On 3 March 1843, a 36-year-old Liverpool customs officer called William Fenton had an idea that was to change the way society supports people. In those days, Liverpool was a city of huge contrasts. If someone from a poor family had an accident at work or fell victim to disease, being able to bury them with dignity wasn’t an option.
William’s idea was simple: door-to-door agents would collect penny premiums, allowing families to afford a decent funeral. The idea of a ‘mutual society’ proved hugely successful, and the organisation that eventually became LV= went from strength to strength – moving into pensions
as well as other forms of insurance along the way.
Retirement today would be unimaginable without pensions to rely upon. But the concept is older than you’d think.
The Roman Emperor Augustus rose to power by hiring a private army. To stay there, he needed to keep those soldiers on side. His idea was to offer a pension
, or praemium, which is ‘prize’ or ‘reward’ in Latin – a lump sum equivalent to 12 years’ salary.