It’s understandable that many people don’t want to dwell on questions of life expectancy, or meet the issue with a shrug of the shoulders: “Who knows?”
The good news is that life expectancy has increased considerably over the last few decades.
Of course, your life expectancy will depend on your individual circumstances – things such as your health status, lifestyle choices, family history. Few people would claim to predict the future with any great accuracy.
But we can say, on average, a man retiring today might expect to live to 83 and a woman to 85.
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How long can I expect my retirement to last?
Our research* has shown that people aged 50-65 may well be underestimating their life expectancy. The people we asked in this age group thought men would live to around 80 and women to around 84.
It’s good to think that you might enjoy a longer retirement than you may have thought. But have you saved enough money to last you a lifetime?
How much will I need?
Think about now much you’ve saved for the future – not just any pensions you may have, but also savings and investments.
It’s also important to consider the kind of lifestyle you want when you retire. The Money Advice Service suggests using a figure of between half and two thirds of your salary to work out how much income you might need in retirement.
You can use our online tool My retirement planner to help you get an indication of how close you might be to achieving this.
The Planner can show you how varying the amount you put into your pension plan might affect your retirement income. It’s easy to use and only takes a couple of minutes.
You can also visit the I want to know how much I’ll have to live on section of this website for help to think about where your income will come from when you’ve retired.
Once you’ve got a clearer idea about the money you’ll have, you need to consider how long it may need to last.
Can you afford the lifestyle you want... and for how long?
When you’ve given some further thought to how long your retirement might last, you’ll want to look at your options for funding it. An important part of this is making choices about how you access your pension fund.
If you want to find out more about this, you can visit the How do I take money from my pension fund? section of our site.
*Research conducted by ICM Research for Aviva during June 2014 with a sample of 1,100 people aged 50-65 years.