Naive (adjective) – (Of a person or action) showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement. Source
Irresponsible (adjective) - not thinking enough or not worrying about the possible results of what you do. Source
My work day generally does not afford me a lunch break. It’s generally scoff a sandwich, but not fast enough to give indigestion, between tasks. A couple of weeks ago after a particularly rough morning I did however break away and joined the ranks of those at the ‘lunch table’ for a few minutes. This is normally a place of general chit-chat, of what gadgets people are buying, of the latest sports news, of what people are doing on the weekend, but today in the wake of the BHS pension scandal the topic switched to investments, pensions and retirement plans.
When it comes to saving, investing and retirement planning I am very transparent on this blog but in the office I am the definition of a grey man. After all an environment where your employer knows you have a decent FU stash or are only a few months from FIRE is hardly one where you are going to be able to ramp earnings at a rapid rate. So I switched on my spidey sense but didn’t dive in with ‘my view’.
It was then that one of my colleagues, who must be 10 years my senior, stated that he had never bought a share and wouldn’t know how to. He also advised us that he was also in the company pension default fund, had never logged on to the portal and just looked at the statement each year which showed his private pension would be derisory (he was actually referring to the estimated taxable annual earnings that would come from handing over his pension pot to buy an expensive annuity from the insurance company that was currently charging him excessive expenses).
I just couldn’t leave it there and so made a few choice comments without outing myself. “I’ve been buying shares, exchange traded funds and mutual funds for a few years now, know how it’s done and have done ok. I’d be happy to take you through that. I’ve also completed quite a bit of research on pensions, know that our scheme is expensive and know that there are plenty of other better options out there. I’d be happy to take you through that as well. Just come and see me and we’ll spend some time on it.” By then the topic had lost momentum and we’d moved on.
It’s been a couple of weeks since that conversation took place and I can confirm that my colleague has not approached me about it. I’m struggling with it a little bit as I don’t like to see people fail and so have been wondering if I should do something about it. Before I do though I’m trying to think is he irresponsible, a victim or just naive. I’m coming down on the side of irresponsible, so am leaning towards doing nothing and leaving him to it.