Latest figures from Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal that the most common age of death for men is increasing – to 86 years old in 2018 – and catching up to women which remains consistent at 88 years old.
In both cases, people have likely spent around 20 years of their lives in retirement which can have a significant impact on their finances, and new research from Key highlights the increasing debt problem experienced by retirees.
The Key research found that one in three people who will retire this year will do so with debts from credit cards (48%), bank loans (31%), and mortgage repayments (14%), and owe an average debt of a worryingly large £17,460.
As this increased longevity and debt combines with the end of final salary pension schemes and the opening up of pension freedoms, there is concern in the sector that people are not properly planning for what could be a very lengthy retirements, and are running the risk of suffering from increased debt and poverty in later life.
What action can we take?
Importantly, the ONS statistics demonstrate that we should not be planning our lives around UK-wide longevity figures. ONS average life expectancy figures suggest men are likely to live 79.3 years and women for 82.9 years on average, significantly below the age that these statistics indicate the highest proportion of people are likely to die.
These figures are a further reminder that end-of-life planning should not be left until our twilight years when illness and disability may impact decision making, but something that we should review with a ‘financial health check’ at regular intervals as we age.— Stuart Simpson, Head of Equiniti Benefactor
It is also important to keep those that we will leave to manage our finances in an informed position to do so. We at Benefactor deal with thousands of bereavements each week and are painfully aware of how much grief can be caused by dealing with estates that have not been suitably prepared prior to death and the impact of lost assets that come to light at a much later date.
Our bereavement services team offer a three step process designed to make the planning and paperwork easy for both the individual and the bereaved.
We provide in-life education to help the individual with their end-of-life planning, a complete estate management service upon notification of death, and swift disbursement of the deceased’s estate.
Creating a good audit trail, at whatever your time of life, will make addressing the affairs of the estate easier. It is never too early in your working life to start preparing for retirement, and for those closer to giving up work, or who are already enjoying their retirement, having all your affairs sorted and a clear plan for end-of-life administration and management can be a huge weight off the mind.
When we are in the unfortunate position of losing a loved one, it is often the emotional toil of having to say “……. has died” that we find so difficult. To start with we will speak to the funeral director, care staff or family members but then we turn to addressing the affairs of the estate. The average executor has to notify 21 organisations, a number which is growing as consumer choice, service providers and investment vehicle options increase.
We also have a created a unique service for the bereaved and executors when they notify us of the death. In partnership with the UK’s largest banks and building societies, we have developed the Death Notification Service (DNS) which enables executors to make a single notification that is passed to multiple financial organisations, significantly reducing the emotional and administrative burden on both bereaved families and legal executors.