Will you still be going strong at 100?

Posted on Apr 26, 2019

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We often talk in our blogs about how people are getting older and an increasing number of us are likely to live to 100 – unimaginable a generation ago. That said, we conducted a little research to see which well-known individuals might be preparing to receive a card from The Queen this year and haven’t found very many… 

One gentleman who is still ‘going strong’ is the scientist and environmental thinker James Lovelock. Born on 26 July 1919, he is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the Earth functions as a self-regulating system. 

Just two months ago, he was interviewed on the BBC and said: “I tend to think of the earth as alive in a sense.” 

In our research, some famous faces who were born in 1919 but haven’t sadly made it to 100 years old include Eva Peron, Nat King Cole, Jon Pertwee, Liberace, Margot Fonteyn and Howard Keel, to name but a few. 

Life expectancies in the UK have changed dramatically in only a few years. Incredibly, in 1841, a newborn boy was expected to live to just 40.2, compared with 79.0 in 2011. 

The low life expectancies of the 19th century can be explained by the higher number of infant deaths. Survival past the first year of life was historically a predominant factor in life expectancies and once a child had reached five years of age, he or she was much more likely to reach a greater age.

Whereas a newborn boy was expected to live to age 40.2 in 1841, a one-year-old boy in that same year had a life expectancy of 46.7 years.

The need to support older people financially was highlighted in 1908, with the Old Age Pensions Act. This meant that, from January 1909, individuals over the age of 70 got a total of 5 Shillings per week (7s 6d for married couples). At that time, half a million people were eligible. Interestingly, the benefit was set deliberately low to encourage workers to also make their own provision for retirement. Some people were exempt though and only those with a ‘good character’ could receive the pension. 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 1908, a woman aged 70 at the time was expected to live on average an additional 9.3 years, and a man 8.4 years, meaning pensions needed to last around 9 years. However, compare this to the latest figures and we see how pensions need to last longer nowadays. 

In 2011 men and women aged 70 were expected to live for approximately 20 more years, meaning we need to make our pensions last more than twice as long as when they were first introduced. Jump forward to 2019 and these figures will have only increased. 

This means that, while living to 100 is an increasing possibility, can we actually afford to do that?

It is interesting to look back and see that the State Pension was never meant to be somebody’s sole way of financing their latter years, so getting our own finances and pension provision in hand is key and growing increasingly important.

With an increasing number of us living up to 30 years post-retirement, it’s worth being as well prepared as possible.

At The Goodman Partnership – pension planners Tunbridge Wells - we can help you to understand if your lifestyle needs can be met in retirement and how the different options of drawing benefits compare.


Give us a call on 01892 500600 or visit our "Retirement Planning" page.




Goodman Chartered Financial Planners is a trading name of Fairstone Financial Management Ltd. Fairstone Financial Management Ltd., is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority – FRN: 475973 Registered in England and Wales no: 05574120. Part of the Fairstone Group. Where you have a complaint or dispute with us and we are unable to resolve this to your satisfaction then we are obliged to offer you the Financial Ombudsman Service to help resolve this. Please see the following link for further details: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.