NEWS:

                                                                    
  • Innovative new programme revealed at ILC-UK’s flagship “Future of Ageing” conference London

Identifying solutions to the growing problem of vulnerability in later life is the aim of a new initiative launched at the Future of Ageing Conference this week.

The specialist financial services group Just, with the support of the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK), is leading the programme which will bring together experts, innovators and groups who work to support vulnerable consumers to collaborate on future solutions.

Its objective is to identify and support the development of products and services that will address the challenges faced by ageing consumers at risk of vulnerability due to physical disability, illness, dementia or financial exclusion.

The launch responds to the increasing scrutiny by the Financial Conduct Authority of how financial services companies are addressing vulnerability. It has argued the market “is not serving many consumers in vulnerable circumstances consistently or well” and that “customers in vulnerable circumstances are being let down”.

Innovating for Ageing will be a solutions-based project aiming to deliver improvements to vulnerable customers’ experiences with the products and services they encounter when dealing with financial services, as well as businesses and organisations from outside of the financial services industry. Just and ILC-UK plans to:

  • Bring together innovators and designers with groups representing vulnerable consumers to promote better understanding of the issues;
  • Organise events including “innovation sprints” and awards to inspire and recognise collaboration and new thinking;
  • Identify and highlight key lessons and good practice;
  • Report back on public policy implications.

David Sinclair, Director of ILC-UK, said he was keen to talk to individuals and organisations keen to participate in the Innovating for Ageing initiative. He said:

“Our ageing society is a driver for increasing levels of vulnerability – more people with dementia, with sight and hearing loss, and multiple long-term health conditions, for example.

“This project aims to seek out technological and policy innovations and solutions, with an aim to removing barriers and ultimately rethinking the products and services that are available on the market.”

Stephen Lowe, Group Communications Director at Just, said that recent FCA reports suggest as many as half of UK consumers – more than 25 million people – currently show “one or more characteristics of potential vulnerability”, which indicates the scale of the challenge.

“The FCA is calling on industry to lead the way in delivering better products and services,” he said. “This project will be a rallying point for those seeking to respond to the challenges set by FCA and to address the issues vulnerable consumers face when interacting with businesses, whether from the financial services industry or other sectors.”

Innovating for Ageing also aims to respond to the vision set out in by the FCA in its recent Our Future Approach to Consumers mission document that called upon the financial services to better support vulnerable customers. It said it wants to see in all markets:

  • Consumers that are enabled to buy the products and services they need because the environment in which they are sold is clear, fair and not misleading with a good choice architecture;
  • High-quality, good value products and services that meet consumers’ needs;
  • Inclusion – where everyone is able to access the financial products they need and the needs of vulnerable consumers are taken into account;
  • Protection – consumers are appropriately protected from harm.


FAQ

What is Innovating for Ageing?

Innovating for Ageing aims to identifying solutions to the growing problem of vulnerability in later life.

We will identify and support the development of products and services that address the challenges faced by ageing consumers at risk of vulnerability due to physical disability, illness, dementia or financial exclusion.

Why are we focussing on vulnerable older consumers?

The FCA defines a vulnerable consumer as “someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.”

There are growing numbers of older people who might be defined as vulnerable.

In an ageing society, more and more of us are likely to become vulnerable consumers, even if just temporarily. The likelihood for example, of physical disability, serious illnesses, digital exclusion and dementia increase with age. And as our society is ageing we are witnessing a higher proportion of our population in old age and a growing number of people reaching their 80th year and beyond.

And there is a need to better serve vulnerable consumers. The FCA has argued that the “financial services market is not serving many consumers in vulnerable circumstances consistently or well”. In fact, they go as far as saying that “customers in vulnerable circumstances are being let down by their financial service providers.


What will we be doing?

  • We will bring together key stakeholders at a launch reception at Innovation Warehouse on 16th January
  • We will organise an event to help technology companies, start-ups and innovators understand the needs of vulnerable consumers
  • We will organise a “Vulnerable Consumers Innovation Sprint” to inspire new ideas
  • We will organise an awards ceremony to promote and recognise the best ideas
  • We will produce a short report setting out lessons for policy makers

Why should you work with us?

Over the next six months Innovating for Ageing will seek out technological and policy solutions to the challenges faced by vulnerable consumers.

  • We will give visibility to your concerns about how to best support vulnerable consumers
  • We will seek out technological and policy solutions to the problems you identify
  • We will highlight the issues you raise with Government and regulators


How can you work with us?

  • Let us know what are the biggest challenges you think which are faced by vulnerable consumers
  • Agree to participate in the project
  • Help us promote the activities and the awards to the companies you work with
  • Suggest entrants or categories for the awards
  • Attend project events, including speaking opportunities
  • Participate in our vulnerable consumer workshop to highlight the needs of vulnerable consumers
  • Participate as a judge for the awards
  • Support the development of some of the solutions
  • Host an event as part of the project

Invitation to contribute

We want your input into the project. Please send us your response to the questions below via email (info@innovatingforageing.uk)

Or complete the online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/innovatingforageing

Q1. What are the biggest challenges vulnerable older consumers face when trying to buy products and services?

Q2. What do you think are the most important challenges you or your organisation has when trying to support vulnerable consumers

Q3) What do you think is the biggest and most important challenge facing vulnerable older consumers and those who serve them?

For more information, to respond to the consultation and join our mailing list, contact us @

info@innovatingforageing.uk
Twitter: @ageinnovations
Facebook.com/ageinnovations

 

Press Release

Embargoed Friday 24th November 2017 00.01

Older people spending more time in ill health as health inequalities increase


Older people are spending an increasing number of retirement years living in poor health, according to new research from the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK). Inequalities in life expectancy by local authority have been increasing whilst the growth in pensioner income has been stalling.

The new findings have been revealed in ILC-UK’s annual flagship “State of the Nation” Factpack (“When I’m 64”) which has been supported by FirstPort.

The Factpack also finds that whilst the age at which older people retire has been increasing, relatively few older people work beyond State Pension Age. Older workers contribute towards a considerable amount of the UK economy’s gig economy work. And the over 50s account for more than a quarter of all zero hours work.

“When I’m 64” finds that life for 64-year old’s today is very different than 45 years ago with today’s 64-year-olds more likely to be homeowner, have a degree – but also more likely to have a chronic illness than those in 1972.

Life expectancy growing – but so is poor health and inequalities

  • Between 2000 and 2014, the gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at the age of 65 rose from 6.4 years to 8.1 years for men, and from 8.2 years to 9.6 years for women
  • Inequalities in at 65 life expectancy by local authority have been rising, particularly for women. These inequalities are strongly related to local differences in health and disability, education, skills and training and employment
  • The average healthy life expectancy for those at 65 in the ten-worst performing English local authorities is 7.4 years. By contrast, the ten best performing local authorities have an average healthy life expectancy that is almost twice as long at 13.6 years
  • Tower Hamlets is the worst performing local authority with only 6.5 years of healthy life expectancy at 65, while Richmond upon Thames is the best performing local authority with 14.5 additional years of good health expected

A growing army of older workers, but still a retirement cliff-edge

  • 3.7 million people aged 50+ work in health and social work, education and wholesale and retail representing between 27% and 35% of their respective sectors
  • But agriculture is most heavily reliant on older workers, with almost half of the workforce (47.5%) over the age of 50
  • In 2016, economic activity rates for men aged 65 to 69 were 25.5%, while among women they were16.9%
  • The proportion of people in the labour force between 65 and 69 who were self-employed was 35.1% in 2017
  • The over 50s account for more than a quarter of all zero hours work

Life for 64-year-olds has changed significantly over the past 45 years. Today’s 64-year-old is much more likely to own their home outright than 64-year old’s in 1972 (69.5% compared with 26.3% in 1972). 17.6% of today’s 64-year old’s have a degree compared with 1.6% in 1972. 64-year old’s today are more likely to have a chronic illness and disability than 64 years old in 1972 (42.1% to 52.3%).

