So do you have a simple paper advent calendar? With or without chocolate? Or maybe you have a perennial ”felt pockets” or “wood drawers” calendar? Maybe you have been treated with a luxury calendar filled with beauty items or alcohol? Whichever type you have, I hope that you were pleased with whatever lurked behind the first door.
Like much of Christmas, advent calendars started in Germany where the German Protestants lit a candle in the 24 days before Christmas. The first printed calendar was in the early 20th Century but stopped during the war due to rationing. It was US Officials who granted a license to an enterprising German gentleman for the tradition of printed calendars to restart after the war. The US President, Eisenhower is often credited for making them popular when he was pictured giving a calendar to each of his children.
Personal pension plans are rather like advent calendars.
- There are the basic stakeholder personal pension plans that do the job but there are no bells or chocolate!
- Most personal pension plans now offer a wide range of investments with internal or external fund managers offering tasty treats for investors.
- A self-invested personal pension plan is the luxury version that can offer the opportunity to invest in all sort of exotic investments.
Like advent calendars, the more sophisticated the plan, the more expensive and complex it will be. Always make sure that you pick a personal pension plan that meets your needs; if you want a basic savings pot, there is no point in paying for a SIPP where the gifts “behind the windows” are of no interest to you.
As with advent calendars, when you reach the end of the period, the next day is the real celebration - retirement!