A nasty epidemic called gerontophobia has Britain firmly in its grasp and is robbing young people of their ability to plan for old age, according to research commissioned by CIS.
The research looked into attitudes towards pensions and why more people do not plan for old age sooner. It reveals that 33 per cent of people aged 18 to 25 say the word pension makes them think of old age and the stereotypical images that go with it.
Of those, 17 per cent say these thoughts dissuade them from buying a pension.
Responding to the survey's findings, psychologist Dr David Lewis has offered six tips for escaping gerontophobia, including remembering that age is only a number and that what really matters is biological, psychological, intellectual and social ages.
He advises not to be taken in by myths such as the belief that mental powers fail as we age. We should also reject ageism, never say never, assert ourselves and anticipate change and not be caught out by it.
The survey questioned 697 adults aged between 18 and 25 in January.
Lewis says: “The UK is gripped by an epidemic of gerontophobia or an irrational terror of growing old. This arises, at least in part, from the primitive fears of ageing and death that underlie our obsession with youth and our denigration of age.”
CIS director of life and savings Martin Clarke says: “At a psychological level, a significant proportion of people are deterred from starting a pension because of the connotations that it has with old age.”