Three things that will earn you a bigger pension income

... the slight downside is that they all mean you may die younger too

Old man smoking

It's hard to find a silver lining in the prospect of dying young. But being at risk of an early death can at least be good for your pension.

Most people still take their private pension in the form of an annuity, providing them with a secure income for life.

And when calculating how much you'll get in return for your pension pot, annuity providers, essentially, are betting on when you'll die. The longer they think you'll live, the less you'll get per month. In fact, one in three savers is eligible for a bigger payout due to poor health or bad habits.

We look at three things that mean you're more likely to die young - but that could at least get you a better income.

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Health conditions

According to Which?, around 60% of people qualify for an enhanced annuity, giving a much better payout - but only 20% are getting one. To qualify, you'll need to be suffering from a life-limiting condition. These include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and kidney failure, as well as - sometimes - rheumatoid arthritis.

How much extra you get depends on the seriousness of the condition. However, as a rough guide, multiple heart attacks could get you 31% more income, type 2 diabetes 30% more and asthma 21% more.

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Lifestyle factors
The same applies to bad habits that are also associated with a shorter life, such as smoking and obesity. Being a smoker can boost your annuity income by a whacking 40%, and even being overweight could get you a 15% increase.

However, the occasional Saturday night ciggie won't cut it: you'll need to have smoked at least ten a day for the last ten years to qualify for an enhancement. And it's worth noting that annuity providers may check with your doctor - so if you've been hiding your habit, you could be in for a disappointment.

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Location
This week, it's been revealed that death rates in Glasgow are nearly three times higher than in the City of London, thanks to financial deprivation and bad health habits.

Other areas where people die much younger than average, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), include West Dunbartonshire, Blackpool, North Lanarkshire and Manchester.

This is, of course, depressing news for anybody living in one of these areas - but means that many annuity providers use your postcode to calculate payments, and offer better deals to those where life expectancy's low.


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