The Evolution of Life Expectancy and Its Impact on Pensions

In the year 1900, the average life expectancy for men was 44 and women 48. Fast forward to 2023, and that has almost doubled to 78.6 for males and 82.6 for females. So in some ways I have some ‘sympathy’ for the state, in managing pensions and healthcare budgets, with people living almost twice as long within 130 years creating a huge shortfall in funds.

The Financial Strain on the UK Pension System

The 2023 state pension deficit in the UK alone is over £300 billion. The NHS was under-funded by over £30 billion as of 2023, despite still being budgeted almost £200 billion a year in tax revenue. The stats are concerning at best, shocking at worst:

- Only 1 in 4 workers are set to retire on a pension greater than half their salary (not adjusted for inflation).
- This means that 3 out of 4 workers will retire on half their salary or less and, 1 in 2 workers will retire on less than 40% of their final salary (not adjusted for inflation).
- In 2016 the UK government admitted that fewer than half the pensioners would receive the ‘full’ £150 flat rate from the state pension.
- This means an inevitable increase in taxes. In addition to income tax which can be up to half your salary, there is National Insurance for both the employer and the employee. As the deficit increases, so must the taxes.
- Inflexibility: you can't get hold of your cash until you're in your 50’s, or 60s, or 70s. The UK state pension age is moving closer and closer to 70.
- Capped payout. The amounts paid out by the state pension are paltry and I have no idea how people can live on £134.25 a week, which was the UK figure in 2020 (which has gone down a third relatively with inflation since then).

The Promise and Pitfalls of Private and Company Pensions

There is of course an option to take out a private pension or a company pension. These schemes offer some tax breaks, but a private pension scheme isn’t capped.

The state pension scheme isn’t supposed to be a profit making venture, but I am sceptical. Some companies or self-invested pension programmes allow you to invest the money, which I would personally much prefer, because I am even more sceptical of the profit motive of private pension funds. They are private corporations, so of course they are for profit.

On the face of it, a yearly 1.5% management charge may not seem like a lot, but compound that over 25 years and you could have 38% of your pension gobbled up in fees. This is regardless of the performance of your pension, which is not guaranteed to go up.

- Once you draw your pension, inflation starts to eat away at it fast
- You can’t access it until you are old
- The pension dies when you die (no inter-generational wealth)
- There is no leverage (for you) on your money in a pension
- You are capped on your tax relief

Crafting Your Own Pension Strategy

In 2006, I made one of the best decisions of my life, and that was to build my own pension.
Not state, not private, but personal. The Rob Moore pension programme.

In my book Money, I wrote how important it is to be your own IFA. People have ‘Independent’ Financial Advisors, because of their own ignorance. My Dad always said to me that ‘ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s ignorance’.

Ignorance is very expensive. You ‘invest’ in a state or private pension, because you are ignorant of the ways to do it yourself. Now, if you have worked in the public sector, which I have not, you might want to take advantage of your state pension. You can do this, and build a personal pension. If you invest in your own, personal pension, then here are the rules:

- Whatever YOU decide
- Draw income whenever you want wherever you want
- Invest wherever you want
- No management fees
- Pass on to your family when you die
- Beat inflation
- Get bigger and bigger over time, not capped
- Can use leverage to grow vast wealth

The above factors are vital for you to be able to grow your personal wealth.

The Power of Personal Investment

So back in 2006, my business partner and I started to build our own pension by investing personally into property. It took less than a decade to build generational wealth and a potential retirement in my mid 30s thanks to my private property portfolio. In the next 10 years this portfolio built intergenerational wealth, in my 40s. In my 50s this will be a 9 figure portfolio, kicking out an 8 figure income stream.

The point is, invest in your own pension, in your own assets, that you fully own and can fully control. Had I been paying into a state or private pension instead of my own, I’d probably not even be halfway into paying into something that would end up only paying me tens of thousands a year in my 60s or 70s. It took me around 3 to 5 years to achieve that personally.

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