Men living longer will raid Government's pensions fund

26 November 2007
The life expectancy for British men could be up to 12 years longer than official predictions by 2050 and have a 'catastrophic' effect on pension funds, new research has warned.

According to experts based at the Cass Business School who compiled the research, pension providers and taxpayers will have to shell out a total of £160,000 per man more than current official estimates.

Professor David Blake from Cass Business School, Professor Andrew Cairns of Heriot-Watt University and Professor Kevin Dowd of Nottingham University Business School, worked out that by 2050, those men at the age of 65 would most likely live an average of 26 years longer, six years longer than data from the current Office for National Statistics predicts.

That means that the life expectancy for men born in 1985, such as British Formula One star Louis Hamilton who will turn 65 in 2050, could reach the ripe old age of 97, if the forecasts are accurate.

The findings have revealed that the longevity projections are down to a number of things such as improvements in national healthcare, a more nutritious diet and a reduction in the numbers of people smoking, knocking official estimates off the mark. Furthermore, the prediction for the overall life expectancy of an average 60-year-old has already risen by five years from 81 to 86 during the last quarter of a century alone.

It is also been put forward that women in the same age group are likely to live for an additional five years longer than their male counterparts, with the gap narrowing by a year as more women take up smoking.

"People are living for longer and this will present a huge challenge for health care providers and intensifies the problems faced by both government and the pensions industry," said Professor Blake.

Current Government figures show that in 2005/2006, a single male pensioner received an average amount of £257 a week made up of both state pension and private savings however, with the Professor's predictions taken into account, each year of increased life expectancy would bring in a bill of £13,364 in today's money - or £160,368 over 12 years - to be footed by the Government and private pension schemes.

"This will present a huge challenge for long-term health care providers and intensifies the problems faced by both government and the UK pensions industry. Providers need to urgently update the projection models they use before the pensions deficits reach catastrophic proportions," concluded Professor Blake

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