Ben Franklin, Head of Economics at ILC-UK said:

“This year’s factpack focuses on those making the retirement transition. It shows that in some areas, such as life expectancy, we continue to be making gains, but that these gains have not been shared by everyone. Supporting longer, healthier lives must be a critical priority for government and employers.

Only through such an effort will we be able to succeed in a number of key policy areas, such as: raising State Pension Ages and securing a sustainable health and care system.  Moreover, given the tightening of the labour market, and uncertainty over future migration policy, it is more imperative than ever that employers find ways to retain older workers”.

Nigel Howell, Chief Executive of FirstPort, added:

“Through our Retirement Property Services division, FirstPort manages retirement homes that help residents stay active, socially connected, and independent for as long as possible. Increasingly, this also means ‘economically active’ with residents continuing to work well into their sixties and beyond. This new trend can bring real benefits, both for society at large and to the quality of life for the individual.

“The insight that ILC-UK’s research and Factpack provides helps all of us – industry and government – to do better for everyone, and we are very proud to support it.”

When I’m 64 also highlights that:

  • The growth of net pensioner income has stalled in recent years
  • One in five people aged 50-64 are carers
  • Proportion of individuals between the ages of 55-64 renting privately has been steadily increasing
  • Those in their 60s today are most likely to be living in couple households by the time they are in their 80s, and the proportion of households accounted for by women living alone is expected to fall from 30% to 15%. But this still means around 25% of households will consist of individuals living alone
  • In 2015, those households between 65 and 69 spent more on package holidays than other age groups
  • In 2017, 89.9% of men and 90% of women aged between 55 and 64 had used the internet in the last 3 months

Contact: David Sinclair (davidsinclair@ilcuk.org.uk) or David Eaton (davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk)
Tel: 02073400440

Notes:

Full references are available in When I’m 64: The ILC-UK Factpack on Retirement Transitions. The report will be published on the ILC-UK website on 22nd November.

Advanced copies of the Factpack are available from ILC-UK.

The report will be presented at ILC-UK’s annual Factpack Pub Quiz to take place in London on the evening of 22nd November.

About ILC-UK:

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.
We ask difficult questions and present new solutions to the challenges and opportunities of ageing. We undertake research and policy analysis and create a forum for debate and action.

About FirstPort:

FirstPort is the largest residential property management company in the UK.

This year's Future of Ageing Conference will play host to 10 different panel debates covering everything from automating care, ageism, innovation in housing and the end of life.

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing Conference 2017:  Transforming Tomorrow Today

Confirmed workshops and confirmed speakers include:

Opening Keynote: Dr Pol Vandenbroucke, Vice President Medical Strategy, Pfizer

How can we maximise the economic contribution of older people?

  • Diane Kenwood, Editor, Woman's Weekly and ILC-UK Trustee
  • John McTernan, Senior Vice President, PSB and Former Political Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Blair
  • Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive, Anchor
  • Professor Debora Price, President, British Society of Gerontology and Director, MICRA
  • Professor Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School

Is the Future less or more ageist?

  • Sam Smethers, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society
  • Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Member of Parliament for Barking, discussing 'How to stop wasting women's talents: overcoming our fixation with youth'
  • Yasmin Boudiaf, Virtual Reality Expert, discussing 'Can we use Virtual Reality to tackle ageism?'
  • Tessa Harding, Ex-NCVO and Help the Aged

Can technology drive innovation in pensions, health and care?

  • Alison Martin, Global Head of Life and Health, Swiss Re
  • Other speakers to be confirmed

Is antimicrobial resistance a threat to longevity - and what can we do about it? 

  • Mark Chataway, Managing Director, Hyderus
  • Professor Anthony Scott, Director, The Vaccine Centre, LSHTM
  • Professor Alan Johnson, Head of AMR, Public Health England's Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control

How can we save the NHS?

  • Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Chair, NHS Confederation and former Health Secretary
  • Dr David Oliver, Clinical Vice President, Royal College of Physicians
  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Pamela Spence, Partner, Global Life Sciences Industry Leader, EY

More inequalities in a world of austerity? 

  • Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better
  • Inequalities in Life Expectancy: Andrew Gaches, Head of Longevity, Life and Financial Services, Hymans Robertson
  • Inequalities in Old Age: Professor Thomas Scharf, Professor of Social Gerontology, Newcastle University
  • Austerity and Health Across Europe: Ben Franklin, Head of Economics of Ageing, International Longevity Centre - UK

Filling the skills gap: Migration, more older workers, or both?

  • Yvonne Sonsino, Partner and Innovation Leader, Mercer and Co-Chair DWP Fuller Working Lives Business Strategy Group
  • Professor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, King's College London
  • Dean Hochlaf, Assistant Economist, International Longevity Centre - UK

Can we automate care?

  • George Holley-Moore, Research and Policy Manager, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Eric Kihlstrom, Co-Founder, KareInn
  • Pamela Spence, Partner, Global Life Sciences Industry Leader, EY

How can the housing industry innovate for tomorrow's older consumers?

  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Nigel Howell, Chief Executive, FirstPort
  • Gary Day, Land and Planning Director, McCarthy and Stone
  • Lord Best, Co-Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Housing and Care for Older People

The future of the end: Living forever or dying in style?

  • Baroness Sally Greengross OBE, Chief Executive, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • Professor Douglas Davies FBA, Professor of the Study of Religion, Durham University, and Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies
  • Louise Winter, Founder, Poetic Endings
  • Dave Eaton, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, International Longevity Centre - UK

Closing Keynote: Professor Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics, London Business School and author of 'The 100 year life'.

Eventbrite - The Future of Ageing Conference 2017:  Transforming Tomorrow Today

There will also be a number of keynote presentations, and an open slot to allow one delegate to present their idea to help society prepare for the future of ageing.

Join us at #FutureofAgeing
For more information click here: http://www.futureofageing.org.uk/

Future of Ageing 2017: Sponsored by:

Supported by:

Press Release

For Immediate Release: 07 February 2017

Leading think tank urges retirement housing revolution to fix the housing crisis

Research finds that although 9 in 10 65-79 year olds live in under occupied houses, there could be a retirement housing gap of 160,000 houses by 2030 if Government fails to focus on last time buyers

Responding to Housing Minister Gavin Barwell’s suggestion that making it easier for older people to downsize could help solve the housing crisis, the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) has urged Government to ensure thousands of new retirement properties are built as a matter of urgency.

