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The Office of National Statistics (ONS) In the UK released figures last year showing that the number of centenarians in the UK has increased more than fourfold over the last three decades.
Spare a thought for the queen who famously sends a congratulatory message to all subjects who reach the age of 100, again at 105 and every subsequent year thereafter. The UK’s oldest person – Ethel Lang – who celebrated her 114th birthday in May, has received 11 of them! And the Queen’s postal bill looks like going up and up as the current trend is set to continue with more and more Ethels celebrating a century.
In 1983, there were 3,040 people alive who had hit their century, in 2013 this increased to 13,780. In addition, in 2013, there were 710 people estimated to be at least 105. Over the last 10 years, the number of people reaching the age of 100 has increased by a staggering 71%.
Those celebrating their centenary this year will have been born in the same year as baseball player, Joe DiMaggio, actor, Alec Guinness and Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, and will have outlived them all. They are also far more likely to be female – there are 586 female to every 100 male centenarians, although the good news for men is that the female:male ratio is down from 823:100 in 2013.
Life expectancy has been increasing steadily since the 1940s. Other statistics, also from the ONS, have revealed that the most common age for a man to die in the UK between 2011 and 2013 was 86, with women living an additional three years to reach 89. This trend is putting the government’s finances under significant strain as the pension system is paying out to increasing numbers of retirees an increasing number of years.
Indeed, governments all around the world are grappling with this problem, and many have had to raise the age of retirement as a result. In the UK the State Pension age has already risen and will continue to do so over the coming years.
In reality, for most retirees, the State Pension will not be sufficient to cover living costs. Imagine if, like Ethel Lang, you live to the age of 114. If you retire at 65 that means that you need to survive off your pension income for an astounding 49 years (and counting). If you are relying solely on the state that is, quite frankly, 49 years of pretty frugal living.
The figures show that now, more than ever, it is important that all of us give careful consideration to how we are going to finance our lives once we stop working and start saving towards a retirement fund as soon as we possibly can. Whether you are approaching retirement or just setting out on your career path, if you haven’t already got provision in place, you need to start saving NOW!