My Dad was a well-paid senior manager in a private company of about 50 people turning over £20m pa. He got made a Director just before the end, turned 65 this year and promptly retired. He's setting up in business again now but he doesn't need to. His company and state pensions will keep him comfortable for life, he has no mortgage on the Exec home he bought for 40 grand in the 80s and his three kids went through college for free. He has a second property (rented to my brother!) and loads of shares from the privatisations of the past. In other words, he's sorted.
For me to achieve the same level of care-freedom by 65 I have, I have calculated, to become a millionaire. For a start, my pension is worth about 25 grand - four more than the 21k I have paid in since I was 24 year old. My mortgage is just over a quarter of a million- nothing unusual there I find when speaking to friends. And my two (maybe three) kids will need 30k min each off me to help them through college.
So let's assume I need a pension-pot of say half a million (on a 5% yield this gives me 25k pa), I pay about 400k in mortgage payments over the next 25 years - including the interest and I spend 100k on my kids education - and I need a million quid.
For my Dad's generation, it was possible to have a decent career to know you could do all of the above pretty comfortably. For ours, to get to 65 and have all of those boxes ticked means one has to be earning extremely well - or succeed in business.
Or, of course, in the case of pensions, be in the public sector.
While we are getting wealthier as a society, the truth is that the wealth is unevenly distributed across generations. My Dad's generation bought then sold the cheap houses, enjoyed the stock market boom and free education. My own didn't. The next generation - my son and daughter's - have it even harder, I believe, judging by the position most 20 year olds even today are in.
My main irritation with the CSR - in addition to the Housing Benefit mess - is its failure to tax the affluent over 65s. Their Winter Fuel Allowances, free travel cards and state pensions are not needed by many. They can't quite believe their luck, the few I have talked to. But they are numerous - and they vote.