ILC-UK Chief Executive Baroness Sally Greengross has also called on the Government to introduce a duty on Local Authorities to assess the needs of their older populations when making housing plans, and ensure that these needs are met before plans are put in place.

Research conducted by the ILC-UK has found:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 of the 65-79 age group live in under-occupied housing – over 50% live in homes with two or more excess bedrooms.
  • There are around 515,000 specialist retirement and extra care homes in England. However, this means that there is only enough specialist housing to accommodate 5% of the over-65 population.
  • According to ILC-UK calculations, there could be a retirement housing gap of 160,000 retirement housing by 2030 if current trends continue. By 2050, the gap could grow to 376,000.

The ILC-UK also found that those in retirement housing are significantly more likely to be living in homes with adaptations than those who do not. Approximately 87% of those in retirement housing have home adaptations, by comparison to around 60% in other types of housing.

Therefore, as well as freeing up a range of properties throughout the housing market, downsizing in later life could help to ensure more people can stay in their homes for longer, reducing pressure on the residential care sector.

Surveys conducted by the ILC-UK have also found that there are several reasons why older people do not downsize. One is a supply problem; the lack of suitable housing on the market. Another is financial considerations in terms of moving; stamp duty can be a major barrier.

Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive, ILC-UK said:

'The Housing Minister is right to recognise that meeting the needs of last time buyers and encouraging downsizing is crucial to addressing the housing crisis. Downsizing can also ensure that older people live in properties that allow them to stay in their own homes for longer, and can release equity that can be used to fund social care in later live.

However, unless Government acts to encourage local authorities and developers to meet the needs of last time buyers, there could be a retirement housing gap of 160,000 retirement homes by 2030. If current trends continue, the gap could grow to 376,000 homes by 2050.

Local Authorities must have a duty to assess the needs of their older population when making housing plans, and ensure that these needs are met before plans are put in place.

Government should also consider what changes can be made to Stamp Duty to remove the perceived financial barrier of downsizing'.

Contact

Dave Eaton at ILC-UK davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk 02073400440 or 07531 164 886

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

Much of our work is directed at the highest levels of Government and the civil service, both in London and Brussels. We have a reputation as a respected think tank which works, often with key partners, to inform important decision-making processes.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.


Notes to Editors

Full references are available in The State of the Nation’s Housing. To produce The State of the Nation’s Housing, ILC-UK has analysed data available through wave 7 of the The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and data from the English Housing Survey. The report also incorporates analysis of other official data sets including those produced by ONS and Government Departments.

The State of the Nation’s Housing is available to download at http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/the_state_of_the_nations_housing_an_ilc_uk_factpack

Survey data is available in Generation Stuck: Exploring the reality of downsizing in later life, available to download at http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/generation_stuck_exploring_the_reality_of_downsizing_in_later_life

Press Release

For Immediate Release

21st December 2016

Struggling for a Christmas present for Nan? Take her for a meal or to the theatre.

A new report “The Missing £Billions” by the Internatonal Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) and supported by Anchor, Englands largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care for older people, hightlights how people aged over 75 are missing out on leisure and social activities they want to do, resulting in a big economic hit to local economies.

  • 1.2 million over 75s want to go to the cinema more often and 1.8 million over 75s want to eat out more often.
  • Over a million people aged 75+ would like to go more often to art galleries and museums.
  • Nearly 1.8 million people aged 75+ would like to go to the theatre more often.
  • Older women would like to go out more often than men, and especially to the theatre.

The research reveals that while only a tiny proportion (between 4.7% and 7.1%) of consumers aged over 50 engage in cultural activities, such as going to the cinema, theatre, and museums, at least once a month, between a third and a quarter of the 50+ would like to do more.

While six in ten consumers aged over 50 go out to eat at least once a month, roughly four in ten of this age group would like to eat out more often.

The new research, based on new analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing reveals that as we get older we spend less: for every year beyond the age of 55, average (equivalised) household expenditure on food and groceries, eating out, clothing, and leisure declines by approximately 1%.
  
Yet the barriers to spending aren’t just about money. As we get older, we are less likely to report that we don’t have enough money to meet our needs. When asked how often they have too little money to spend on their needs, almost six in ten (58.3%) people aged over 80 reply ‘Never’, as opposed to one in four 50-54 (25.2% of 50-54 year olds).

The report highlights how older consumers with health impairments or disabilities are spending less than those without such conditions
• Older people with a walking difficulty spend on average 14.5% less than those without such a disability.
• People aged 50+ with poor eyesight spend 9-10% less on leisure and eating out.

Living in a rural area has a mixed impact on spending. It is associated with 12.1% less spending on clothes and 7.8% less on leisure activities, regardless of age, income, health barriers, and having access to a car. By contrast, people living in rural areas spend on average 7.2% more on eating out than those who live in urban areas. Over half (56%) of people aged 75+ living in rural areas have no access to internet yet a lack of internet access is associated with 28% lower spending.

The research reveals there are significant economic benefits of having internet for people with a walking difficulty: while people aged 50-64 with a walking difficulty and no access to internet spend on average £215 a week on the four items mentioned before, people in the same age group with a walking difficulty who can shop online spend on average £286, that is up to £70 more.

Cesira Urzi Brancati, Research Fellow at ILC-UK said:

‘Older people who suffer from arthritis or have walking difficulties are at risk of being more isolated, because they can’t go out as much as they would like to. We must ensure that leisure activities are as accessible as possible; also, improving internet access may help some of us spend more money as we age’

Anchor is ‘Standing Up 4 Sitting Down' as it calls on shops and retailers to do their bit to reduce older people’s loneliness and subsequent health issues by providing adequate seating in store and on the high street. This follows findings that the economy risks losing up to £3.8 billion a year through a lack of accessibility for many older people.

Anchor’s Chief Executive, Jane Ashcroft, CBE, said:

“It’s unjust for older people not to have equal access to shops and leisure activities. This generation is often cut off from the online world, so it’s crucial we enable them to connect in other ways. Standing Up 4 Sitting Down calls for change that benefits everyone. For shops, providing seating is a great opportunity to boost footfall and spending. For older people, it offers the opportunity for important social contact to tackle loneliness, encourages physical exercise, and allows a generation the chance to live later life to its fullest.”

For more information about Standing Up 4 Sitting Down and to lend your support to the campaign, go to www.su4sd.org.uk, call 0800 731 2020 or follow us on twitter using #su4sd.

Contact
Dave Eaton: 02073400440 Davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk

Derya Filiz at Anchor: derya.filiz@anchor.org.uk

Notes

“The Missing £Billions” will be published on 21st December on the ILC-UK website.

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

ILC-UK gratefully acknowledge the Office for National Statistics, for collecting the Living Costs and Food Survey (2014), and NatCen for the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2014/15). Data were made available by the UK Data Service.

About Standing Up 4 Sitting Down

Anchor is calling on shops, retailers, shopping centres and high streets to pledge on su4sd.org.uk  to maintain or increase the number of seats they provide.

