The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ. 16:00, 1 March 2012.

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For the third year in a row. ILC-UK launched into the new year with events in both Scotland and England.  These events, in partnership with the Actuarial Profession, and supported by Swiss Re, explored how the perception of retirement is changing and could change in the future.

The original concept of retirement is being eroded. Increasing concern over the costs of retirement has led to a shift of responsibility from Government and the corporate sector to the individual. The State Pension Age has been increased and public and private pensions are being scaled back.

Individuals are likely to have to work longer, contribute more and receive less than earlier generations. However, we need also to reflect that the older population is a very heterogeneous group, and the current balance of public and private funding will vary dramatically across the population.

At the same time we have seen dramatic improvements in life expectancy, and there is a huge opportunity (a longevity dividend) if further increases in life expectancy are spent in good health. This is certainly the case if we don’t just prolong survival for those with disease but delay the onset of disease and its progression. This requires flexibility in encouraging those that can work to work beyond current state pension ages and in focusing healthcare to those that will benefit. It also means changing people's behaviours towards work and retirement by highlighting the implications and restrictions of a long life beyond retirement, dependant on state funding.

At these events we highlighted particular initiatives that might help this period of transition - for example:

  • developing agreed metrics of health status;
  • cross-generational sharing of concerns so that each generation understands the challenges faced by others;
  • moving towards patient-centred healthcare where geriatricians and GPs consider the holistic health of the individual;
  • recognising the benefits and costs of preventative medicine and avoiding the trap of always assuming preventative medicine is preferable because it will cost less (it may not);
  • provision of a suitable level of post-retirement income for all members of society and understanding what balance of public and private pension provision can help in this aim.

Following these events, the ILC-UK launched a think piece which explored the debate outlined above.

Agenda from the event

16:30 – 16:35
Welcome and introduction from chair Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre – UK

16:35 – 16:50
Sarah Vickerstaff, Professor of Work and Employment at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent

16:50 – 17:05
David Sinclair, ILC-UK

17:05 – 17:20
Stephen Balchin, DWP

17:20 – 17:35
Daniel Ryan, Swiss Re

17:35 – 18:30
Discussion and Q&A