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Are retirees the silver lining?
4 November 2022
In the latest episode, Susannah and Sarah discuss businesses that are relying on retirees, who right now, have some of the most secure inflation-linked incomes. They speak to Helen Morrissey, our Senior Pensions and Retirement Analyst at HL. Sophie Lund-Yates talks about some of the listed companies hoping older people will be an engine of growth, and Emma Wall talks to Jim Leaviss, who's Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income at M&G and the editor of the Bond Vigilantes blog.
This podcast isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure what’s right for you, seek advice. Tax rules can change and benefits depend on personal circumstances.
Susannah Streeter: Hello and welcome to the Switch Your Money On podcast from Hargreaves Lansdown. I'm Susannah Streeter. I'm the Senior Investment and Markets Analyst at HL, and I'm with Sarah Coles, our Senior Personal Finance Analyst, but, Sarah, we're not alone this week, are we?
Sarah Coles: Well, in some ways, I hope you are because that broom cupboard is a very small place to be cramming any guests in. But no, joining us down the line is Helen Morrissey, our Senior Pensions and Retirement Analyst at HL because this week, we're talking about businesses that are relying on retirees, who right now, have some of the most secure inflation-linked incomes. Hi, Helen, welcome to the podcast. It's an interesting area, isn't it, because retirees haven't always been considered the most well-off, have they?
Helen Morrissey: Hi, yes, you're absolutely right. In decades past, there's been an awful lot of discussion around pensioner poverty, but while this is still part of the picture, partly as a result of a decade of the triple lock and partly because of inflation-linked final salary pensions, things have changed.
Susannah Streeter: They certainly have and with a knock-on impact for businesses targeting these groups, and that's what we're looking at this time around in an episode we're calling 'Are retirees the silver lining?' So, we'll be speaking to Erica Kritikides, who's a global product manager for Intrepid Travel, and Erica, she's on the line now from Australia, Erica, tell us, the older active people are a pretty vital part of your customer base, aren't they?
Erica Kritikides: Oh, they most certainly are, I think, even pre-Covid, we saw very strong bookings in the over-60s age bracket, but certainly since the pandemic, we are seeing those bookings bounce back, and it's unsurprising, these travellers wanting to take the plunge and explore the world again.
Sarah Coles: Absolutely, well, we look forward to catching up loads more in the podcast. We'll also be talking to Lead Equity Analyst, Sophie Lund-Yates, about some of the listed companies hoping older people will be an engine of growth. Hi, Sophie. It's a very mixed bag this week, isn't it?
Sophie Lund-Yates: Yes, absolutely. I'll be covering one of the best-known companies in this area, Saga, plus cruise operator, Carnival, and Zimmer Biomet, which most people would recognise as the manufacturer of Zimmer frames.
Susannah Streeter: Plenty of variety there and thanks, Sophie, we're looking forward to speaking to you and, as always, we'll hear from our Head of Investment Analysis and Research, Emma Wall, who'll be chatting to Jim Leaviss, who's Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income at M&G and the editor of the Bond Vigilantes blog, and you've heard a lot about Bond Vigilantes recently. We'll also have the quiz, of course, and Helen has promised to join in for what's bound to be her specialist subject, looking at some truly amazing facts about people of pensionable age.
Sarah Coles: I should warn you, Helen, don't be lulled into a false sense of security, just because you know loads about this subject. Susannah's questions are completely impossible.
Helen Morrissey: I'll brace myself for some very low-scoring rounds then.
Susannah Streeter: No, you never know. But before I subject you both to that, we should dig a bit deeper into the world of the so-called 'silver pound'. So, Helen, how have we seen the wealth of older generations shift in recent times?
Helen Morrissey: Thanks, Susannah. Well, we've seen some fairly significant shifts in pensioner incomes over the past 20 to 30 years. So between 1995 and 2021, we've seen average pensioner incomes increase hugely, from an average of £169 per week after housing costs, right up to £361. Now, this is largely because of improvements made to the state pension, as well as increasing incomes from occupational pension schemes, and it means that, on average, pensioners are wealthier than the younger working population.
