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The three major mind shifts required to cope with longer lives

Old-Couple-Pension-Pensioners-Elderly-700x450.jpgPeople are living longer; a challenge for all sections of society. To deal with these challenges, new approaches will need to be taken by the state, individuals, employers and pension providers.

There are five key components to living a long, productive and fulfilling life: resilience to changes in employment and income; agility and being able to adapt to emerging opportunities; health and the prevention of illness and disease; financial capability; and flexibility.

These components relate to mind-set shifts that will be needed in response to increasing longevity.

Abraham Okusanya: The irresponsible absurdity of new longevity theories

The traditional understanding the current pension system, health and education systems and labour market are based on is a three stage life – education, work and retirement. The first shift should be one away from seeing that as the norm. There will be more changeability and overlap between these stages in the future.

The second shift should be towards more proactive thinking in relation to approaches to health, mental and physical abilities, work skills and overall wellness.

The third shift should be in terms of financial planning. I do not need to tell you that forward planning around the length of time people will work, the career paths they take and how people retire will be required.

Gregg McClymont: Just what is going on with life expectancy?

There will be a continuing emphasis on government, employers and community organisations helping the most vulnerable. Employers should give structured support to people to learn and develop the skills that mean they can be resilient, agile and flexible, adapting to changes in circumstances.

For those that do not have the option to work for longer and save more in a changing employment and retirement landscape, there will be an emphasis on safety nets, including means-tested benefits and social housing.

Thoughtful planning and support will help those living longer to experience happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives.

Priya Khambhaita is senior policy researcher at the Pensions Policy Institute

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