The campaign aims to:

  • Provide MPs, planners, businesses and the public with a better understanding about the challenges older people face on the high street
  • Encourage a change in practice that sees the provision of seating as the norm

Shops and retailers can back the campaign by signing up at http://www.su4sd.org.uk and applying for free window stickers.
Members of the public and MPs can support by encouraging local shops and retailers to sign up for Standing Up 4 Sitting Down and engaging in conversations online using #su4sd.

About Anchor

With almost 40,000 customers in 1,000 locations, Anchor is a charity and England’s largest not-for-profit provider of housing and care to older people. Anchor provides a range of services from rented and leasehold retirement properties to residential care homes, specialist dementia care homes and retirement villages.

Economic Insight by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), published following the Autumn Statement, paints a bleak picture for future pensioners. ILC-UK analysis reveals that:

  • By 2022, economic output per person will be over 25% smaller than we would have expected it to be before the crisis. This economic weakness has impacted on household finances.
  • Real wages will be £11,600 (or 31%) below what we would have expected them to be before the crisis. This has made it harder to save.
  • Bank Rate is expected to remain firmly in the zero lower bound, while returns on long dated government bonds are likely to remain at historically low levels. This means savings will not go as far.
  • The household savings ratio has been falling and is expected to remain low up to 2022. This is despite the continued roll out of automatic enrolment.

Ben Franklin, Head of Economics at ILC-UK said:

“The picture painted by the Autumn statement is bad economic news for savers, but this does not mean the Government should shy away from its long run objective of supporting private savings through automatic enrolment. Government needs to think carefully about how to square the circle and deliver increased savings alongside economic growth.”

ILC-UK Economic Insight “Autumn Statement 2016: What does it all mean for UK savings?” has been published on the ILC-UK website at www.ilcuk.org.uk

The ILC-UK Economic Insight has been supported by the ILC-UK Partners Programme. Members of ILC-UK Partners Programme include Anchor; Audley; Aviva; Centre for Ageing Better; Equiniti; EY; FirstPort; Hymans Robertson; Legal & General; Newcastle University Institute for Ageing; Partnership; Prudential. 


Ends

Contact: Dave Eaton: Davideaton@ilcuk.org.uk 020 7340 0440

The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change. We ask difficult questions and present new solutions to the challenges and opportunities of ageing. We undertake research and policy analysis and create a forum for debate and action.


The Rt Hon. Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the NHS Confederation and former Secretary of State for Health and former Chair of the Health Select Committee, and Dwayne Johnson, Director of Adult Social Care, Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council have agreed to join our fantastic list of speakers at the Future of Ageing conference.

Dr Margaret McCartney, GP, author and regular contributor on Radio 4’s Inside Health, will also present at the conference. Dr Islene Araujo de Carvalho of the Department of Ageing and Life Course at the World Health Organisation will also focus on health and care issues, taking a more global perspective.

Conference attendees will also hear from:

  • John Cridland CBE, Head of the Independent State Pension Age Review
  • John Pullinger CB, National Statistician, UK Statistics Authority
  • Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
  • Linda Woodall, Director of Life Insurance and Financial Advice, and sponsor of the Ageing Population project, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Jonathan Stevens, Senior Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP
  • David Sinclair, Director, International Longevity Centre - UK
  • The Rt Hon. the Lord Carey of Clifton, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2001

Join as at the Future of Ageing Conference on Wednesday, 9th November. Our Earlybird prices must end on 31st August, so sign up now to take advantage of this special discounted rate.

 

For Immediate Release

In an increasingly complex financial world, responsibility for financial decision-making is progressively being shifted onto the individual. Yet a new report, published by the International Longevity Centre UK, reveals we don’t know enough about how to help people be more financially savvy in their old age.

The end of compulsory annuitisation puts more responsibility on older people to actively manage their retirement income. For some older people, managing money in a digital world poses significant challenges. Others find the challenge of managing debt in old age worrisome. 

A number of studies have found that financial capability, defined as a person’s ability to manage money well, both day to day and through significant life events, is an essential prerequisite for sound financial decision-making. People with higher financial capability save and plan more for retirement, invest in the stock market and hold better differentiated portfolios, they choose cheaper mortgages, shop around for the best financial products and buy cheaper annuities. They are also less likely to be over-indebted and generally feel less anxious about their financial life.

Previous ILC-UK research has shown that of those aged over 55 with a private pension but not yet retired, only half understood what an annuity was “quite or very well”. Income drawdown was even less well understood. ILC-UK research has also revealed that older people have lower levels of numeracy than the young.

Yet, whilst there is a need to increase levels of financial capability among older people, a new review by the International Longevity Centre -UK (ILC-UK) finds that there isn’t enough evidence out there of what actually works.

‘What works? A review of the evidence on financial capability interventions and older people in retirement’ was commissioned by the Money Advice Service on behalf of the UK Financial Capability Strategy. The report carried out an extensive scoping review to establish which financial education programmes designed to improve financial capability amongst older people are effective.

The report examined different financial domains to determine which interventions were most successful in helping older people to manage their money and plan for later life. It found that while users of programmes designed improve money management generally report high levels of satisfaction and feeling more informed a lack of impact evaluation means that there is currently limited evidence of the impact of these programmes on financial behaviour.


Dr Cesira Urzì Brancati, Research Fellow, ILC-UK said:

“The world of money is becoming more complex and older people are more diverse in their experience and needs. Some older people need help understanding how to manage money. Others may need support with investments.

“We need to do all we can to reduce the risk of more older people becoming victims of scams or abuse. Helping people better understand and manage their money has to be part of the solution.

“But while there is a need to raise financial skills across our lives, our research reveals that we simply don’t adequately know how to best help people.”

David Haigh, Director of Financial Capability at the Money Advice Service, said:

“This report highlights how little we know about how best to improve the financial capability of older people.  Whilst there are a number of interventions targeted at older people, there is little reliable and robust evaluation of whether they are truly effective.

“That’s why the Money Advice Service recently announced the launch of the £7m What Works Fund.  This fund is explicitly designed to help organisations carry out a robust evaluation of interventions they are delivering to improve financial capability.  By learning more about what is really effective, we can seek to ensure resources and funding are focussed on interventions that really make a difference.

“Generally, research shows that older people are financially capable. However, they face challenges around low levels of digital literacy and lack of planning for long term care. Discovering what works and targeting effective interventions in these areas will ensure that older people are able to effectively manage their money throughout later life.”

Anna Dixon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, said:

"We know that financial security is an important aspect of a good later life. Building financial capability among older people as well as those approaching retirement is an important part of ensuring that people are able to manage their money in later life.

This report highlights the limited evidence on ‘what works’ to increase financial capabilities among older people in retirement. 12.2 million people are projected to face inadequate retirement incomes.

The Centre for Ageing Better wants more people to feel prepared for later life. We welcome the launch of the £7 million fund by MAS and look forward to the learning which will emerge.”


Notes
The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

Much of our work is directed at the highest levels of Government and the civil service, both in London and Brussels. We have a reputation as a respected think tank which works, often with key partners, to inform important decision-making processes.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.

ILC-UK publishes new analysis to feed into FCA and HM Treasury Financial Advice Market Review


Ensuring policy and practice raises confidence in the provision of advice is key to increasing uptake, argues the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK) in their submission to the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR).


