Active lifestyles and health worries for 70-somethings

The average 70-something loves listening to Queen, Abba and The Beatles, reads nine books a year and lists Only Fools And Horses, The Two Ronnies and Fawlty Towers among their top TV shows, research has found.

And while pensions are the main source of income for people aged in their 70s, one in three of those in this age group is still working regularly, according to Nationwide Building Society Savings.

Some 22% of those surveyed are working full-time and 11% have a part-time job, while 6% carry out occasional work.

People aged in their 70s will also typically have £300 of disposable income a month to get by on and £5,227 put away in savings - but they will also be in £31,504-worth of debt, including mortgages, credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans.

The average yearly income for someone in their 70s was found to be £21,617 - slightly less than the average 30-year-old who has £24,763, according to Nationwide Savings.

Health is a worry for nearly half (49%) of those surveyed, while one in three (34%) worry about saving money and 29% are concerned about being able to pay their bills.

One in seven (14%) 70-somethings is also still harbouring romantic regrets over "the one that got away".

The study of 2,000 people aged between 70 and 79 years old from across the UK also found that a Ford is their typical car of choice.

People in this age group have been settled down in a relationship for more than 30 years and receive 24 visits from family members per year on average.

They holiday abroad once a year on average and take exercise five times a week, most likely by going to the gym or taking a long walk.

Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, 71 - who is a spokesman for the report, said: "While getting old can be a pain in the neck, it's a pleasure to see that it's not just adventurers of my age who are still active and are actually far better at keeping up with 'the times' than younger generations might think."

While classic comedies Fawlty Towers, The Two Ronnies and Only Fools And Horses were rated the best TV shows by those surveyed, The Shawshank Redemption, Schindler's List and The Great Escape were their favourite films.

Other regrets listed by 70-somethings include one in three (33%) wishing they had travelled more, 31% wishing they had saved more and 17% lamenting losing touch with a friend or family member.

Seventy-somethings got on the property ladder around five years earlier in their lifetime than the average first-time buyer nowadays, the findings suggest. Those surveyed said they were aged around 28 when they bought their first house, whereas according to the English Housing Survey, a first-time buyer is now typically 33 years old.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, head of savings and mortgages policy at Nationwide Building Society, said: "It's encouraging to see our latest life stage study breaking some common misconceptions by highlighting the active lifestyle of many 70-year-olds, along with their working status and spending habits.

"That's not to say that older people are without worries - with health and wealth remaining concerns for many. Both show the importance of preparing for retirement, keeping active and protecting what's important."

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Active lifestyles and health worries for 70-somethings

If, like many Britons, you have failed to save the cash you need to maintain a comfortable standard of living in retirement, one option is to sell your home and downsize to a smaller property, using the money leftover to cover your living costs.
If moving out of the family home is too much of a wrench, however, the good news is that equity release schemes allow you to stay in your house or flat while still using the equity built up in it to provide some extra cash. The downside of the schemes, which work a bit like mortgages, is that you may not have much left to pass on to any children or other relatives.
But that's a small price to pay for a reasonable standard of living. For more information, try Age UK on 0800 169 6565.

Choosing the right annuity can have a significant impact on your retirement income. And as with most pensions, you automatically have what's called an 'open-market option' (OMO), you can scour the market for the highest annuity rate.
It is worth checking what your pension provider is offering first, though, as some companies offer guaranteed rates for existing customers that are likely to beat those available elsewhere. The Pensions Advisory Service on 0300 123 1047 is a good place to get some free advice.

On retirement, most people convert their pension fund into a guaranteed income annuity that pays out the same amount every month for the rest of their lives.
However, you can also choose an increasing annuity that pays out smaller amounts in the first few years but offers larger payments further down the line. This may prove a wise move if the rate of inflation remains at over 2%.

It is now easier to work later in life because the "default retirement age" has been scrapped.
People approaching retirement age and worrying about money can therefore choose to work for a few years longer - potentially transforming their financial situation. Other than the extra income from working, these people can look forward to higher state pensions, and higher annuity rates due to their greater age.
They can also benefit from bigger tax allowances and the fact that they no longer have to pay National Insurance contributions. Check out this nidirect website for more details.

You could get a much better rate with an impaired-life annuity if you have a medical condition that is likely to reduce your life expectancy.
Incredibly, even snoring, which is a common symptom of Sleep Apnoea could have an impact.
According to figures from MGM Advantage, a man with this condition could receive an extra £12,000 retirement income over the course of their retirement - or £571.44 extra money each year. Click here to find out more.

To maximise your retirement income, it is vital to ensure that you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled. These include the basic State Pension, and in some cases, the additional State Pension.
If you are on a low income, you could also qualify for the guaranteed element of Pension Credit, while those with some savings may get the savings element of this benefit. For more information about these and other benefits such as the Winter Fuel Payment, click here.

Many older couples rely on the pension income of one person - often the man. Should that person die first, the other person can therefore be left in a difficult position financially.
One way to prevent financial hardship for the surviving person is to take out a joint life annuity that will continue to pay out up to 67% of the original payments to the surviving partner should one of them die.
The disadvantage of this approach, however, is that the rate you receive will be lower. Again, the Pensions Advisory Service on 0845 601 2923 is a useful first port of call if you are unsure what to do.

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