Living to 100
Centenarians on the increase
It has long been accepted that improvements in medicine, lifestyle and an understanding of the effects which habits such as smoking can have on our health means life expectancy is increasing. Future generations are likely to enjoy much longer and healthier lives on average than their predecessors.
However, figures released in April 2011 by the Department of Work & Pensions illustrate more accurately exactly what that means. These figures suggest, of the under 16s already alive today, over a quarter are going to reach the age of 100 – and already, the average new-born female is going to live to over 90.
As Steve Webb, Minister for Pensions, commented at the time, this means that millions of people will spend over a third of their life in retirement. However, as the DWP were quick to point out, this news also coincides with a period during which pension savings are in serious decline.
An ageing population is putting our welfare system under significant pressure as more people need not only pension income but also healthcare, incapacity support and help within the home. You can therefore have little expectation that a State Pension will provide anything other than a safety cushion when the time comes. If your retirement plans include holidays, visiting relatives and treating yourself on occasion, then its time to take control of your savings and start building up a retirement fund of your own.