Demographic strategy: the cost of unhealthy living
Raising the retirement age can help with the fiscal costs of living longer. But our unhealthy lives could force us to look at other options.
In theory, raising the retirement age is the bluntest tool available for curtailing fiscal pressures. In reality, unhealthy lifestyles may make this unachievable and unfair.
We’ve become used to rising life expectancy, yet lately statistics seem to show that the rate of improvement has slowed. What is more, our increasingly unhealthy lifestyles may be responsible. What challenges does this pose to policymakers and how can they tackle this trap?
Can humans live forever?
Humanity has experienced an exceptional revolution in the last century, with life expectancy rising near continuously to levels longer than ever experienced in human history. In recent years, however, the quest to live forever has suffered an abrupt setback the rate of improvement in life expectancy in countries like the US and UK has consistently slowed (see our blog Will our children live longer than us?). Since around 2011, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries has noted a decline in the rate of mortality improvement, with current rates of improvement the lowest observed since the data set was first estimated in 1977.
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