How ageing affects the way we make decisions.

Around the world, people are living longer than ever before, with a recent report from Public Health England revealing that the average 65-year-old man can expect to live another 19 years, while a 65-year-old woman has got a further 21 years to play with.

As the population is ageing, people are working longer, with many older people continuing their high-powered careers late into life. Indeed, in the latest Fortune 500 Index, the average age for a CEO was shown to be 57 years-old, with some of the oldest CEOs in their 70s and 80s.

Older people are also serving as heads of state well into old age. Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 90 in April, still plays an active role in the UK’s state affairs. While US presidents must be at least 35-years-old, most elected are at a much older age. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was elected, and is the oldest US president on record. And it looks like a trend that is set to continue, with Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton at 68, and Republican nominee Donald Trump a couple of years older at 70.

At all ages whether at work or in our personal lives, we have to make decisions on a regular basis. Some decisions will be easier than others. As people tend to get older, decisions about topics such as health and retirement – or how to run the country in the case of the Queen – can be a bit more challenging.

The difficult decisions we make later in life are often important and can impact our lives substantially – meaning there may be fewer opportunities to recover from any bad decisions we make.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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