The ILC-UK has undertaken new analysis of the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) (1) to feed into their submission. The analysis finds that:

 

  • Approximately 18.2 million people took out a financial product in the last two years, with nearly 3.1 million investing in risky assets.
  • Among the 43.5% who have taken out a financial product in the last two years, approximately 1 in 10 (11.2%) had been influenced by an Independent Financial Adviser. In terms of overall population, this is equivalent to approximately 2 million people.
  • Worryingly, 2.7 million people took out a financial product in the last two years without collecting any information at all.

The ILC-UK reveal that best buy comparison websites most influenced decisions about which product to take out, followed by information from providers.  In making product decisions:

  • 6.1 million people were influenced by “Best buy information, comparison website or shopped around a lot of different sources”;
  • Approximately 2 million were influenced by an “Independent Financial Adviser”;
  • Roughly 3.9 million were influenced by “Information collected from providers or providers websites”;
  • About 1.7 million were influenced by friends or family;

The ILC-UK analysis reveals that older (age 55+) consumers are significantly more likely to influenced by IFAs or providers, than by best buy information on websites.

Consumers who indicated IFAs as the most trustworthy source for retirement income advice, were significantly more likely to have been influenced by an IFA when choosing to take out a financial product.

Homeowners are also significantly more likely to be influenced by an IFA when choosing to take out a financial product. While only 1 in 16 renters (who have taken out a financial product) are likely to be influenced by an IFA, the proportion rises to 1 in 8 for homeowners.

There is greater awareness of the value of IFAs amongst those purchasing potentially risky investments. (2) ILC-UK find that the proportion of people influenced by IFAs doubles for people buying these products.

Consumers who are most financially able, i.e. those who report that they know exactly how much they have in their bank account, are also more likely to choose DIY financial solutions, by surfing best buy websites or shopping around.

The number of people not collecting any information or just relying on friends and family before taking out a financial product is large – about 4.4 million. Among them, older consumers (aged 75 plus) tend to be over-represented.

ILC-UK point out that those who are burdened by debt do not reach out. Among consumers who felt burdened by debt (approximately 17% of the sample), only about 1 in 8 (or 12.7%) received any advice at all to help them deal with their debts, and among them, 3 in 5 received advice from a free agency.

Cesira Urzì Brancati, Research fellow at the ILC-UK said:

The demand for independent financial advice is mainly driven by trust. We will not expand access to advice without action to raise trust in advice.

Sadly, advice too often does not reach those who need it the most. For some, however, overconfidence is an impediment to getting advice.

Making financial advice mandatory may not have good results. Experimental evidence from the US showed that unsolicited advice has no effect on investment behaviour – only those who want advice and ask for it will act accordingly.[1]

Our research highlights again the importance of Government and industry supporting a mid retirement financial health check. We need to ensure that people making important financial decisions in their 70s and beyond, get the support they need”.

On 1st December, the ILC-UK published Understanding Retirement Journeys, a report, supported by Prudential, which explored consumption in later life. In the report, ILC-UK called for the introduction of a mass market mid-retirement financial health check and financial advice. The Think Tank also called for the development of new rules of thumb to be built into the financial guidance process.(3)

Contact

Ben Franklin (benfranklin@ilcuk.org.uk) or Cesira Urzì Brancati (CesiraUrziBrancati@ilcuk.org.uk) at ILC-UK on 02073400440

Notes
1) The ILC-UK analysis takes advantage of the largest and most comprehensive source of information on income, wealth and assets in Great Britain, the Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS). The WAS is a longitudinal survey, which means that the same individuals are followed over time, and it is representative of all private households in Great Britain. For the purpose of our analyses, we focus on the latest wave, i.e. data collected between 2010 and 2012, and we keep only individuals aged 16+ who completed the entire interview. We are, therefore, left with a remarkably large sample of 37,601 observations.

2) By investments we mean an equity ISA, PEP, unit trust or investment trust, investment bond, stocks and shares or an endowment policy that was not linked to a mortgage.

3) See http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/news/news_posts/press_release_researcg_busts_the_myth_of_a_hedonistic_retiree_population
The ILC-UK response to the FCA and HM Treasury Financial Advice Market Review will be published on the ILC-UK website on 18th December 2015.
The International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK) is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. It develops ideas, undertakes research and creates a forum for debate.

 

The ILC-UK today urges mortgage providers to better understand, and respond to, the increasing numbers of retirees taking loans into retirement. 

Speaking at a conference organised by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the ILC-UK Director, David Sinclair urged the industry to ensure they do not discriminate on basis of age alone. Sinclair also urged older people to think very carefully before looking to “buy to let” to give them a return on their pension savings.

Sinclair welcomed the work being done by the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) on this topic and urged the industry body to continue to work with providers to ensure they are better equipped to respond to the challenges of demographic change.

Since 2010, both the number and percentage of mortgages extending into retirement has increased(1).

The ILC-UK presentation draws on five years of research into secured and unsecured debt published by the charity. It has been made available on the ILC-UK website (4).

In late 2013, ILC-UK published a report by the Personal Finance Research Centre on the mortgage debt of older households and the effect of age.

The report found (3):

  • One in five of all households (21 per cent) headed by someone aged 50 or over had outstanding mortgage borrowing on their main home in 2008-10. One in ten older households (65+) had outstanding mortgage borrowing on their main residence. 65-69 year old households with mortgage debt still owed on average £55,200.
  • 13 per cent of all older mortgaged households were struggling to repay their mortgage.
  • More than one third of those aged over 70 with outstanding borrowing had an unlinked interest only mortgage

ILC-UK research in 2014 revealed that the average housing wealth of retirees is £122,000 or £1.4tn in total (2).

While lending criteria has been tightened across the board as a consequence of first the credit crunch and then the MMR, ILC-UK argue that this may not fully explain the rising numbers of people who appear to be excluded from the mortgage market purely on the basis of age.

In his presentation, David Sinclair will argue that broader demographic trends, financial insecurity and public policy change is resulting in increasing numbers of us needing to take a mortgage into retirement.

Speaking at the conference, Sinclair urges older people to be aware of the risks of splashing their pension pot on buy to let properties. Sinclair points out that property investments can be risky and they do not guarantee returns.  ILC-UK analysis has shown that in the 1990s it took 50 quarters for inflation adjusted house prices to regain their losses in value. Outside the South East and London, UK house prices in many areas remain below inflation adjusted 2007 levels.

International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) Director, David Sinclair said:

“The industry and the regulatory environment have been seemingly struggling to respond to ageing and demographic change. We are, however, very pleased to see that the industry have begun to respond to these challenges through the important work being led by the CML.

We are living longer, our family structures are changing, we are marrying later and we are working longer.  At the same time, financial insecurity will result in more people needing to borrow more and later in life.

We should be particularly worried about those retirees with interest only mortgages but no linked investment.

Whilst the introduction of “pension freedoms” could be a boon to the buy to let sector, older people should make sure they take advice before making the jump.

With older people holding almost 1.4tn in wealth in their homes, equity release is going to be an attractive way of supplementing a pension for many.

The industry needs to ensure that the income poor asset rich pensioners are well served by this market. That said, the recent growth in the number of people aged 55-64 taking equity release is potentially very worrying.”

