The future seems a long way off, but the benefits of long term financial planning cannot be overstated; when it comes to investing, time is quite literally money.

Thanks to medical science and social advances, life expectancy has been growing steadily longer over the past 50 years. By 2018, the average 40-year old man could expect to live to 87, while for a woman it increases to age 89.

Yet, averages tell only one part of the story. You may be surprised to learn that the UK Office for National Statistics [ONS] tells us one in five [20%] of woman aged 55 today will live to celebrate their 100th birthday.

However, there is a downside too. The ageing population is putting increasing pressure on pension funds with the result that most employers are stopping final salary [DB] pension schemes that our parents’ generation enjoyed.

They are being replaced by defined contribution [DC] pension schemes, which as their name suggests, pay out on the basis of what was paid in.

The consequence of this significant change is that your pension in retirement may be lower and the lifestyle you will be able to enjoy will very likely be affected as a result.

This is not surprising when you consider that we can now expect to spend almost a quarter of our lives in retirement.

In 2018, according to the Central Statistics Office [CSO], only about 56% of Irish workers had additional pension arrangements other than the normal State pension.

This figure fell to 42% for those aged between 25 and 34. This is a significant problem because this age group are the ones who are the most likely to be affected by lower pensions in retirement.

The lesson is clear: to enjoy later life without financial pressures impacting your standard of living, you should act now and start a pension today.