Pensions - Articles - Comment on Health State Life Expectancies from ONS

Life expectancy continues to rise in the UK in the 21st Century, new figures show, but the improvement has slowed in the last decade.

 Commenting on the release today by ONS bulletin Health State Life Expectancies 2015-17, Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said the figures show healthy life expectancy, a key figure for financial planning, is lagging behind. He said:

 “At a time when State Pension Age has started rising above 65 for the first time it is useful to be reminded that not everybody enjoys good health for that many years and that people need to plan early for a range of future possible outcomes.

 “The date for becoming eligible for State Pension is a massive milestone in people’s lives. Our recent research found that seven in 10 (72%) of over 65s said receiving State Pension allowed them to retire and a further one in 10 (10%) said they could go part time or change career.

 “Today’s ONS report shows self-reported healthy life expectancy at birth based on the 2015-17 figures is 63.1 years for men and 63.6 years for women so State Pension Age is already beyond healthy life expectancy even before the rises now underway. However, those who do get to 65 in good health can expect to remain healthy for at least another decade.

 “At an individual level there is a diverse range of possibilities, best highlighted by the fact that healthy life expectancy from birth for women varies by 21.5 years across different parts of the UK and for men the difference is 15.8 years.
 “How long you are likely to live, and how many years you may enjoy good health, are two of the great unknowns that make retirement income planning so tricky.

 “The pension ‘freedom and choice’ policy gives an opportunity to adapt pension withdrawals to personal circumstances. But today’s figures remind us of the importance of choosing how to access pension money in an informed and measured way, taking into account health and lifestyle factors which can have a big impact on the benefits on offer.

 “The transition from working to retirement is a complex stage of life which reinforces the need to seek out the support that is available for free through the independent and impartial Pension Wise guidance service, or to take regulated advice.”

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