.uk website and ask for a state pension forecast.

0:38:150:38:20

If you don't have the full state pension entitlement,

0:38:200:38:23

it could be that you could use some of your savings

0:38:230:38:26

to actually buy voluntary National Insurance contributions

0:38:260:38:29

to build that up as well.

0:38:290:38:30

It is an issue, though, for people like Amanda,

0:38:300:38:33

if they have been stay-at-home mums all these years,

0:38:330:38:36

bringing up their kids and then they separate,

0:38:360:38:39

that is a challenge for you, isn't it?

0:38:390:38:41

Of course, yeah.

0:38:410:38:43

If you did go for a break, a divorce and get a financial settlement,

0:38:430:38:47

then your husband would be required to declare his pensions

0:38:470:38:51

and you would have a share of that.

0:38:510:38:53

However, you know, it's suddenly very intimidating

0:38:530:38:56

because you do still need to manage that money

0:38:560:38:58

and convert whatever sum you might get as part

0:38:580:39:01

of a financial settlement into retirement income.

0:39:010:39:04

So certainly things to think about.

0:39:040:39:06

Thank you. Thank you for your advice.

0:39:060:39:08

Thanks very much.

0:39:080:39:10

Sometimes, of course, it's not your life situation that changes

0:39:100:39:14

but your pension itself.

0:39:140:39:15

That's the dilemma facing Gerard,

0:39:150:39:17

who wanted some advice on recent changes to the terms and conditions

0:39:170:39:21

of his final salary pension.

0:39:210:39:23

As Michelle explains, this isn't unusual these days.

0:39:230:39:27

Now, I think a number of the pension schemes,

0:39:270:39:30

and this could be happening to yours,

0:39:300:39:32

instead of averaging your last three years of salary,

0:39:320:39:35

they are actually going to average your whole salary history

0:39:350:39:39

-throughout the whole of your career...

-OK.

0:39:390:39:42

..with the organisation.

0:39:420:39:43

Now, obviously, that could have an impact on the final income.

0:39:430:39:47

It could be the level of income you were expecting to retire on

0:39:470:39:52

is lower than the previous rules that applied to the scheme.

0:39:520:39:56

-OK.

-I mean, it can be unsettling,

0:39:560:39:57

when you are putting into your pension

0:39:570:39:59

and you are solidly employed over the years

0:39:590:40:01

and then all of a sudden the scheme changes.

0:40:010:40:04

I'm afraid it is very unsettling.

0:40:040:40:06

If they make any changes to a workplace pension scheme,

0:40:060:40:09

they are required to consult with you, so they will be sending you out

0:40:090:40:12

quite a lot of correspondence,

0:40:120:40:14

and we also are a government organisation,

0:40:140:40:16

so if you get very confused you can phone us up

0:40:160:40:19

and we can try and answer the questions specific

0:40:190:40:22

-to your personal circumstances.

-OK.

0:40:220:40:24

-Lovely.

-Thank you.

-Excellent, goodbye.

0:40:250:40:27

Next into our parlour is Bill.

0:40:270:40:29

He is 72 and currently receiving a workplace pension

0:40:290:40:33

and a state pension.

0:40:330:40:34

His question is about what will happen to it

0:40:340:40:37

when he's no longer around.

0:40:370:40:38

I unfortunately lost my wife...

0:40:380:40:41

..21 years ago, but I do have a partner,

0:40:410:40:44

and I'm just wondering if she would be able to claim

0:40:440:40:48

if anything occurred to me.

0:40:480:40:50

In the past, pensions used to be provided on death to widows

0:40:500:40:53

and widowers only, but more recently,

0:40:530:40:56

schemes have updated it to include partners.

0:40:560:40:59

I would really recommend that you do contact

0:40:590:41:02

the pension scheme's administrator.

0:41:020:41:04

Tell them your situation and see whether there is an entitlement

0:41:040:41:07

for your partner and whether you need to complete any forms

0:41:070:41:11

with her details in order that she does get something on your death.

0:41:110:41:15

I'll have a wee think on that. Thank you very much.

0:41:150:41:18

So it's important if you're not married, but you want somebody

0:41:180:41:21

to benefit from your pension later,

0:41:210:41:23

-then you have to make sure you get the paperwork done.

-Absolutely.

0:41:230:41:27

Unless you complete the form, they don't know...

0:41:270:41:29

-Exactly!

-..who else you would wish to receive the money.

0:41:290:41:31

Well, that's very helpful.

0:41:310:41:33

And are you enjoying your retirement, Bill?

0:41:330:41:35

I certainly am. I can recommend it.

0:41:350:41:37

Excellent.

0:41:370:41:38

And with that, it's time to close our pensions parlour.

0:41:400:41:43

We've answered lots of questions and hopefully done some real good.

0:41:430:41:47

I don't know about Michelle but I'm exhausted.

0:41:470:41:50

Luckily, there are still some tea and biscuits left.

0:41:500:41:54

Oh, that sounds lovely. Thank you.

0:41:540:41:56

So, Michelle, I think a very useful day.

0:41:560:41:58

Met some interesting people.

0:41:580:42:00

What do you think are the three top tips

0:42:000:42:02

that you can give people on pensions?

0:42:020:42:04

I think the first one is it's never too young to start.

0:42:040:42:06

It's been fantastic, we've had some young people today

0:42:060:42:09

that are in pensions schemes and putting something aside

0:42:090:42:12

for their retirement.

0:42:120:42:13

The second one, for the freelancers

0:42:130:42:15

and the self-employed people,

0:42:150:42:16

you do get tax relief

0:42:160:42:17

on those pension contributions,

0:42:170:42:19

so if you put them in

0:42:190:42:20

in the right year,

0:42:200:42:21

it could really help your savings.

0:42:210:42:24

And finally, my third tip, don't be afraid to ask questions.

0:42:240:42:27

We are the government helpline and we'll worry about the complicated

0:42:270:42:31

pension bit and hopefully explain it to you in a way that you can get

0:42:310:42:35

the most and therefore get the highest retirement income.

0:42:350:42:38

Well, Michelle, it's been invaluable having you

0:42:380:42:41

-with us today and thank you so much for your help.

-Thank you.

0:42:410:42:44

Well, that was a really rather successful first outing

0:42:440:42:46

for the pension patrol, I thought.

0:42:460:42:48

Still, loads of questions to be answered, so who knows,

0:42:480:42:51

our comfy seats might be coming to a shopping centre near you.

0:42:510:42:55

And quickly, let's give you the answer to our

0:42:570:42:59

What Was The Year That Was archive quiz. Fiona?

0:42:590:43:01

Very quickly, 1989.

0:43:010:43:04

A very big year - the year that the Berlin Wall came down.

0:43:040:43:06

It was indeed.

0:43:060:43:08

OK. The shutters are coming down on this programme.

0:43:080:43:10

-Until tomorrow, see you then.

-Bye-bye.

0:43:100:43:14

# It ain't much I'm asking, if you want the truth

0:43:140:43:18

# Here's to the future, hear the cry of youth

0:43:180:43:22

# I want it all, I want it all

0:43:220:43:27

# I want it all and I want it now

0:43:270:43:32

# I want it all, I want it all

0:43:320:43:38

# I want it all and I want it now... #

0:43:380:43:42

Can you afford to retire - now or in the future? Bill Turnbull offers some pensions advice.

Next, as part of Dr Rangan Chatterjee's Making Sense of your Senses week, he looks at what happens when we lose our hearing - and what can be done about it.

Finally, with Britain's bungalow-building crisis bad news for anyone for who finds stairs difficult, Fiona Phillips asks whether building your own is an option.