Life expectancy – the great unknown?

Pensions

Julie Hutchison

21st April 2014 at 2:05pm

The topic of life expectancy has been in the news recently, with latest figures showing that we’re now expected to live even longer.

This has led to debates on whether we should all be given a life expectancy estimate when assessing our future financial needs. Indeed, just last week the Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, suggested that people are underestimating how long they’ll live, which can affect the decisions people make when planning for the future.

It got me thinking – how would I feel if faced with my life expectancy as a number on screen?

There are a number of ways to predict your lifespan, from online tools to a watch that counts down how long you’ve got left!

I recently experimented with an online calculator which, based on a series of questions, gave me a life expectancy age of 90 years.

It asks 12 questions based on age, diet, exercise and happiness – Unless the unexpected happens, I could have more than 50 years ahead of me to fund. the best bit was going back and changing my answers to see how it affected the final outcome. By simply changing my relationship status from ‘married’ to ‘in a happy relationship’ I gained an extra year!

The figure I was given proved quite a wake-up call and brought home the fact that, unless the unexpected happens, I could have more than 50 years ahead of me to fund.

How will I fund these years?

Well, I can’t really count on inheritance – longevity runs in our family (my great-grandmother lived to over 100). I’d also like to see my parents enjoy all they’ve worked hard for rather than passing it down to me.

I’ve only ever bought two or three Lottery tickets – so my chances of winning are even more remote than most.

So if I can’t inherit it or win it, I guess I’m just going to have to earn it, save it and take an income from it later. If I can’t inherit it or win it, I guess I’m just going to have to earn it, save it and take an income from it later.

Simply cost cutting where I can and finding thrifty tips on Twitter are already helping me as I combine cost-cutting with setting aside the savings I’ve made.

I’d recommend you try the predictor tool too; you may be surprised by the result. But whatever number it gives you – hopefully it’ll encourage you to revisit your saving plans to ensure you’ll be covered for the years ahead. It’s not too late to start, as this previous blog shows.

Let us know how you got on with the calculator – did it throw up any surprises?

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The information in this blog and any responses to comments are not financial advice.