Susannah Streeter: So, as you say, that owes a great deal to changes in the state pension, but can you explain a little bit about how that's been transformed?
Helen Morrissey: Yes, of course. So, most noticeably, the new state pension was introduced in 2016. It's less complicated, and designed to deliver a higher income to people than the basic state pension used to. So, if you hit state pension age after 2016, you can get a maximum state pension of £185.15 per week. Now, if you retired before that, under the basic state pension system, then the full state pension that you could get would be £144.85 per week. Now, some people were able to build up a bit more than this through the State Second Pension, but overall, people are getting more from the new state pension, and this is one key reason why younger pensioners tend to have higher incomes than older ones, and it also means that female pensioner incomes have also been on the rise. Now, another important aspect to state pensions is that over the past decade or so, they've been increased every year in line with what we call the triple lock. Now, this promises to uprate the state pension by whichever is the highest of 2.5%, inflation or average wages. Now, under this formula, pensioners should be in line to get a 10.1% boost to their pensions next year.
Sarah Coles: So, I suppose it's easy to see how the triple lock will have helped address this issue of pensioner poverty, because, of course, under the old system, pensioners could get really small annual increases, couldn't they? So, in some cases, they might get just a few pence, but it is fairly controversial, isn't it, and there are some question marks over whether it's coming back.
Helen Morrissey: Yes, absolutely. So, the state pension forms the backbone of most people's retirement income and there are many people who are still wholly reliant on it. So it does need to be robust. Now, some people think the triple lock has been an incredibly effective way of protecting the value of pensions. However, there are others that think it's too expensive for the taxpayer and that it needs to go.
Susannah Streeter: Of course, state pensions are just part of the picture, aren't they, for many people. Workplace pension schemes have done an awful lot as well, haven't they, to increase wealth among pensioners?
Helen Morrissey: They absolutely have, you know, income from occupational pensions has had a huge impact, with two-thirds of pensioners getting income from one in 2021. Now, this compares to just 57% in 1995. Now, final-salary pension schemes offer a promised level of income for life, which is usually also uprated in line with inflation. Now, this has really helped to boost pensioner incomes in recent years, and this means that that annual increases on offer can actually be higher than those received by working people. Now, these pensions, they're not offered that widely anymore, but we are still seeing a lot of pensioners retiring every year with them and they are forming an important part of their income.
Sarah Coles: Of course, there's a spending part of the equation, isn't there, as well because the mortgage may have been paid off, so more people are retiring today as home-owners compared to 30 years ago, which means more people are retiring without rent commitments and they don't have to worry about higher mortgage rates either.
Helen Morrissey: Yes, so all these things mean pensioner households may have more money to spare. The scrapping of the default retirement age also means that people can't be forced to leave work at pension age, so they can continue to keep working for as long as they are willing and able, and we have seen a surge in older workers remaining in the workforce. However, I do need to add some caveats to this. Not all pensioners are prospering, and there is evidence to suggest that pensioner poverty may be on the rise again. Now, I've mentioned how important occupational pension scheme wealth is to pensioners, but there will still be many people entering retirement who weren't lucky enough to have a final-salary scheme. Now, they may since have been auto-enrolled into a defined contribution scheme through the workplace, but for those who were a bit older when they were auto-enrolled, they don't have the benefits of that compound investing over time that their younger counterparts will have, and that means that they can go into retirement with little, if any, pension-scheme income. So, this group faces difficult times, especially during these times of high inflation. Now, added to this, rising house prices mean that people are climbing the housing ladder later, and so may still enter retirement with, you know, a mortgage still to pay, and this will eat into their spare income. This is why there's such a concern over whether the triple lock will be used next year. You know, there are lots and lots of pensioners out there banking on that 10.1% increase to help them make ends meet next year.
Susannah Streeter: So, it is hardly surprising that retirees are such a diverse group, but the fact that so many older people have more robust incomes also means they are vital customers for an awful lot of businesses at the moment. Well, we have one of those businesses in focus on the podcast today, Intrepid Travel, and let's bring Erica back in. We heard from her a little bit earlier. So, Erica, tell us a little bit more about your business.
