Dining on cat food when you’re 95

by | May 5, 2017

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City Editor Neil Martin looks at how competing with your pet for dinner could be a retirement reality.

How many of us will be fortunate enough to have the opportunity to still be working 30 years after the state pension kicks in, or maybe, will most have to be working until that age because we haven’t got enough for a good retirement?

As the Duke of Edinburgh takes a bow and exits stage left, and who can blame him, many thoughts will wander as what age we’ll retire and how much we’ll need in terms of money so that we won’t be dining on cat food in our sunset years. I make the cat food reference, because that’s what a lot of pensioners will be surviving on as they reach their dotage one very senior fund manager told me a few years ago. He warned that a pensions crisis was just around the corner and used the pet food reference to hammer home his point.


And Just, the specialist UK financial services company created by the merger of Just Retirement Group and Partnership Assurance Group, has ‘just’ kindly sent me some data which makes the point that a man who is 50 this year has a one in four (25%) chance of living until he is 95 and a better than one in ten chance (11%) of living until he is 100.

They don’t give us the figure for women – I think they live longer than men, don’t they?

So, we’re all going to live to 95 right, yeah, so that means if we retire at 65, we have 30 years to fund. And if we still like fast cars and even faster, well, I won’t go there, then the amount of money we’ll need is astronomical.


My advice is don’t retire. Or, win the lottery, or better still, come up with the next Facebook. Otherwise, retirement is going to be a tad boring to say the least.

But, here’s some sensible advice though from Stephen Brooks, group communications director at Just, who says:

“Not all of us will have the good health or stamina of the Duke of Edinburgh – I’m not sure I’ll still be able, or want, to work at 95 years old!  In fact, today more than half of people are not working in the year before they reach State Pension age; and one in four men, and one in three women, reaching State Pension age has not worked for five years or more, often not by choice.  Even when people can claim the State Pension we know it will never provide for any luxuries in retirement so people will rely on their own resources for those little extras to make retirement comfortable and secure.


“As people live longer and are likely to be retired for longer, we must make sure individuals have the information they need to be able to make good retirement choices.  Anyone who takes money out of their pension too soon risks leaving themselves short of income later on when their options are limited.  Anyone too cautious, worried about outliving their savings, may not enjoy the comforts they probably could afford. So, we want to see people ‘auto-enrolled’ into Pension Wise guidance when they start to think about accessing their pension pots.”

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