There is no acrid smell of smoke, no choking kerosene, no grim scene of forsaken battlefields and no ghastly flashbacks.

You cannot touch or a feel a pension, but you certainly know when it has gone.

Yet more people have been directly affected by pensions crises in the past four decades than those who lost their lives in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Penury in old age kills with the ruthlessness of the most desperate terrorist.

I calculate at least 5m people have had a shadow cast over their pension rights since 1989, the start of my career as a pensions journalist.

Disasters include Maxwell’s theft of his workers’ pension, 3m people sold the pup of personal pensions when most of them had much safer final salary pensions, not to mention the ongoing pension transfer debacle and the blue-chip Equitable Life closed for new business leaving 1m policy holders’ retirement in tatters.

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