Erica Kritikides: Well, Intrepid is the world's largest adventure travel company and we run small group tours in all seven continents. We've got cultural touring itineraries in around 100 countries, as well as camping safaris in Africa or cycling tours. We've got trips for parents and kids, food tours, the list goes on. Responsible travel's a really big part of what we do as well, and we're travel's largest B Corporation, and for those who aren't familiar with it, it's a certification for companies who care about their impact on people and the planet. We've been carbon-neutral since 2010 and our tours are really designed to have a positive impact on the people and the places we visit. So, we incorporate experiences, where we can, with social enterprises, community-based tourism and we also ensure that our supply chain is feeding back into that local economy. So we are supporting those communities that we're visiting.
Sarah Coles: How important then are active retirees for your business? I imagine they make up quite a large chunk.
Erica Kritikides: They do. I think, when people hear, 'Adventure travel,' they often think that it must be for younger travellers, but certainly, I think Intrepid really functions across that soft adventure space, through to the more adventurous tours. So, certainly, we do see very strong bookings in that 60-plus age bracket, of which a large proportion of those people are retirees, and they're really difficult to put in one box. You know, I've just mentioned a whole lot of different tour styles to you then, and we will see travellers, retirees and 60-plus travellers booking on all those different tours.
Sarah Coles: Are there particular parts of your business and types of tours that might be tailored particularly towards these groups or is it just, you know, that you just notice that they are a group of people who are keen to do this sort of travel?
Erica Kritikides: I've got a wonderful lady, who is actually from Surrey, and this lady is 77 years old. She was doing all the things she should be doing at 77, and she was downsizing her house and had prepared her will, and her daughter was taking a sabbatical and her lifetime dream was to do Everest base-camp and she turned around to her mother and said, 'Mum, would you like to come with me?' This lady, this incredible woman, said, 'Yes,' and she had six weeks to prepare. She joined a running club. She did resistance-band training. She did her tent-poles practice. Six weeks later, she said, 'I've done Everest base-camp.' So, I think you've got travellers like that, who are particularly adventurous and will still do some very active tours. Equally, we have just released a range of trips called Intrepid Premium and those are probably more traditional-style tours that we would expect for our 60-plus travellers, and we certainly have developed these trips with those people in mind. So four to four-and-a-half star, really focusing on those boutique, locally-owned properties. Travellers in this bracket value comfort. The transport, equally, is comfortable, we're talking first class trains, private transport.
The other important thing is around pacing. So, retirees particularly, we know they've got a bit more time to travel, to immerse themselves in these destinations, so we do have a slightly more relaxed pacing on those trips as well. But particularly for this traveller, they do tend to be well-travelled and they are very discerning, so we put a lot of effort into what we call Intrepid Exclusive Experiences. These are really when we dig in and find those, sort of, once-in-a-lifetime-type experiences, where we know that this will be very difficult for a traveller to access without those local networks that we can bring to the trip.
Susannah Streeter: Now, you talk about premium, but even so, how important is pricing for this group? I'm sure they're still, a lot of your customers, shopping around for the best deals, even among the most expensive destinations and hotels?
Erica Kritikides: I think that is such a good point. I think price is really key for these travellers. They are not looking for an expensive trip. They're looking for a really good-value trip. It's really just getting into those aspects of the trip where they place great value, so looking at things like the standard of accommodation, but particularly those experiences and transport, that, all combined into a package is where they're analysing, 'Is this the best value?' So, you're absolutely right, it's not about the most expensive, it's definitely about the best value.
Sarah Coles: The last few years have been difficult for all travel companies, but presumably the older traveller, there was, sort of, some hesitation about travelling. Has that really returned now?
Erica Kritikides: It certainly has been a very difficult few years in the travel industry, and I think, for many travellers in our older traveller demographic, they are really considering, you know, 'Is travel safe? Can I get back on the road again?' We are certainly seeing bookings come back strongly, but I think the big advantage of a group tour in this space is certainly that additional level of safety, reassurance, that you have. I mean, all of our tours are led by local leaders who know the destinations and I think that's much more attractive and a much more prominent part of people's decision-making for travel than it ever was, prior to the pandemic. So, I think, definitely, that is something that travellers are looking for.
