Life expectancy amongst affluent men is rising faster than any other group, according to analysis by the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) and Club Vita.
The report published today, found between 2011 and 2015, men in the ‘comfortable group' - with high levels of income - continued to see rapid rises in longevity, equivalent to 17 weeks of extra life expectancy.
This was compared to men in the ‘making-do group' - individuals with modest retirement income levels and living in areas of average to low levels of deprivation - whose life expectancy did not change from 2011.
The PLSA and Club Vita said this trend could have significant implications for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes, as typically over half of the universe's total liabilities are in the ‘comfortable group'.
Club Vita head of research Steven Baxter said having an insight as to the socio-economic dynamics of longevity trends has never been more important, and trustees need to look at these results carefully.
Baxter said: "The key thing trustees need to do is take a step back and think about what mix of people are in their individual scheme, as there is such a wide variety."
In addition, PLSA director of external affairs Graham Vidler pointed out trustees have to take a view on the longevity outlook for many decades in the future, and this report was designed to help them with decision-making and scheme management.
Vidler also said the report should enable schemes to react to recent trends in a way appropriate to their circumstances and will provide a more nuanced evidence base than general data or generic data models.
Commenting on the reasons for the divergence in longevity trends, Baxter said it is impossible to say what is the cause, but pointed out it could be due to the flu vaccine failing to provide protection against particular strains, the impact of austerity measures making life harder for those without easy access to support networks, or alternative resources to buffer them from changes in the social care system.
Female life expectancy
For women, the figures showed life expectancy had increased by four weeks since 2011 for the ‘making-do group,' and nine weeks for the ‘hard pressed group' - those living in more deprived areas with lower levels of retirement income.
PLSA head of governance and investment Joe Dabrowski said the results differ as there are not as many women to form a clear data set for.
He commented: "DB is quite old and women didn't used to be particularly well-represented in the past, which contributes to the data lag."
"This may change as time goes on as more women are working," he added.
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