What's your life expectancy?

Back in 1981 that figure was just 2,420. Going back to 1901 you'd have been lucky to even hit your half-century, with an average life expectancy of 45 for men and 49 for women.

However, looking forward a baby girl born in 2011 has a one in three chance of living until she is 100, while for boys the odds are slightly lower at one in four.

One of the most significant influences on your own life expectancy will be your state of health and lifestyle, but where you live can impact too. According to the ONS there is a clear north/south divide, with southerners tending to outlive northerners. Its research found that between 2010 and 2012, life expectancy for males was highest in East Dorset at 82.9 years and lowest in Blackpool at 74 years.

For females life expectancy at birth was highest in Purbeck at 86.6 years and lowest in Manchester at 79.5 years.

Find out your life expectancy

Between 2012 and 2032 the Kings Fund think tank predicts that the number of people aged between 65 and 84 will increase by 39%, while the number of 85 pluses will soar by 106%. By contrast the number of children aged up to 14 will increase by just 11%, while the number of people aged 14 to 64 will increase by an even smaller 7%.

An ageing population

The problems posed by our ageing population have been well documented - fewer people of working age and more people in retirement spells tax increases and puts enormous pressure on the welfare state and the NHS.

But increased life expectancy isn't just a challenge for policymakers, it can pose challenges for individuals too, as pensions specialist Dr Ros Altmann explains: "Over the years, life expectancy has been rising which is fantastic news. With all the developments in healthcare, medicine and working practices, people are living longer and staying healthier, being able to live well with illnesses that people used to be disabled by or die of. But that means retirement is lasting longer too - so your pension savings have to cover you for many more years than you might have expected when you started."

Delayed retirement

The reality for savers going forward is that they will have to save longer and harder and or delay their retirement. The government has already signalled that it expects people to work beyond 65 with its moves to bring the state pension age back to 68 by between 2044 and 1046.

This might make for bleak reading, but the good news is that in recognising that a problem exists you are on your way to tackling it and the sooner you can get cracking the better.

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