UK's richest people live longer

UK's Richest People Can Expect to Live Longer, According to Study

A new study has found that England's wealthiest people will live, on average, eight years longer than the nation's poorest residents.

The good news is that researchers say life expectancy has gone up overall by 5.4% since 1990, but there is still a huge gap in life expectancies between social classes.

According to the study, the richest 20% of men in the east of England will, on average, live for more than 83 years. That figure is well above the life expectancy of the least wealthy 20% of men in the north west of England who average just 75 years of age.

The difference in life expectancy is reflected in the research into women too.Wealthier women have a life expectancy of around 86, while the poorest women in the country will live on average 79.5 years.

The NHS has reported that these differences are even visible in different areas of the same city. Reporting in April this year, they claim that those living in the affluent area of Kensington in London will live an average of five to six years longer than those who live in the working class borough of Tower Hamlets.

Although the reports may come as a shock to some, the gap in life expectancies between men and women has always been an issue. The difference has lessened in recent years and it is expected that by 2030 the gap between the sexes will be just 1.9 years.

According to the World Health Organisation's 2013 statistics, areas including North America, parts of Europe and Australia have a life expectancy between 80 and 87, while areas of Africa have a significantly lower life expectancy of around 50 years of age.

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UK's richest people live longer

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 Some of the cash can be withdrawn during your working life, and a prescribed minimum drawn down at retirement as an income.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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