Want more state pension? Then stay healthy


Retired couple staying fit by cycling together in the woods

We're all living longer, that fact can't be denied, but how well you are going to live in retirement is open to debate.

Health life expectancy isn't keeping pace with overall life expectancy and men and women who retire at age 65 can expect to live 56% and 57% of their retirements in good health and 58% and 55%, respectively, free form disability, according to the Office of National Statistics.

The key point in those figures are 'retire at 65' and the reason that number is key is because you probably won't retire that early.

If you're relying on the state pension to support you in your dotage there's a good chance that your retirement age will be at least 69 if you're aged 47 or younger now.

There is lots of talk about whether these increases in state pension age are fair and on the whole it can be argued – and the government has argued – that it will be as you'll spend two-thirds of your life working and a third of it in retirement.

Overall it does seem to be a fair deal but there are discrepancies that creep in when you break down the country into certain demographics. Life expectancy varies greatly depending on where you live in the country – with those in the South of the country likely to live longer than those in the North – and type of employment plays a big part too.

Unsurprisingly, those who work in blue collar, manual jobs live shorter lives than those in white collar, professional jobs.

Manual workers earn less and will likely have less saved into a workplace or private pension than a professional worker so it means they will be more reliant on the state pension in order to retire but they will be getting it later and dying sooner so getting less out of it.

I'm all for state pension age increases – our economy can't afford to keep it age 65 – but it raises the question of whether we should be using the 'average' person's life expectancy to determine how long we will live in retirement. Should we in fact base longevity on the life span of a person with the most chance of dying?

This would mean that people who are manual workers, or living in a part of the country with lower life expectancy, would get as much out of the state pension as 'the average person'.

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