Inability to pay the household bills – fear of the over-50s

Just when you reach that time of life, as a person in the UK  over the age of 50,you may find that instead of being able to look forward to a gentle ease into retirement looking to your own self needs and relaxation,you are facing the anxiety of having no other course but to sell your home to make ends meet. According to a SAGA report published recently, this frightening prospect is likely to be a reality for millions of over-50s. Inflation and the rock bottom savings interest rates are heavily to blame.

SAGA believe  that one in five worry that they will be forced  to ‘downsize’ by selling a family home to ensure enough cash is generated to pay soaring household bills. Furthermore, many over-50s are faced with trying to support their grown-up children, and their children, for example with help to pay mortgages, university fees,contribute  towards their children’s family holidays, and often basic weekly food bills. Non-essential expenditure is being reduced. Grandparents, it is said, are ‘going without’ because of  mounting pressure in these difficult economic times ‘ to support the younger generation.’

You can read more about the over-50s who are ‘sacrificing their own happiness’ in this  Daily Mail report

Why many pensioners in Britain are to be hit hardest by increases in VAT

Why you should plan to make your money last in retirement
· Why many pensioners in Britain are to be hit hardest by VAT increases
· If you like cake try this recipe from 1891


If you have been celebrating Christmas, then perhaps the last thing you have in mind is to bake a cake. Baking a New Year cake, though, seems to have been a bit of a tradition towards the end of the 19th century. So, in case you are a traditionalist at heart, I have posted on site a recipe for such a cake-1891 style.

Also in this final issue for 2010, I give you two items indicating a need for some serious early financial planning next year…

Why many pensioners in Britain are to be hit the hardest by the January increases in VAT
The Daily Mail reports that more than three million pensioners will see their income fall next year. It says:

“Millions of middle-class pensioners will be left worse off next year, despite the Coalition’s pledge to increase pensions.
Official figures reveal that next week’s rise in VAT from 17.5 to 20 per cent will leave many pensioners out of pocket, even after increases in the basic state pension and other benefits are taken into account.” It continues:

“The basic state pension will rise by £4.50 a week to £102.15 in April, leaving pensioners £234 a year better off.
But for better-off pensioners the rise will be more than wiped out by the extra VAT they will pay on goods purchased.

Read more: pensioners hit hardest
Why you should prepare for a long retirement
…and now the better news reported this week: we are all living longer! Well, you may have heard something of this before. However, the specific projections for life expectancy put out this week are quite staggering. The following is a report from the China Daily:

‘One in five Britons to live to 100’

‘LONDON – More than 10 million people living in Britain today, almost a fifth of the population, will reach their 100th birthday, the Department for Work and Pensions said on Thursday…’

‘The rise in life expectancy means many millions of Britons will spend around a third of their lives in retirement, Pensions Minister Steve Webb said in a statement…’

“These staggering figures really bring home how important it is to plan ahead for our later lives,” he said.’

Read more : staggering rise in life expectancy

A New Year’s cake recipe 1891 style
And so to more Seasonable fare: A Handsome New Year’s Cake from 1891:

Rub half a pound of butter into half a pound of flour; add one cup of molasses and one of brown sugar, two pounds of chopped raisons, one pound of currants, and a quarter of a pound of chopped citron, four eggs and half a tablespoonful each of cinnamon, mace and nutmeg, and two wineglassfuls of brandy; mix all together and bake in jelly cake tins; keep the cake warm while you make, and bake in jelly tins of the same size, white cake made of half a pound of…read more at


Stay tuned-in! Above all stay warm!
Remember you can pick-up more tips and news here at the60lifePosted on Categories Cost of Living, Life expectancy, Money, Recipes, Retirement, the60lifeweekly e-letterTags , , , Leave a comment on Why many pensioners in Britain are to be hit hardest by increases in VAT

Do you suffer from this frustrating problem?

– Do you suffer from this frustrating problem?
· – 20 Ways to make your Christmas easier
· – Try these amazing seasonal recipes for eating and drinking


With clear evidence of Winter outside and Christmas not far away, this week we turn our thoughts to keeping warm and well fed, and preparing for the festive season. Also, we take a quick look at a frustrating problem many writers suffer, and we are introduced to a vast free source of material that can help us with ideas and content for our writing, whether fictional or non-fictional.

Do you suffer this frustrating problem?

Debra at asks these questions?

‘Are you an idea junkie? Do you have a notebook filled with great ideas? It’s a problem I fight every day.
‘Why is it a problem? It is because great ideas can lead to overwhelm.’

Many of us writing every day have too many ideas and often don’t know where to begin with a writing project. This effects many successful people, and Debra says,

‘Sometimes You Have To Put Things On Hold Even If They Are Good Ideas.’

To catch more on this issue, and to take some inspiration and comfort (and also a sneak peak into the world of the Public Domain), check-out more from Debra at Sometime you have to put things on hold

20 Ways to make your Christmas easier

Good to Know have got 20 quick tips on how to make cooking for Christmas simple and stress-free, from cheat’s tricks to time-saving tips for classic Christmas recipes. So more time to sip sherry and open presents!

