Skydiving pensioners grow old disgracefully

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It will come as no surprise to viewers of 'OAPs Behaving Badly', but people in their 60s are refusing to take old age lying down.

One in 20 people is getting their first tattoo after the age of 60, and 12% say they've have taken part in extreme sports over the past decade, from skydiving and bungee jumping to scuba diving.

Almost half of those surveyed by Remember A Charity said that they feel at least 10 years younger than their real age, and one third say that they are more likely to seek out new experiences than they were 20 years ago.

But it's not all hedonism: more than one fifth of those surveyed say they are involved in volunteering. Sixteen per cent have already included a charitable donation in their will and, of those that haven't, over a third say they're considering it.

"People in their sixties are really living life to the full and doing amazing things, not least of all volunteering their time and taking part in challenge events for good causes," says Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity.

"It is fantastic to see that one in six have already included a charity in their will and twice as many would consider doing so. People know they can give in this way and many are willing, but there is a need to normalise this form of giving and ensure that it becomes a regular part of the discussion when planning a person's inheritance or will."

For many, retirement marks the first chance to pursue a dream - and the new pension freedoms mean that more people than ever before have the budget to do it. We recently reported, for example, on Cambridgeshire couple Ian and Ann Clarke, who have cashed in their pension pots and sold their home to fund a round-the-world sailing trip.

While this may be an extreme example, the survey found that the average pensioner now tries at least four activities normally associated with younger people after retiring.

Nearly a quarter are still going to gigs, and more than a tenth say they go on blind dates. Over two-fifths of the over-60s exercise at least three times a week, and a similar number use social media regularly.

"We are delighted that this research shows how so many Brits in their sixties are living life to the full," says Cope.

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Skydiving pensioners grow old disgracefully

Pension experts at Mercer have identified the countries with the best pension systems. At number 10 is Singapore.

The system is based on the Central Provident Fund, which covers everyone in a job. Some of the cash can be withdrawn during your working life, and a prescribed minimum drawn down at retirement as an income.

Overall, Singapore scored 65.9 out of 100. It fared well on sustainability measures, and integrity, but relatively low incomes in retirement dragged its combined score down.

The UK scored 67.6 out of 100. The system was ruled to have great integrity, and good incomes in retirement. The overall scores were also up from the year earlier, as auto-enrolment was rolled out further, bringing more people into workplace schemes.

The researchers, however, were worried about how sustainable the system would be in the future. They called for an increase in minimum pensions, and added that more people ought to be encouraged into workplace schemes and persuaded to contribute more to their pension. They also wanted to see more people saving privately for their pension, and working later in life.

In Chile the state offers means-tested assistance, a mandatory centralised pension for employees to contribute to, and there are voluntary employer schemes.

Chile score 68.2 out of 100. Its highest score was for integrity, with another good mark for sustainability. Relatively low incomes in retirement let it down, and the researchers said the biggest improvements would come from raising the contribution levels.

Canada has a universal flat-rate pension - with a means-tested supplement. There’s an earnings-related pension based on lifetime earnings, plus voluntary workplace and private schemes.

It scored 69.1 out of 100. Its best score was for incomes in retirement, while it also performed well for integrity. Its only relative weak point was how sustainable it might be for the future - particularly because older people don't tend to stay in work.

Sweden has an earnings-related system with notional accounts - although this system was introduced in 1999 so it’s still in transition from a pay-as-you go system to a funded one. There’s also a means-tested top up.

Sweden was given 73.4 out of 100. It scored excellently for integrity, and well for sustainability. The overall score was brought down by incomes in retirement, and the researchers called for more workplace and private pensions.

Switzerland has an earnings-related public pension, a mandatory occupational system and voluntary private pensions.

It scored 73.9 out of 100. It fared well for integrity and reasonably well for incomes in retirement. The researchers just questioned its sustainability.

Finland has a means-tested basic state pension and a range of statutory earnings-related schemes. It scored 74.3 out of 100.

It had high integrity scores, with a less positive result for incomes in retirement, and a surprisingly low score for sustainability. The researchers called for higher minimum pensions, higher mandatory contributions and encouraging people to work longer to improve sustainability.

The Netherlands has a flat-rate public pension and quasi-mandatory earnings-related occupational schemes - which are industry-wide defined benefit schemes based on lifetime average earnings.

The system scored 79.2 out of 100. All its scores were high - particularly for the integrity of the system.

The system in Australia consists of a government scheme, a mandatory employer contribution into a pension, and additional voluntary contributions from individuals.

It benefits from the fact that all workers have been automatically enrolled in their company pension schemes for some time, so participation rates are high. The minimum contributions have also been raised recently, which means workers are building reasonable retirement incomes. It had an overall score of 79.9 out of 100, with the only question mark being over sustainability.

Denmark’s system includes a basic state pension, means-tested state top-ups, a fully funded defined contribution scheme and mandatory occupational schemes.

The researchers said it was "A first class and robust retirement income system". It scored 82.4 out of 100, with high marks across the board.

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