The New Centurions

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[N]ow before you start reading today’s little missive I must add a cautionary note. If you haven’t reached your thirtieth birthday my words of wisdom will have no relevance in your life and I suggest you just chat amongst yourselves for the next five minutes.

According to the latest research, no doubt funded by the insurance companies who stand to gain by its results, one in five of us currently living in Britain are likely to survive beyond the age of 100. That should mean if purchasing term life insurance your premiums would be lower – which they’re not – and if you are a silver surfer your pension annuity would give you less – which it does.

I didn’t sign up for this kind of nonsense, my granny lived to be 97; when she was a young woman the Wright Brothers made their first flight and before she died had watched man land on the moon. In her day the ‘experts’ regarded 67 as your life’s expectancy, but many of her generation died in the trenches of the First World War and many more had their lives shortened by their experience of warfare, so much for their sixty-sevens worth.

The biblical notion of three score years and ten might have had some relevance in the Middle East 2,000 years ago (my bet is that most workers just managed one score year and ten), but today another score should be added to our longevity prediction.

If in 2047 I were still active, independent and financially viable (all three, of course, two out of three is not acceptable), then I suppose I could live with it, but that possibility seems increasingly unlikely.

Politicians have realised this and deferred our pensions, at the same time reducing the number of years they need to clock up to receive their own full Parliamentary pension.

With NHS resources stretched to the limit, let alone when we baby boomers become octogenarians or older, is extended old age something we will have to live with in the future, or will future administrators decide that in global terms resources are being wasted on the old and corrective measures are necessary? The realities of Soylent Green and Logan’s Run are beginning to seem less outrageous as the years march on. I can’t see myself in 2047 negotiating London’s streets in my cab, mind you I’ll be lucky to find my way to the toilet at 100. While most of us without gold plated pensions will find they’re miniscule after 35 years of retirement.

So 20 per cent. of us will get a letter from the King (or Queen you never know), but will be unable to reach down to the doormat and pick it up?

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