Reform of the State Pension

A Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023: Reform of the State Pension

In Autumn 2018, the Department of Social Protection launched the Roadmap for Pensions Reform which contained 6 main strands of which Strands 1 is the most important for those nearing retirement age.


The reform sets a proposed target for payment of the State Pension to a level at approximately 34/35% of average earnings. It is proposed to link further increases to changes in the Consumer Price Index and to wage levels in order to ensure that the value of the State Pension is maintained.


The State Pension is premised on the principle of social rather than personal insurance and operates on a Pay as You Go (PAYG) basis meaning that today’s pensions are not funded by past contributions made by today’s pensioners but are instead funded by the taxes and social insurance contributions of today’s workers. The PAYG model works for as long as there are roughly four or more workers contributing into the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) for every pensioner drawing from it. Ireland is facing huge demographic challenges which will Continue Reading

Why bother having an Enduring Power of Attorney?


What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

Having an Enduring Power of Attorney (EDU) in place is becoming more important now that we are all living longer and as a consequence the incidences of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease is becoming more common. Both spouses and/or single people should have an EDU.

How to make an EDU

Get to a Solicitor. Ask the Solicitor what fees may attach to this service. The Solicitor will then take you through the four step process.

Step 1: You are asked to nominate a person to whom you wish to give the EDU and the Solicitor will then take you through a list of powers which you wish to evolve to the nominee.

Step 2: Your solicitor will ask you to nominate 2 persons in your family who will be notified in writing of your decision to make this EDU. There are legally defined issues around nominees.

Step 3: Your Solicitor will then contact your own doctor and will instruct you to visit the doctor within 21 days of signing the EDU and if appropriate your doctor will certify that you have the mental capacity to make this decision.

Step 4: Once the Solicitor receives the doctor’s certificate it is placed in your file. In the event of you losing your mental capability to make decisions your Solicitor will apply to the High Court to have the EDU activated. This final process is relatively straight forward once the paperwork is properly formulated.

Case Study:

 Now that their three children have moved out of the house Jim and Mary have every chance to enjoy their new life in retirement. Jim worked in a bank and rose to the level of manager until he retired two years ago, Mary was a primary teacher and retired in the last year. Both have built up some nice pensions and can look forward to doing things together that were not possible until now. Some time ago they speculated by purchasing a lovely holiday home in the Connemara Gaeltacht and now have an opportunity to spend very relaxing breaks there mixed with the regular sun holiday in Lanzarote where they have also invested in a well located apartment overlooking Puerto del Carmen.

As with most people at this stage in life both comment regularly of what they call “senior moments” where they like so many others in later life they sometimes worry that they are getting a little forgetful, particularly about more recent events and about people’s names and such like.

Gradually, however, for Mary this seems to become more serious and eventually she agrees that she should go and see a specialists in geriatrics even though in all other aspects of life she feels very capable of living an active and carefree retirement. The diagnosis of her condition shows that there is some cause for concern while still only in the realm of “maybe”. So Jim and Mary decide to live on and forget the worries about what might happen in the future.

Within a very short time Jim begins to notice that not only is Mary more frequently forgetting simple everyday things that are so obvious but that she is also beginning to repeat and relate things that she has just spoken about a few minutes previously. They decide that a second consultation is necessary and this time the diagnosis is definite: Mary has entered the first stages of rapidly advancing Alzheimer’s Disease.

Jim is devastated and wonders about the future. They have their holiday home in Connemara. They have their lovely apartment in Lanzarote. Mary needs medical care and attention now and for Jim the holiday home and apartment will be sold to ensure that the monies needed for Mary’s care are available in the not-too-distant future. Jim pays a visit to his solicitor whom he has used for many years when he invested in the two properties. As usual in the case of the two big investments, his solicitor had advised that both properties should be vested in the names of both Jim and Mary. Now, however, when Jim pours out his sad story about Mary’s on-going condition his solicitor informs him that he cannot dispose of either property as in each purchase both Jim and Mary had not mentioned taking an Enduring Power of Attorney, whereby they could have nominated each other to undertake sole responsibility for their joint assets in the event of either of them losing “corpus mentis” and being legally prohibited from making decisions regarding disposing of joint assets.

Now Jim sits at home looking at Mary’s detonating medical condition and trying to come to terms with the costs associated with her on-going care, while the two investments that he no longer wishes to use or share, are lying dormant simply because they both did not understand the imporetance of having an EDU. Jim is angry that he had never been informed of the safeguard of having an EDU in place which would act as a simple precaution against such a life-changing circumstance.

