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Approaching our later years positively

It's time to put a positive spin on getting older.

Alan Innes,

Partner at Pagan Osborne, said:

Most of us know that we have an ageing population in Scotland.  The impact that this is likely to have on society is not as cut and dry as some people would appear to think.
We regularly hear that the sheer number of older people in Scotland will put a huge strain on public finances and that social care, health costs, not to mention the cost of pensions will have a detrimental effect on the country’s bank balance.  In 2011, the census showed that over 65s had increased by some 85,000.  The over 80s category was up by 19% to 230,000 people.  There are calls for a fresh look at how to pay for these services going forward.  When having this debate though, I think it’s of utmost importance to look at the bigger picture.  Older people make a huge contribution to society.
Yes, we are an ageing population.  This may be down to changes in lifestyle, medical breakthroughs and less poverty than, say 50 years ago.  Rather than seeing it as a problem, it is something we should be seeing as a positive.  It is fantastic news that people are living longer.
The Finance Secretary, John Swinney was speaking recently about the elderly and their impact on society as a whole.  He touched on some very relevant points.
Without our older people, many community groups, charities and voluntary organisations would simply disappear.  Figures from Volunteer Development Scotland suggest that 30% of those aged 65-74 regularly do some form of volunteering.  Volunteering in Scotland contributed an estimated £2.5 billion to the economy.  If this sector didn’t exist, either the money would have to be found from the public purse, or many of the charitable organisations, who rely on volunteers, would fold.
We also need to remember that one in four people between 65 and 74 are still working. They are still paying tax, working hard and trying to leave a legacy for loved ones.
Care for the elderly should not be seen as an inconvenience.  It should be available for all, discussed openly and honestly and planned for.  After all, we are all getting older.
Being 65 is not old these days and as the debate rumbles on as to what the country can and cannot afford, my advice to anyone approaching this milestone age is to look upon it positively.  There are certain things you can do to take control and give confidence in later life.
Releasing equity, through downsizing or making or updating a Will, will ensure that your wishes are recorded to provide for those closest to you.  Combining this with an inheritance tax review makes sure all reliefs and allowances are taken advantage of and ultimately leaves more money for loved ones.  Rescue remedies including powers of attorney and ensuring that all paperwork is in order and even practical things such as recording where items are saved (bank safe deposit boxes or house safe in the attic) are all measures which can be taken to ensure peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your later years, whatever the politicians bring.


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