Life need not end at retirement at 66 years

Life expectancy is more than a science, more than genetic engineering, more than health.

2 mins read
Retired couple walking their dog, Scotland [Photo: Diana Parkhouse/Unsplash]

Researchers state that we need to be equipped both financially and mentally to navigate a much longer life than expected by previous generations. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) UK, life expectancy at the age of 65 is currently 18.3 years for men and 20.8 for women. Before people retire, they need to consider work, wealth, health, family, and wellbeing.

If someone wants to retire today on an average salary in England of around £35,000, they might plan to expect around £10,000 of that to come from the State Pension, as per the flat rate amount in 2023/24, with their private pension which needs to supplement and deliver an income of £24,400 per year. Thus, you need around £625,000 to be able to withdraw £24,400 a year inflation-linked at 2% to see their pension last until the age of say 90/100. Who can think so much ahead?

Who thinks thus like an actuary, to plan your retirement as above? So, to save £625,000, a 25-year-old would need to put away around £4,200 a year in total inclusive of tax relief or £350 per month. Tell this to a 25-year-old, and they will say, “Bonkers!” They have years ahead of them to plan retirement, don’t they? But, that is what is needed to live a comfortable, carefree life in old age, in the UK.

Can you afford to live a long life anywhere in the world?

Life expectancy is more than a science, more than genetic engineering, more than health. The average life expectancy, since the pandemic, has fallen for men in the UK from 79.3 to 78.6 and for women from 83 to 82.6. While simultaneously, there is a noticeable number of centenarians which has more than doubled since 2002, with an estimated 15,120 in total, of which 2,130 are male and 12,390 are female, living today. While living longer is a cause for celebration, perhaps, due to advances in medical research or even strangely, at the fast pace of today’s living?

The thought of living a long life is perhaps, no longer a fancy; it all depends on the quality of life. If you carry on aging like normal, that is not contemplable, but if you do age slower, that could be a thought. The feeling of living alone is fearsome. Many know it is something that is totally out of their control.

We know with scientific advances, mental competence is surely not enough; physical agility is most necessary.

Human life is so dependent on sustainability and lifestyle, and aging gracefully, that surely is solely dependent on the Almighty, the Eternal, and The Everlasting.

What are some challenges posed by an aging population?

The rise in the elderly population, if not matched by health and welfare improvements, will exert ever-increasing pressure on public finance. Imagine a relatively smaller working-age population, in the world, will need to support growing spending on health, social care, and of course, pensions.

As the elderly population grows, the demand for social care services escalates. Ensuring quality and essential and ethical care becomes crucial.

Future policies promoting flexible working arrangements and age-friendly workplaces will become necessary.

Other concerns of ethical care for the old and infirm:

“As the population ages, we are witnessing an unprecedented increase in the number of older adults with various types and levels of cognitive impairment, including mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and major neurocognitive disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia). Given that the number of geriatric psychiatrists remains insufficient to meet the needs of this growing segment of the population, the ability to evaluate, diagnose, and manage the myriad psychological and behavioral manifestations of cognitive disorders will become an increasingly important part of the skill set of psychiatrists.”

How to age without getting old is anybody’s guess? But, only a fool can think they can always do what they have always done.

Life without aging is meaningless?

Victor Cherubim

Victor Cherubim is a London-based writer and a frequent columnist of the Sri Lanka Guardian

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