Go to the Good to Know site at

20 Way to make Christmas easier

Try These Amazing Seasonal Recipes for Eating and Drinking

Seasonal recipes for winter Eating and drinking hot seasonal food and drink can help to keep you healthy over winter. Most winter fruit and vegetables contain the nutrients you need for the season, and there are lots of great recipes to choose from. Guardian Lifestyle ,a href=””>Guardian Lifestyle

has some wonderful winter recipes from across the country. Good to know at Good to know-Winter recipes
has a wide choice of dishes from casseroles to delicious desserts. The ever-popular River Cottage is another good option. Go to : 20 Way to make your Christmas easier

And if you need a new cooker, slow cooker or microwave. Or intend to buy kitchen electricals as Christmas presents? Look out for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo to save money on running costs.

Energy Saving Trust

As the first Christmas cards drop through the letterbox, I am reminded that perhaps it’s time I drew-up my list and addresses, and wrote my cards.

Do stay tuned-in! Above all stay warm!
Remember you can pick-up more tips and news at

I do hope you will join me again next week for more build-up to the festive season. There will be more about the Public Domain, and opportunities it can provide to pick-up free ideas and content for use in your writing, whether fictional or non-fictional. Also here, and at, I will also be taking you back to 1891 and give you a little insight into North American life at that time.


Mike Paterson,
The 60Life Weekly

Learn how to grab your ‘free lunch’

Learn how to grab your ‘ free lunch’
· How you can slash your UK phone bills and maybe save £100s

In a week when students in the UK took to the streets to protest about the proposed level of university tuition fees to be repaid by graduates, I looked to see if there are still any ‘free lunches’ to be had for the more mature seekers of learning…

Why you can still lunch out for free and learn
The old saying: there is no such thing as a free lunch, is tested a little this week.

My recent internet searches have confirmed there is a vast source of free learning to be had out there on almost every subject under the sun. Ever fancied learning another language, perhaps Chinese or Japanese? Perhaps you would like to strengthen your computer skills, or undertake an accredited course leading to a qualification in your chosen subject. All this is open to you.

For computer tutorials you can go to ; and for some popular oriental languages online you should check-out: and .

You can also find some useful product links at

Yours magazine suggests obtaining the contact details for your local university at Citizen’s Advice Bureaux or through the UCAS website at and reports : ‘During term time, many universities hold lectures that are free to the public. They can cover anything from physiology to art history and you needn’t have a an in-depth knowledge of the subject.’

My final suggestion this week is:
Study for free with The Open University. The website explains:

‘The Open University (OU) is the only UK university to give free access to its educational resources through a publicly accessible website. OpenLearn – – provides access to hundreds of OU courses through a virtual learning environment that supports independent learners. Part of the OU’s mission to open access to education for all, OpenLearn provides free learning to anyone, anywhere in the world.

‘The website launched in October 2006 with 900 learning hours of materials. With new study units added every month, the LearningSpace area of the website now offers more than 3,700 hours of learning content. Taken from existing OU courses, study units range across 11 topics, from access to postgraduate level. Popular topics include Health and LifeStyle, Languages, Science and Nature and IT and Computing.’

You can check-out the full report at

How you can slash your UK phone bills and maybe save £100s

According to the website,
‘It’s possible to slash line rental down to £8/mth with free evening & weekend calls, daytimes for 5p/CALL and half price to mobiles, maybe saving £100s a year.

‘If you’re with BT, Virgin or TalkTalk’, says,’ you’re paying too much. No one phone provider is cheapest, so this straightforward guide shows you how to quickly ensure EVERY call you make’s at the lowest possible rate.’

For more information on how to save money on phone bills you should go to

Do stay tuned-in!
Remember you can pick-up tips and news at

I do hope you will join me again next week.

Why it is even more important now to shop around for the best value on savings accounts, fuel deals and insurance


This week, my broadcast to you is shorter than usual, but is no less important for that fact.
Good and reliable information can help us to manage our daily affairs better. So, when I saw the following topic discussed across the news last weekend, I felt it so important that I share it with you in case you missed it…

Why it is even more important now to shop around for value on savings accounts, fuel deals and insurance

In order to raise awareness, Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of Age UK, has just published what it calls the ‘Silver RPI,’ which is a measure of how inflation affects people as they get older, and is to be issued quarterly.

This new index clearly indicates’ that people over 55 are being hit by much higher living costs’, says The Mail On Sunday. While the Bank of England’s latest headline inflation report was at 4.6 per cent in September, The Mail goes on to report:
‘According to the Silver RPI, the gap between real and headline inflation for the average 65 year-old, for example, is 3.3 per cent, or £710 a year. For those over 75 it is 4.1 per cent, or £440 a year.’

You can also check out a full Guardian report at inflation-highter-over-55s

Over the next few months, we’ll be looking at guidance from the internet on prices, and value, for those critical areas of cost where the lowering of spending is essential. Do stay tuned-in!
Remember you can pick-up tips and news at

I do hope you will join me next week.


Mike Paterson,
The 60Life Weekly

If you have missed earlier issues of The60Life Weekly – these can be found by scrolling down the categories in the right hand column at