Do you really want to live to be 100 – the frightening prospect that faces a fifth of the current UK population?
The Department of Work and Pensions predict this longevity based on current trends and say everyone must start planning to fund a retirement that will last about a third of their lifetime.
The first question should be: “will all those people be living till they reach that age or simply existing? ” If the answer is the latter, and you only have to visit a care or residential home to see what I mean, is it something to celebrate or plan to live with?
No matter how large a person’s pension fund should become to pay for those years, the predicted change in demographics has far more significant ramifications.
Firstly, how could the nation afford the healthcare required to support that length of life both in terms of money and the number of people who would be required to work in that sector?
Second, however funds are set up, they all rely on the current output from the world economy to provide the actual income in terms of food and other commodities that are exchanged for the ‘monetary credits’ built up in the pension. The more of this social resource load that is placed on the productive economy, the more those pressures lead to inflation.
Pensioners are already discovering that once they quit the workplace, unless they are in the rapidly shrinking elite of those with gold-plated schemes, there is a lot of time when they just have to sit around because other activities require resources they cannot afford to purchase.
Current plans to raise the retirement age are wholly inadequate to answer the imbalances the demographic change will produce. Indeed, the whole concept of ‘retirement’ needs close scrutiny and needs re-crafting.
The radical solution is probably to stop doing a lot of the things that are causing the extension of the ‘three score and ten years’ so the country stops producing so many centenarians. If surviving till you are 100 is a matter of existing, with a lengthening terminal phase of physical decline, there are plenty of people who don’t want their life prolonging artificially through medical intervention.
This is a topic that we will be back to soon.