In the presentation, David Sinclair urges the industry to lend responsibly but not arbitrarily refuse loans on the basis of age alone. He also calls on the industry and Government to work to address the fear of borrowing faced by many income poor, asset rich customers.

Sinclair urges Government and industry to work together to ensure that individuals have access to advice. He also urges Government to push ahead with housebuilding plans to ensure that older people have more options to move to more appropriate homes. 

References
1) http://www.cml.org.uk/news/725/
2) From ELSA. Mayhew 2014. See http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/the_uk_equity_bank_towards_income_security_in_old_age
3) The mortgage debt of older households and the effect of age http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/the_mortgage_debt_of_older_households_and_the_effect_of_age
4) Available via the blog on the ILC-UK website and at http://www.slideshare.net/ilc-uk

Contact
David Sinclair at ILC-UK on 02073400440 or davidsinclair@ilcuk.org.uk

Notes
David Sinclair spoke today at the CML conference on “Pension tension: New thinking on lending into retirement” http://www.cml.org.uk/events/pension-tension-new-thinking-on-lending-into-retirement/

 

1.4 million older people face inadequate retirement incomes after pension freedoms day

  • 1.1 million people face inadequate incomes even if they choose to annuitise.
  • But this could rise to 1.4 million if all those with DC pensions blow their pots.
  • 850,000 people on the verge of retirement are particularly at risk of income shortfalls due to high concentration of wealth in DC savings and limited financial capability. 
  • Annuities should form part of a default retirement strategy. 

A major new report published by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) and sponsored by Aviva, provides the first detailed exploration of what certain choices made at the point of retirement today could mean for overall levels of retirement income over the next 30 years.

The report, “Here today, gone tomorrow” models the outcomes of four different approaches to using DC pension wealth: 1) annuitising, 2) blowing the pot on big ticket items, 3) putting everything into a savings account and 4) leaving the fund invested. It utilises data from the largest survey of the over 50s in England* and applies these approaches to different consumer segments aged 55-74. It finds that:

Even if all those approaching retirement were to annuitise, over half (1.1 million people) will not be able to secure an adequate income unless they use non-pension assets or receive additional benefits on top of the State Pension.

But in a scenario where the DC pot is used to buy big ticket items, an additional 350,000 people (1.4 million people in total) will not be able to secure an adequate income in retirement.

Putting everything in a savings account also risks people running out of money before they die. We project that for those years when people have savings to draw on, they achieve a replacement rate equivalent to two thirds of their pre-retirement income, but once their savings run out, they achieve an income of only half their pre-retirement income.

Given that people typically underestimate their life expectancy by upwards of four years, spending savings too early is a real possibility.

Leaving the fund invested also risks people running out of money before death as well as exposing individuals to substantial income volatility. Within a balanced fund of 60% bonds and 40% equities, we estimate that average annual income in retirement could range between £18,000 and £12,000 until the fund runs out.   

Not everyone will be equally affected by the choices they make. There are 850,000 individuals who are at high risk of seeing big income shortfalls from making particular decisions. Many of the individuals from this group have low levels of financial capability allied to a high concentration of financial wealth locked up in DC schemes.

For this group the report finds:

  • Blowing the pot would lead to a substantial fall in average projected replacement rates - from a replacement rate of almost 70% if they annuitise, to less than 40% if they blow the pot.
  • Putting everything into a savings account could result in substantial income falls at the end of life – from a replacement rate of over 60% when they have some savings to less than 40% when savings run out.
  • Keeping the fund invested could also result in substantial falls in income at the end of life for this group – from a replacement rate of over 70% when they can draw on the fund to less than 40% when the fund runs dry.

The report argues that “such income falls coming at the end of life could have disastrous implications resulting in individuals cutting back on expenditure just at a time when they may need it most – i.e. to maintain basic living standards as well as paying for long-term care”.

In response, the report argues that annuities must play a “key role in any future default strategy” given their clear benefits for those who will be highly reliant on their DC pots for retirement income. But the author’s argue that consumers must be appropriately forewarned that they will be auto-enrolled into the product and enrolment must not occur until the individual reaches State Pension age. 

On launching the report, ILC-UK Senior Research Fellow Ben Franklin said:

“While we do not advocate that everyone should take a particular course of action, our analysis clearly highlights the benefits of annuitising for those individuals who have a high concentration of wealth in DC savings. All other stylised choices risk significant falls in income during retirement. Annuities are generally misunderstood and the group who stand to lose the most from spending everything too early, also score relatively poorly on financial capability, making them particularly susceptible to poor decision making. Without the appropriate support including a new default strategy, these individuals could end up significantly worse-off in retirement”.

John Lawson, Head of Policy at Aviva added:

“6 April is just the start of the new regime and it’s important not to rush into any decisions.  We’d urge those starting to look into their retirement finances to take their time to shop around, take advice and consider all the options. We know people frequently underestimate their life expectancy and this research underlines how crucial it is to consider all your potential financial needs across the whole of your retirement, not just in the short term.”

THE AGE AUDIT: DELIVERING A BUSINESS RESPONSE TO AGEING

A new business “Age Audit”, published today, includes an 8-point action plan to support companies who want to respond to the challenges and opportunities of ageing.

The Age Audit has been published by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK), the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change as part of the ICAEW BusinessFutures project.

The Age Audit points out that unless businesses respond to ageing, UK plc faces significant fiscal and economic challenges. If the over 65s are unable to find employment, those who are in work will account for a diminishing proportion of the population. Tax revenue from those in work may fail to keep up with demand for social security from an increasingly large proportion of people aged over 65 and out of work.  Demographic change may mean that future economic growth may be dependent on either substantially increasing the productivity of those in work or the numbers of people over 65 in work rises.

The Age Audit reveals that:

  • The over 65s in the UK currently spend around £2.2 billion per week (£114 billion per annum) on goods and services. Assuming their weekly spending rises in line with annual inflation of 2%, they are likely to be spending over £6 billion per week (£312 billion per annum) by 2037 
  • From now until 2037, the 15-64 age group in the UK will, on average, grow by just 29,000 per annum. By contrast, the number of people aged 65 and over will rise by 278,000 on average each year.
  • Across more economically developed countries, the proportion aged 65 and over will rise from 16% to 26% and the proportion over 80 will rise from 4.3% to 10%.

ILC-UK argue that if businesses make the right decisions to support increasing flexibility in the workplace, to raise the health and wellbeing of the workforce, to counteract ageism and to embrace continuous learning, the concept of retirement as we think of it today will no longer have any use.

Launching the Age Audit, ILC-UK Chief Executive, Baroness Sally Greengross said: "Ageing poses both an opportunity and a threat to businesses around the world. With growth in the number of people aged 15-64 likely to slow over the coming decades, businesses will be forced to put emphasis on recruiting older talent and ensuring lower levels of “brain drain” from their organisations.

At the same time, consumption of goods and services by the over 65s is likely to grow at a faster rate than any other demographic group necessitating innovations in design and marketing to tap into the “grey pound”.

Businesses that anticipate and plan for these winds of change will be best prepared to flourish, while those that fail to prepare could struggle to survive and grow."

