By Garry Young of the Bank's Domestic Finance Division.
This article argues that overall living standards in the United Kingdom are set to double over the next 50 years alongside a sharp increase in the proportion of people over retirement age. While there are clear risks to this outlook, these would be present even without demographic change. Nevertheless an ageing population does appear to increase the risks to the financial welfare of individuals, especially in their old age. If people living longer do not save more when they are working, then either they have to consume less in their old age or work for longer than would have been the case had greater provision been made for retirement. This risk is heightened by general uncertainty about asset returns which becomes more important as the number of people reliant on private pensions increases.