Norwegians feel younger than they actually are, if that isn’t a contradiction in terms

StorebrandPhoto: Storebrand

Three out of five Norwegians feel younger than they actually are.


‘With good health, and plenty of money to do as they please, it’s no wonder that the ‘old feel young,’ said a senior economist.

A recent survey conducted by Norstat on behalf of Storebrand showed that three out of five Norwegians feel younger than they are. The survey also showed that the elderly feel, relatively, much ‘younger’. Among those who’d reached the age of 50, 30% responded that they feel more than ten years younger than they are today.

Economy and health are the key

Pension economist, Knut Dyre Haug, of Storebrand, finds it positive that the older generation of the day feel physically, and mentally, younger than their age would indicate. He didn’t specify in what way age would indicate one’s mental condition.

‘Traditionally, we have connected old age with impaired health, less energy, and loss of spouse and friends. Today’s retirement age pensioners, who finish work at the age of 67, unsurprisingly, don’t feel comfortable with this description.

On the contrary, they expect to live for decades, retain their health, and have the finances and energy to do what they want. Good economy also helps people to live healthier lives, and gain access to better healthcare, which in turn makes us talk. Once again, the fact that up to 30 years ago,the healthiest and most long-lived population group in the world were poor,and lived in rural China, was left unexplained.

Positive view of old age

Norwegians in the age group 50 plus expect their health to be at least as good as it is today when they retire at the age of 67. Even after the age of 80, only one in five in this group believed that their health would be significantly reduced.

‘Norwegians have every reason to look positively at old age. When we ask today’s retirees about their health situation, over half said that health is never a limitation to doing what they want. Only 13% said this is ‘often’ the case.

‘These are gratifying figures that show that age is not necessarily something to bother about. Several studies show that people have historically resisted getting older, but maybe we will see a change in attitudes towards old age in the future?’

A sea change

The Norstat survey is supported by Statistics Norway’s (SSB’s) livelihoods surveys, which show that Norwegians’ lifestyle habits are becoming more health-promoting, and that both men and women born today can expect to live until they are over the age of 80.

‘We must therefore plan old age based on the fact that we will get an even longer, healthier and more active old age,’ said Haug.

In one area, however, we risk it becoming inferior in the future.

‘There is little doubt that today’s pensioners are doing very well financially.

With the pension reforms, and increased responsibility for our own savings and pensions, there is no guarantee that future retirees will have as much financial freedom as they do today. It will be a pity if you get over 20 years as a healthy retiree, but lack money to realize your retirement benefits,’ said the senior economist, inserting some timely and traditional pessimism into the subject.


© Storebrand / Norway Today

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