Charles Carter, ICAEW Director of Regions, added: “If businesses focus exclusively on the under 65s, they will be missing out on a vast and growing talent pool. Indeed, just to fill the likely number of vacancies over the next decade will make the employment of older people a necessity rather than a luxury.”

How businesses can respond to ageing: introducing the eight-point action plan

1.               Think strategically about ageing

2.               Deliver flexible working

3.               Become age neutral

4.              Support those with disabilities as well as the wider health and wellbeing of the  workforce 

5.               Embrace continuous learning 

6.               Support intergenerational fairness

7.               Help people afford a good retirement

8.               Tap into the “grey pound”

Ends

The Ready for Ageing Alliance today launches its manifesto for action entitled ‘Getting Ready for Ageing’.  The report calls on policymakers in Government and beyond to start engaging seriously with the trend towards longer lives, which is fundamentally changing our country and our world.

The Ready for Ageing Alliance was formed in 2013 following publication of the ‘Filkin report’  and its conclusion that we as a country were nowhere near ready for an ageing population. The aim of members Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Anchor, Carers UK; Centre for Policy on Ageing, the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILC-UK), Independent Age and Joseph Rowntree Foundation is to make the case for action to ensure that our society makes the most of our ageing population.

Our demography is changing significantly and quickly: by 2030 there will be 101 per cent more people aged 85 and over in England and 51 per cent more aged 65 and over, compared to 2010. Around one in three of all babies born in 2013 is expected to celebrate their 100th birthday. By the time of the next election, there will be 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. This will rise to over 1 million by 2051


The Ready for Ageing Alliance believes that the growing numbers of people in later life are a cause for real celebration but that we need to do a lot more to respond to both the challenges and the opportunities that longevity brings.

The manifesto sets out detailed recommendations for public policy covering housing; health & social care; the economy and communities and calls for Government to take the lead, with a single point of contact, at Cabinet level, responsible for age and ageing policy.

It also targets some big 'policy own goals' that sees us as a country currently hurtling in the wrong direction in terms of getting ready for ageing. For example, it says we must:

- Stop seeing ageing as being just about older people - if we wait until we are 60 or 70 to prepare we'll have left it too late. That's why the Alliance wants everyone to be sent a pack at 50 giving information and advice.

- End age discrimination – Legislation has gone some way to preventing discrimination on grounds of age but bizarrely financial services are exempt and hidden discrimination remains in many walks of life

- Stop operating hospitals on a model designed for the past – Staff/patient ratios on hospital wards for older patients are often lower than on general wards, yet older people often need more help - e.g. to eat and drink

- Stop undervaluing the over 65s, who currently spend a massive £2.2 billion a week and contribute £61billion to the economy through employment, icaring and volunteering.

- Stop ignoring the fact that many older workers are forced to leave the labour market early.  Start building more flexible work opportunities to make it possible for family members of all ages juggle work and care for older relatives.

 

Caroline Abrahams, spokesperson for the Ready for Ageing Alliance said:

“Last month we set out how individuals had a responsibility to prepare for ageing. But the responsibility does not lie with individuals alone. Government is failing to recognise and address the long term challenges of ageing. Unless we wake up to the major challenges ahead we run the risk of poorer, more isolated pensioners, greater intergenerational tensions and an economy which is not maximising the potential of the older consumer.

"Our politicians need to 'wake up’ and respond to our ageing population. There are so many opportunities to be had from an ageing society but without action now we will waste them."

"Longer lives are a great gift and Government must lead the way in getting us ready for ageing. There is no senior Ministerial post, dedicated unit or Cabinet Committee in place and never has been under any administration. We fear this reflects disinclination among policymakers to grip the issue and commit to action.

“We are hugely underprepared for an ageing population - the time to act is now.  In the run up to the election we want every political party setting out ambitious plans to prepare for the demographic changes facing the UK. At the very least we need to stop ageing being seen as just being about older people. We are all going to age and we all need to tackle these challenges.”


Contact: Liz Fairweather
Tel :0203 033 1718
Email: Liz.fairweather@ageuk.org.uk

Using data from the UK’s largest social survey, Understanding Society, new research reveals that people who are struggling to manage their finances in old age have eight times the odds of having reduced levels of mental wellbeing.

The new evidence is published today in a working paper published by the Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC) at the University of Bristol and the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK). The research has been produced as part of the ILC-UK and PFRC project on “financial wellbeing in older age” funded by the ESRC’s Secondary Data Analysis Initiative.

The new research reveals:

•  Compared to those who are living comfortably, those who say they are just getting by have double the odds of reporting lower levels of mental wellbeing, after controlling for all other factors.

•  However, this pales compared to those who are finding it very difficult to get by financially, who have almost eight times the odds of reporting reduced mental wellbeing compared to those who are living comfortably.

The research highlights a strong association between age and mental wellbeing:

•  While more than one-in-five of those aged 50-54 show worryingly low levels of mental wellbeing, this drops to 15 per cent of those aged 80 and above. However, the age group displaying the highest levels of positive mental wellbeing are those aged 70-74.

•  While just a quarter (26 per cent) of those aged between 50 and 54 feel that they are living comfortably, 40 per cent of those aged 80 and above report the same.

•  Only one per cent of those aged 80 and above feel that they are finding things very difficult financially, compared to five per cent of those aged 50-54, and three per cent of all respondents.

After controlling for the other factors, the research finds:

• Older women are more likely to show signs of reduced mental wellbeing than men (odds of 1.5).

• Older people who are divorced or separated have 1.2 times the odds of displaying poor levels of mental wellbeing, compared to those who are married or in a civil partnership.

• Those who live in a property with a mortgage have 1.2 times the odds of reporting lower levels of mental wellbeing.

• Older people who are unemployed have double the odds of reduced mental wellbeing, compared to those in full or part-time employment.

•  Retired people have 1.4 times the odds of having reduced levels of mental wellbeing, while the long-term sick or disabled have almost five times the odds of poor mental wellbeing (odds of 4.7).

•  People in rural areas have slightly lower odds of having reduced mental wellbeing than those in urban areas (odds of 0.9).

The author of the research, David Hayes, Research Associate, PFRC, said:

"This research supports the findings of other researchers that debt may be both a cause and consequence of mental health. However, the magnitude of the relationship that we uncover here is quite staggering. The research proves beyond all doubt how poor mental wellbeing and poor financial management are inextricably related, and has implications for policy in the fields of health and debt. Future work is now needed to unravel the nature of this complex relationship, to provide further material for policy makers in these areas."

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK added:

“This research confirms our suspicions that having low levels of mental wellbeing is very much associated with financial difficulties. We must ensure that people of all ages have access to the mental health support they need. Similarly we must ensure that everyone who needs it has access to support to help them manage their finances.”

Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive at the Centre for Mental Health commented:

"There is now clear evidence of the links between mental ill health and financial difficulties. People with mental health problems face a high risk of poverty and problem debt while people with financial problems are at risk of poor mental health. Both health and financial services need to be mindful of these links and ensure people get the expert support they need to manage their finances and their mental health together."

Almost ten per cent of older people do not have a current account according to new research by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), and Age UK.

