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For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health, till death us do part. Was there ever a more succinct expression of the risks inherent in making very long-term commitments? And given our inability to forecast even relatively short periods into the future—a failing shared by investment analysts, actuaries, central bankers and Harold Camping, the doomsday predictor—the only courses left open are to accept the risks or avoid all long-term commitment.

Anyone who is putting money into a pension has chosen the first of these options and if they’ve been reading the newspapers over the past…

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