Pensions Minister Steve Webb said recently that “people tend to underestimate how long they’re likely to live for” and “don’t have a lot to go on” when planning their retirement. He suggested that the Government could provide those approaching retirement with a personal life expectancy estimate to help them prepare their future finances. But how can you know how long you might live? We take a look at some interesting facts on life expectancy.
Where you live matters
What factors make a difference to life expectancy? Even small lifestyle differences can have a major impact, including which district of London you live in. Research shows that each stop on the Jubilee line from Westminster to Canning Town correlates to approximately one year’s reduction in life expectancy.
Did you know…
- Those who live in Monaco live longest: their average life expectancy is 86.5 years. Those who live in African countries do not fare well because of high infant mortality rates
- 1 in 3 babies born in 2013 in the United Kingdom will live to the age of 100
- Your relationships have an impact on how long you will live. Loneliness and isolation can have negative effects on the immune system which, in turn, can have a detrimental effect on life expectancy
- In 2012, there were 13,350 people in the UK aged 100+.
UK pensions – freedom of choice greater than ever
The recent Budget removed some of the restrictions on how people spend their pension, including tax cuts on pension cash withdrawals. This freedom of choice, argued Steve Webb, makes it even more important for people to have a realistic awareness of their own life expectancy. Some have criticised the proposal, warning of the dangers of relying on rough estimates of life expectancy. However, arguably it is better and more efficient to plan our retirement finances on the basis of a sensible estimate of how long our retirement will last.
Finally, as you plan for retirement, spare a thought for the poor honey bee. During the winter, worker bees can live for four to nine months. During the busy summer months, their life expectancy drops to a mere six weeks; they literally work themselves to death!