Life expectancy declining: KPMG

Latest research from KPMG debunks the assumption that life expectancy is increasing when in fact it has contracted for the fourth consecutive year.

After analysing the mortality of UK retirees on defined benefit plans, the KPMG 2019 Pensions Accounting Survey found median life expectancy has fallen by 0.2 years for current pensioners and 0.1 years for future pensioners.

A current pensioner aged 65 for example, is expected to survive a further 21.9 years on average.

However, a future pensioner currently aged 45 is expected to live a further 23.4 years from the age of 65.

Using data from mortality research house Continuous Mortality Investigation Bureau, KPMG is now anticipating a "lost decade" of life expectancy improvements between 2009 and 2019.

Mortality assumptions remain key for pension schemes, KPMG said, as continuing research and new approaches to scheme-specific mortality studies allow companies to better quantify their longevity risk.

Defined benefits schemes dominate the UK pension system, comprising 81% of the market, according to Willis Towers Watson.

Such schemes are also popular in Japan (96%), Canada (95%) and the Netherlands (94%).

The Grattan Institute believes Australians can expect to live 82.5 years on average - a life expectancy longer than most countries like Sweden, Korea, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Japan takes the lead with the longest life expectancy.

Factoring in Australians' health-related issues, Grattan estimates life expectancy is reduced to 71.9 years.

Read more: KPMGGrattan InstituteWillis Towers Watson
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