Recessions come with great – as in huge – consequences. Businesses go under; people lose their jobs while others are forced to immigrate. The tax take falls and government debts rise. It’s not a pretty picture.

Unfortunately, it isn’t just existing businesses, jobs, even homes that disappear when a great recession, like the one we’re experiencing now, happens. Some people’s financial futures disappear too.

In the last two weeks, this column has looked at preserving your savings and wealth and the importance of making proper healthcare provisions.

This week, it’s retirement in all its guises: occupational and private pensions, public service pensions, and the old age pension.

The only certain thing about pensions in this great recession is that all three of these pension pillars has been or will be undermined in the coming years.

Only a very independently wealthy or foolish person will ignore the signs that our pension expectations or promises are not going to be met.

The latest occupational managed pension fund results for July from Rubicon Consultants show that typical returns are down, this year to date, by 2.7 per cent and by 3.8 per cent over the year.

Retail price inflation is running at over 3.5 per cent currently. And with the government pension levy confiscating 0.6 per cent of your private pension value, chances are your occupational pension fund value is down at least eight per cent in real value this year.