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19 February, 2018   |   By Fiona Tait   |   Blog

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A moment in time @pensionsgirleblog 19 February 2018

The Reverend Paley’s watch.

This week I had the extremely pleasant task of attending the retirement dinner for one of Intelligent Pensions’ most senior analysts – the guys that do the hard work in the field meeting clients Retirement cake.PNG (1)and analysing (see what we did there?) their income needs.

Apart from some extremely tasty victuals and liquid refreshment, we were treated to a speech from the escapee, sorry retiree, including the reading of a letter from one of his clients in relation to the occasion. This letter expressed the writer’s gratitude for years of service by – and I paraphrase a bit due to the aforementioned libations – “always telling me how much money I have but not allowing me to spend it!”

A bit harsh, but this is in fact what we do. We help our clients to build up sufficient money to support them in retirement, and then we help them spend it in the most efficient way possible. Sometime this includes delivering messages that the client doesn’t want to hear, such as “if you spend that much money now you will probably run out of funds before you die”. The writer appreciated that, and it was also clear that this was a comfortable relationship, built up over time and based on professional respect. Whenever I get to shuffle off the pension coil I could not wish for a better recognition that that.

Donald’s retirement naturally got me thinking about gold watches. He didn’t get one – he got a rather nice rare malt and some golf clubs instead – but you can see how my mind works, sort of. And that led to the Reverend Paley.
Anyone familiar with creationist theory will of course know the reverence gentleman and his watch, but in case you are not one of this happy fraternity (or sorority, I am all for equality), the theory goes like this:Gold watch.png (1)

“… suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place …” [this leads to the supposition that] “There must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed [the watch] for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use”.

In other words something as complicated as a watch could not exist by accident and there must therefore be a higher being who could design it. If therefore complicated living beings exist, God must exist also.

So while I was reflecting on the meaning of life, it occurred to me that we could update this analogy. Good financial advice, such as that delivered by Donald, proves the existence of a higher being - in our case the MD who built Intelligent Pensions' cashflow modeller. I hesitate to compare him with God (although he might not object to that) but like a watch IntelPen is far too complicated, and far too good, to have developed by accident. Perhaps we should have got Donald a watch after all.