Want long life? Head to Monaragala or Hambantota!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

It is a well-known fact that Sri Lanka’s population is ageing rapidly. In fact, Sri Lankans over 60 years of age comprise 9% of the population, but in 30 years from now the number is estimated to reach 25%.  An interesting point to explore is, where in Sri Lanka do people live the longest? Does the location have a correlation to longevity?  Apparently it does – or so it seems. The best places to live if you want to live to a ripe old age are Monaragala and Hambantota Districts where a man’s life expectancy reaches 75.2 and 76.9 years respectively, according to insurance giant AIA Sri Lanka. It’s even better for women, reaching 80.5 years in Monaragala and 82.3 in Hambantota. In contrast, life expectancy dwindles to 61.9 years in the Colombo District, which is among the lowest for men and only 71.9 years for women. (Source: Dept of Census & Statistics – Life expectancy at birth by district and sex)  These statistics serve to establish that geographical location, environment and lifestyle can in fact significantly impact life expectancy. AIA said, however, with more people living longer irrespective of where they reside, there emerges a definite need to prevent poverty in old age through an effective pension scheme. While not all people are entitled to a pension upon retirement, a considerable number of employees, businessmen and entrepreneurs procrastinate on planning for post-retirement financial security. A majority of them either ignore the imminent need or are unaware of the importance of planning ahead to ensure a comfortable retirement. Most private sector employees assume that their EPF, ETF and accumulated income savings will be sufficient for a comfortable retirement when in reality you may need much more than that. That is why AIA introduced its comprehensive pensions solution, so that everyone, regardless of whether it is a businessman, entrepreneur, public or private sector employee, can benefit. The main benefit of this solution is founded on providing the policyholder a pension from the point of retirement, for a period of his/her choice.  Another key benefit of the product is that it also provides the assurance of a continued pension for dependants, even after the demise of the insured. i.e., in the unfortunate event of the death of the insured, the company continues to deposit the premium, so that their family will receive the pension upon policy maturity, in addition to the lump sum benefit at the point of passing away. AIA’s Head of Marketing Suren Perera commented: “Based on recent research studies a significant pension gap has been identified worldwide. What we mean by this pension gap is the disparity between the level of pension provision people are set to receive after retirement and the level of pension they need at retirement. This pension gap raises significant challenges to all countries worldwide, including Sri Lanka.” He added: “Most importantly, there is a need to raise people’s awareness that they should start saving more and earlier. Individuals will need to take greater responsibility for their own retirement.”