Furthermore, the report, ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’ found that among older people surveyed in 2002 and 2008, fifteen per cent of older people did not report having a current account at both points – the latest date for which figures are available. Six per cent of older people who reported a current account in 2002 no longer did so in 2008.

The report also found that older people were most likely to become excluded from financial products.  Between 2002 and 2008, 9.3 per cent of people aged 80 plus became excluded from financial products compared to only 2.1 per cent of those aged 50-59.

Older people from ethnic minorities were more likely to be excluded from financial products, such as private pensions and life insurance. In 2008, the odds of an older person from an ethnic minority being excluded from financial products were three times higher than the odds of a white older person.

Dr Dylan Kneale, Head of Research at ILC-UK, said: “While reporting errors may account for part of this effect, the results nevertheless show a surprising degree of instability in the use of financial products by older people. There is a need for more research to understand how and why exclusion from financial products is changing over time”.

To produce the new report, ILC-UK analysed the most recently available data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), which was collected in 2008, and examined how patterns of social exclusion changed since 2002. Social exclusion was measured across seven domains including exclusion from social relationships, local amenities, financial products, civic activities and access to information, decent housing and public transport, cultural activities, and common consumer goods.

The report also found almost a third of older people either no longer reporting any life insurance (23%) or reporting that they had taken up life insurance (7%) between 2002 and 2008. Overall, there was a 9% decline from 2002 among older consumers of life insurance to 42.7% in 2008.

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications at ILC-UK, said: “This report shows that we should not be complacent about financial exclusion. Access to financial products is vital if broader social exclusion is to be tackled. The most disadvantaged are being hit hardest as a result of a lack of access to financial services and products”.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK, said, “This research suggests that older people have tried banking and perhaps sought access to other financial services and have found that they don’t work for them.  Many of these services are essential and so need to be designed with everyone in mind, including older people.

“Age UK hears from older people who want to use banking services, but can’t.  This can be because local banks have closed, call centres are inaccessible or simply because they find it very hard to get cash out.”

In the report, ILC-UK urges the development of initiatives and support programmes to encourage the development/uptake of financial products among disadvantaged older people.

NOTES

  1. The International Longevity Centre-UK is the leading think tank on longevity and demographic change. It is an independent, non-partisan think-tank dedicated to addressing issues of longevity, ageing and population change. We develop ideas, undertake research and create a forum for debate.
  2. The report, ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’, will be available on 19th September on the ILC-UK website at http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/is_social_exclusion_still_important_for_older_people Advan.ced copies are available for journalists.
  3. The report ‘Is social exclusion still important for older people?’, will be launched at a breakfast seminar on 19th September.
  4. Age UK is funding a three year research fellowship at the ILC-UK. This fellowship allows us to undertake important research on ageing and longevity. Through the research fellowship, ILC-UK will undertake a number of pieces of policy and research work in agreement with Age UK. The ILC-UK is most appreciative of this opportunity given by Age UK.

Contact:
David Sinclair, Jessica Watson, or Dylan Kneale on 02073400440 or 07531 164 886.

 

Despite their rising spending power, millions of older consumers are set to face difficulties when buying and using products this Christmas because of the restrictive design of many goods, retail spaces and services, a new report reveals.

Research by the International Longevity Centre (ILC-UK) for Age UK published today shows that while accounting for a growing slice of the nation’s purchasing power – nearly £100 billion a year – consumers aged 65-plus are facing design barriers at every stage of the shopping experience, from accessing money and shops to unwrapping and using goods. It also suggests that the lack of age-friendly products and services could help explain why older people with higher incomes are more likely than their younger counterparts to be among those spending the least.

By failing to listen to the needs and aspirations of this growing age group, companies could be missing out on a multi-million pound business opportunity, the report indicates. Previous research by Age UK showed that for nearly one in three over 65s hard-to-open packaging and poor design are the features most likely to put them off buying a product, but a new survey shows these barriers could alienate an even larger number of older consumers.

According to an Age UK/TNS poll, nearly half of over-65s can struggle to take lids or caps off products such as plastic milk bottles or jars because of the packaging (48%) and over half have difficulty reading the instructions on food products as the print is too small (54%). Despite being more likely to own a TV set than the rest of the population, one in ten over-65s say they can find it hard to use remote controls because of the small buttons (11%), while one in five say kitchen tools such as salad spinners, potato peelers and scissors are uncomfortable to use (20%). One in five over-65s also report having difficulty using a mobile phone because they are too small (20%).

Design barriers are found right at the start of the shopping experience, the survey shows. One in seven over-65s can find it hard to use cash machines because they cannot read the screen (14%), while nearly one in five admit to avoiding shopping on the High Street because of lack of public toilets (17%). When stopping for a restaurant meal, one in four over-65s struggle to read the menu in restaurants as the print is too small (25%).

However, sloppy design doesn’t affect just older people. Over one in six under-40s can struggle to open packaging (16%) while one in seven say they have problems reading instructions on food packaging (14%). This suggests that by embracing inclusive design businesses could improve their offering for consumers across the age range. Some companies have already risen to the challenge and launched inclusively-designed products including telephones with big buttons and simpler menus, kitchen and DIY tools with better grips and easier-to-use bathrooms. Wheeled suitcases and the new generation of motion-control game consoles are also great examples of inclusively-designed products which have proved popular with different age groups.

To influence and help the commercial sector to recognise and factor in the needs of older people, the charity is developing Age OK, an accreditation mark which demonstrates that a product has been designed inclusively.

ILC-UK also welcomes the announcement from the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts that the Government will fund Independence Matters, a project led by the Technology Strategy Board and the Design Council that will drive design-led, socially based technological innovations to help older people live active, fulfilling and independent lives.

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said:
“The consumer is king, we are told, but many in later life will feel they are relegated to a much humbler role in today’s marketplace. The attention the wider business world pays to them has lagged far behind their growing spending power.

“It’s time for businesses to wake up to the scale of the opportunity they are missing and for the Government to promote inclusive design by demanding accessibility and usability in the products and services they procure.”

David Sinclair, Head of Policy and Research at ILC-UK, author of the report, said
“This report highlights a big market failure. The fact that we have an ageing society is not a new one, yet far too many companies, big and small, seem blissfully unaware of the changes that are happening around them. There is a significant market advantage to be gained for those companies which will address the issues facing older consumers.”

Maggie Philbin, who as Tomorrow’s World presenter introduced the nation to then-futuristic now-everyday gadgets such as mobile phones and fax machines, is backing Age UK calls for more inclusive design. She said:
“Devising products and spaces that can make life easier and more comfortable for the largest number of people is the essence of industrial design. The challenge is now to convince the industry that age-proofing mainstream products will not only make life easier for many older people but will also offer them a tremendous business opportunity.”

Michael Wolff, designer expert and Government’s adviser on inclusive design, said:
“Age UK’s report makes an irrefutable case for inclusive design – design that takes account of everyone’s needs and desires. Ambitious businesses should make this a key priority if they want to reach the expanding older consumers’ market. For those in central or local government, it’s a loud wake up call to promote inclusive practice in the design of services and public spaces.”

You can download a copy of the Golden Economy report here.

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