Turning 60 in the UK
by George Hatjoullis
On turning 60 one has a lot to think about. Statistically you have another 20 or so years left to live. The quality of life deteriorates as this is a time when lots of nasty diseases can afflict and general wear and tear means you may not be able to do what you enjoy. It also a time when you can stop caring as much about what people think. Turning 60 is somewhat alarming and liberating at the same time. However, this blog is not about the psychology of turning 60 but rather the finance. If you had made adequate provision it is a truly liberating time. However, many have tried hard but have been defeated by a system that promises much but delivers less. Moreover, it is still some years until a state pension and the attendant benefits come your way. The years from 60 to the state pension are getting longer. If you can still work this is less of an issue but many cannot. Any financial edge they can achieve is always welcome. Here are some tips that I have picked up.
First, prescription charges. Prescriptions are free from 60 onwards. Your age is on the prescription so claiming involves simply completing the back of the certificate. For someone on regular medication this is quite useful as it saves up to £104 p.a. on the prescription prepayment certificate. If you need 14 items or more in a 12 month period, the PPC is worth taking if you are not 60 yet (http://bit.ly/1fPSHVH).
Second, there is the 60+ London Oyster Photocard, probably the best kept secret in London (thank you The Guardian). You can apply online and it costs £10 to apply. It then provides free public transport in London (until the Freedom Pass becomes available I think). This is a huge benefit. London public transport costs are prohibitive. However, it is not well publicised and, even when looking for it, the TFL website is not overly friendly. Here is the link (http://bit.ly/1loaB15). You will need to take a digital photo and upload it. You also need to be living in a London Borough. A passport or driving license identification number is also required.
Finally, it pays to look for ad hoc benefits in all sorts of transactions that are only available to those of a certain age, and 60 is just such an age. For example, last autumn EO.N were offering something called the AGE UK 60+ one year fixed rate tariff. It was only available to account holders over 60 and was cheaper than many existing tariffs on offer with EO.N. Most important it had no cancellation penalty so even if a cheaper tariff were it would cost nothing to switch. EO.N raised prices in January 2014 so it has proved quite useful. Many places offer a discount for the over 60s (e.g. Kew Gardens) so it is worth having age specific photo identification when out and about. The 60+ London Oyster Photocard may bring many more benefits.
[If anyone has other tips do let me know and I will update this blog, as well as avail myself].