The chairman of the Life Trust, a new group set up to address the concerns of our ageing society, has stated that our increasingly older population is a ticking time bomb.
Life Trust chairman and former Conservative minister, Lord Hunt of Wirral, said that people in the UK were very good at living lengthy lives, but poor at making key financial decisions to fund their later years. In order to combat this problem, Lord Hunt said that the possibility of more innovative savings schemes should be explored.
As the number of pensioners will overtake the number of children in the UK in the next two years, the formation of the Life Trust is essential. Lord Hunt explains: Many people simply do not realise the scale of the financial impacts associated with increasing longevity, and it is precisely this sentiment that lies behind the Foundations formation. We are today pledging to take a leading role in providing people and institutions with the knowledge they require to face up to the fact we are all living longer. This is not an issue which is going to go away, and we want to play our part in diffusing the ticking time bomb of longevity.
Mike Lake, Life Trust Foundation director and CEO of Help the Aged, echoed this sentiment. He said: A person aged 55 today has a one in two chance of living to 90 and a one in four chance of living to 95. The fact is that the UKs population is growing older by the day we are all, on average, living longer – and this has alarming consequences for both society and the individual. More than ever we need to be aware of the implications of living a long life, and a vital part of this is for people to consider their longevity hand-in-hand with their future finances.
The Life Trust Foundation has been established to investigate the financial implications of an older population. Experts from Oxford University will join the not-for-profit foundation in order to analyse all current research on financial issues surrounding longevity. The group will also carry out research that looks into the ways other countries are coping with the economic challenges posed by an ageing population.
In addition to this, it is thought that the group will set up a dedicated consumer panel of older people aged between 60 and 85. They will use this panel to analyse the money, health, lifestyle and relationships of retired people in the UK, and their findings will be presented at a seminar in the autumn.