The tables used by superannuation funds and financial planners to estimate retirees’ longevity and calculate how to make their savings last need a critical update, the Actuaries Institute has urged, with people’s life expectancies being crucially underestimated and leaving them at risk of outliving their money.
The call has come after the government has recently commenced a review into retirement income.
For Actuaries Institute president Nicolette Rubinsztein, it is clear the tools now available to calculate retirement income, may not follow best practice when it comes to increasing life expectancy.
In 1970, the average age of death for women in retirement was just over 80. In 2010, this had increased to 87, which is what the current point of reference tables are using.
But financial service providers need to consider how much life expectancies will increase between now and the time someone retiring today reaches their 80s or 90s, the institute said.
It believes a well-educated woman entering retirement today, with an affluent career and good-quality housing is just as likely to live beyond age 100 as she is to die before age 80.
To have more than a coin toss chance, the institute has defined the probability for a person’s lifespan needs to have 80 per cent or more certainty.
And clients who live to different ages were said to need different advice and strategic investments.
“Life expectancy calculations are often required in the superannuation and financial planning industries,” Ms Rubinsztein said.
“They have a material impact on the way retirement income and products are evaluated.”
Factors that were noted to affect longevity included medical research, living standards, nutrition and lifestyle, education, occupation, genetics and wealth.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].
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