People with bigger pensions live longer

A survey shows that people with more retirement income live longer: is it time to top up?

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How can you ensure you live a long and healthy life? Healthy eating, clean living and plenty of exercise may help, but if you really want your card from the Queen, then new research indicates that your best bet might be to start topping up your pension.

The research, by pension scheme administrator Equiniti, looked at the details of 610,000 deceased pensioners, and discovered that someone with an annual pension of between £25,000 and £30,000 was likely to live almost a year and a half longer than someone with a pension of between £10,000 and £15,000 a year.

It found that those on £10,000 to £15,000 would live to an average age of 78.8 years, those on £15,000-£20,000 lived to 79.62, those on £20,000-£25,000 lived to an average of 79.76, and those on £25,000-£30,000 lived to the age of 80.21.

Why?

Mark Webster, Business Development at Equiniti Pension Solutions, admitted that some of this is simply a reflection of the fact that wealthy people tend to live longer on average - and that wealthy people tend to have bigger pensions - so they are both a sign of wealth rather than being directly linked to one another.

It's the same effect that sees people in wealthier areas living longer than those from less well-off areas. The ONS highlights that male life expectancy is highest in East Dorset (82.9 years) and lowest in Glasgow (72.6 years), while for women life is longest in Purbeck (86.6 years) and shortest in Glasgow (78.5 years).

However, Webster added: "It is also reasonable to conclude that having a higher pension will for many increase their longevity."

This is a reasonable assertion, as they can afford a better diet, higher standard of living, better care in their old age, and may have access to faster healthcare through health insurance. All of this can have a knock-on effect on longevity.

It's safe to say that the impact isn't going to be the biggest determinant of longevity. Given that your retirement income is only likely to have an impact on your health and wellbeing in the final third of your life - there's a good chance that your general wealth throughout your earlier life is likely to have a bigger impact on your overall health and longevity.

However, you have to ask yourself what you have to lose by saving more for retirement. While you may be hoping to boost your longevity, at the very least, saving more in your pension will mean that when it comes to retirement you'll be able to afford a better quality of life - even if the quantity falls short of your ambitions.