BLOG: Live longer? ‘No thanks the state pension age will go up’

Written by Natalie Tuck
08/08/17

The title of this blog is in tribute to the many comments left by Facebook users in response to the prospect of living longer.

Whilst scrolling through Facebook yesterday I came across a link to an article on the Telegraph about the world’s first anti-ageing drug which could see humans live to the age of 120.

“If successful it will mean that a person in their 70s would be as biologically healthy as a 50 year old. It could usher in a new era of ‘geroscience’ where doctors would no longer fight individual conditions like cancer, diabetes and dementia, but instead treat the underlying mechanism – ageing,” the article read.

Before clicking through to read the article I had a look at the many comments left by Facebook users in response, and was somewhat taken by surprise. Rather than rejoice at the possibility of a longer life, people were more concerned about a state retirement age of 100.

“Does this mean the government will now increase the qualifying for state pension age to 100?” one commentator asked, along with another who said: “What’s the point of living into your 100s in this day and age?” Their reason for such a question? “If you are living to 100 you've no chance of retiring and getting your pension, government will just move the goal posts again to make sure your [sic] in no fit state to enjoy living longer.”

Others asked who will pay for their pensions and one user suggested we “wait until the baby boomers die off first” before introducing the drug. What struck me was the number of people concerned about the state pension age increasing. There was just one person who noted that “if you retire at 65, you'd need 55 years of savings to live on...that's a scary thought!”.

That’s just one person who didn’t think about when they would receive the state pension, but instead considered how much savings they would need to have themselves for a comfortable retirement.

It’s just a snapshot of the public’s idea of retirement, but it seems to me many consider themselves very much reliant on the state, rather than their own savings. Perhaps so many are concerned with the state pension age because it has always been a benchmark at which to aim for, but it also highlights the great lengths the industry has to achieve in making people aware of the importance of saving for their own pension.

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