Consider now what you should do!






Importance of Making and Updating Our Wills

Surveys show that most of us are less than careful when it comes to ensuring that we take care of those who will be left behind when we pass on to the next life.

Many people are reluctant to make a Will. If you fail to make a Will then your descendants will pay a large share of your estate in surplus tax as a result of you dying intestate and settling your financial affairs will take a lot longer. A Will helps identify your resources and ensures that your property passes to the people of your choice and helps avoid family issues..When you have made your Will you should review it approximately every five to seven years.

How to make a will

Spend some time thinking through what you want to put in your Will – don’t just dash in to making your Will until you have prepared some notes to take with you when you get to a Solicitor. Prepare a list of your assets, your insurance policies and a list your creditors. Decide on whom you want to benefit under you Will and whether or not you wish to leave assets in trust. Be sure to ask the Solicitor what fees may apply to this service.

Wills must be in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the Will) and witnessed by two independent witnesses. Neither witness nor the spouse of a witness can be a beneficiary under a Will. You will be asked to nominate an Executor who will be responsible to see that the will is enacted after your death.

There are also a number of things that you could do to simplify your estate for the transfer of assets: Consider placing the family home in joint ownership of your spouse/civil partner if it is not already so. This can be done without stamp duty or registry fees, but your Solicitor will have to prepare a new deed.

Your Will should be kept in a secure place and make sure it can be readily found in the event of your death.

Spouse’s and Civil Partners’ Rights

A spouse cannot be disinherited under normal circumstances. If left out of the Will and there are no children, a spouse is entitled by right to half of the estate. If there are children the spouse is entitled to one-third of the estate. A spouse can lose the legal right share if convicted of a crime against the Testator calling for a sentence of two years or more, if certain orders are made by the Courts, or if the surviving spouse deserted the deceased spouse and the desertion continued for more than two years prior to the date of death.

Common Law Partners

Common law partners have no rights to your inheritance unless he/she are specifically mentioned in your Will.

Child’s Rights

The Court may order benefits additional to those given by a Will to be paid to a child. If a child is disinherited or not treated fairly, the Court will look at the case from the point of view of what a “prudent” and “just” parent would have done. The child will have to make an application to the Court, and the onus of proof on the child is very high. A child does not have the right to contest a Will when the parent of the child is the beneficiary.

Healthy Eating in Retirement

Nutrition is an important part of healthy living post-retirement

[This is a guest post by Consultant Dietitian Gillian McConnell]

Many factors are important for a healthy retirement – staying physically active, maintaining close relationships and pursuing personal goals. However, one factor is vital to make the others all possible: a healthy diet. Without considering healthy eating, you cannot fully benefit from a rewarding and engaging retirement, and increase your risk of a range of health issues.

Challenges to good nutrition:

As people age, the amount of calories they need to consume each day reduces as the amount of good quality nutrients they need increases. This makes it difficult to ensure they’re getting all the vitamins and minerals they need each day, since you’re typically eating less. That’s also why it’s all the more important to Continue Reading

Healthy Living in Retirement

Water is a major element in making life on earth sustainable- we will discuss and re evaluate its importance at each and every cellular level.

Modern society faces the challenge of an ageing population. Globally, between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of adults older than 60 years is projected to double from 11% to 22%, and the number is expected to grow from 605 million to more than 2 billion.

This demographic shift will lead to a rising disease burden with profound implications for health care and practice. Evidence suggests that adopting and adhering to healthy lifestyles in middle or older age can reduce risks for chronic disease and mortality. Therefore, it is important to identify opportunities for lifestyle changes in middle to older age to promote healthy ageing. Continue Reading

Why Employers Should Provide Retirement Planning for Employees?

Work practices in developed countries have changed significantly in the past two decades, with many workers now changing jobs every 7 to 10 years. As regards the current cohort of the population in the 50 plus age sector, the average working life of these individuals whom we now meet on our retirement courses ranges from 42 to 50 years of working life-service. In many cases this involves at least 2/3 of this time or an average of 30 years will be provided as working service by most employees.

The question for employers here is whether they have a social and moral obligation to repay that loyalty to their organisation by helping those approaching retirement to prepare for such an important and significant milestone in their personal lives, particularly if Continue Reading

What Retirees Should Know About State Entitlements

The key information sources are though leaflets which are available on-line from or at Social Protection Offices or Citizens Information Offices.

The second most important research that any employee should conduct is to seek out their Social Contributions Record to ascertain the precise details of contributions which they have been making throughout their working life.

Social Insurance Record

Your record begins when Continue Reading