There's rarely an upside to having high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes; and you'll wait a long time before someone tells you how much they have grown to love their heart condition or their respiratory problems. However, new figures have revealed that sufferers can at least look forward to a wealthier retirement.
The key is that all these conditions, and more, will mean you get a bigger pension payout.
What's an annuity?The reason why your health makes a difference to your pension payments has to do with the way your pension is turned into a monthly income. We're talking here about personal pensions, stakeholder pensions, or defined contribution pensions you get from work (sometimes known as money purchase schemes).
When you retire you will have amassed a pot of cash, and at retirement most people will use that money to buy an annuity in order to convert the lump sum into a monthly income. You don't have to buy the annuity from your pension company, and you can get a far better deal by shopping around. However, when you do that shopping it's important to take your health into account.
The role of healthThere's not a fixed conversion rate from a lump sum to a monthly income. The pension company will try to work out how long they expect you to live: if they think you'll live to a ripe old age they'll pay you a smaller sum every month: if they think your life is limited for some reason they will pay you a higher monthly income.
So if you tell them about your cholesterol problems, or heart troubles, you could get a far higher payout.
Hargreaves Lansdown has published its list of the conditions that their clients most commonly list - which boost their monthly payments.
1. High blood pressure 48%
2. High cholesterol 41%
3. Height, weight, alcohol consumption 28%
4. Smoker 20%
5. Diabetes 16%
6. Heart problems 15%
7. Respiratory issues 9%
8. Cancer 9%
9. Neurological conditions 3%
10. Stroke 2%
The difference that declaring these conditions made was enormous in some cases. The biggest uplift last month was for a man who more than doubled his monthly income - adding £1,461 a year. This was followed by four men who added around 75% to their monthly income. And the biggest increase was for a man who will earn £9,537 more every year because of his medical conditions.
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Of course no-one should trivialise the impact that having many of these conditions can have on your life. But if you are facing the challenges that ill-health can bring, then it may make life more comfortable if you can face them with more income behind you.