A decent pension is really an inalienable human right. You work hard all your life, you save up your pennies, and when you retire you're paid enough to make ends meet.
Except the way we've traditionally funded pensions is starting to fail, because the world around us has changed. That's why looking to what we did before just won't work anymore.
We need to completely rework this. So here are my five ways to get a better pension.
Time is your friend. Small increments, compounded over time, are like a snowball rolling down a hill. This is the most fundamental principle of investing.
Make sure you start saving, and investing for your pension, as early as you possibly can. And keep saving for your pension as long as you can, and without interruption. The law of compounding will mean that your pensions pot will increase more and more with each passing year.
So start saving in your 20s, and save until your 60s. In fact, keep on investing even through your retirement years as you look towards your children's inheritance. Investing should be a lifelong habit.
Invest in shares and funds
That's why investments should be the cornerstone of your pension. I would combine some of the best investment funds around, with a series of carefully chosen shares. I would focus much of my attention on high-growth emerging markets, as this is where the most profitable companies will be in future years.
Invest in property
Alongside shares is property. In a previous article I discussed the relative merits of buy-to-let and stocks, but I believe every family with a steady income should own a property.
Property prices have been rising, and they will keep doing so, as Britain's population goes up, and more people with jobs means greater demand for houses and flats. If you can possibly afford it, you have to be in this particular investing game.
A common mistake that new investors make is thinking that investing is a linear game. In fact investing, like most things in life, runs in cycles. Over the past 17 years we've had a long and difficult bear market in shares, but we've had a boom in commodities, with gold, and oil and mining companies doing well.
Over the next 17 years I expect this trend to reverse, with commodities crashing, and stocks booming. You need to be able to rotate into the right funds and shares as this transition takes place.
For this reason, if you've been out of equities until now, I think this is the ideal time to buy-in. In investing, the big picture is everything.
Be persistent. Be resilient.
Whether you're buying shares, investing in gold or saving for a buy-to-let property, you'll have difficulties and you'll make mistakes. Probably lots of them. But you need to keep going. And if you're persistent and learn from your mistakes, you will succeed.