Susannah Streeter: Well, thank you so much, Erica, it's been really fascinating to talk to you and delve a little bit deeper into the travel industry, and just what that particular portion of your customer-base wants. So thank you very much for joining us.
Erica Kritikides: Oh, thank you very much for having me.
Susannah Streeter: So, we can now bring in our Lead Equity Analyst, Sophie Lund-Yates, who's been focusing on listed companies in this area. So, Sophie, you've been looking at an insurer, you all know which one I'm going to say, how does Saga's business benefit, or otherwise, from the older generation?
Sophie Lund-Yates: Hi, Susannah, it had to be done. We all know that, for a long time, Saga's branding and really key messaging has been all around being an over-50s specialist. A lot of work has gone into making the group's image a bit slicker, and, ultimately, the main aim is still to create a so-called super-brand for older people in the UK. This is not a bad move, in my opinion. The thing that makes insurance really tricky is that, traditionally, there isn't really anything differentiating one provider from another, apart from price. That means customers aren't that loyal and margins are tough to inflate. Increased price transparency and ease-of-switching rules has made it even more difficult to stand out. Saga's efforts to be a bit different and specialise itself therefore makes sense, but I would say there are still challenges. On a reported basis, Saga experienced a loss of £257.5 million in the first half, and that's as it took a previously flagged goodwill impairment charge on insurance, which, essentially, reflects the outlook for margins on home and motor policies more competitively. Full-year guidance, profit guidance was also downgraded. Saga's seeing an increasing number of claims and I'm also worried that some of its marketing doesn't resonate with the younger end of its over-50s customer base. The travel division is currently burning cash but should, hopefully, return to profitability next year. The loyalty shown by current customers and the group's forward-booking position are reasonably encouraging for now. Ultimately, Saga is in a much better position than a few months ago, but its valuation has reduced to reflect the challenges. The suspended dividend means investors aren't being paid, to wait and see if performance can be turned around.
Susannah Streeter: So, that's Saga. Let's dig a bit deeper into cruises now. What's going on there?
Sophie Lund-Yates: Yes, a perhaps stereotypical, but prudent thing to discuss when looking at this demographic is cruise travel, and with that in mind, I've been looking at cruise company, Carnival. Now, I can't dress this one up. The group is in a very difficult situation. We heard in mid-October that the group's borrowed $2 billion through a bond offering, that used a dozen of its ships as collateral, as it works to refinance its huge debt pile, which it built up throughout the pandemic. A lack of travel, you know, hurt a lot of companies during lockdowns, but it was especially painful for cruises when customers stopped boarding. These ships have unfathomably high fixed costs, so even a small dip, let alone a total wipe-out of passengers, has terrible implications for cash-burn and profits. Now, this bond offering is Carnival's first time in the junk bond market since May, when an offering then really spooked the stock-market. Now, even as Carnival returns to the seas, profits are still hard to come by, although capacity is looking much better, advertising costs are ramping up and we're heading into a less popular time of year. So, longer-term reservations look promising, for both demand and pricing. We're also supportive of efforts to streamline operations. Smaller, less efficient ships are being cast aside and then permanent cost savings are being uncovered. There is more room for profit, thanks to the new leaner structure of the group, but the exact demand patterns are very hard to predict, and the tough financial position means that I'd advise caution.
Susannah Streeter: Yes, it's really hard to predict those patterns right now. So, Sophie, let's move on to healthcare now, and specifically a company in the business of, dare I say it, ageing healthcare.
Sophie Lund-Yates: Yes, a slightly more downbeat one here, but again, sensible to cover when looking at older groups. I've been looking at Zimmer Biomet, which, of course, became well-known for its Zimmer frames but is now a leading manufacturer and seller of orthopaedic reconstruction products, sports medicine, among other things. Now, the group has annual sales of $7.8 billion, with the bulk coming from the Americas, and knee and hip products are the frontrunners, in terms of product categories. I don't need to go into too much detail about how and why these sorts of products are going to be used, traditionally, by people over a certain age but I also think it's an area of growth potentially. As healthcare becomes more accessible, then we could see more people having these elective surgeries to increase their comfort. It is worth keeping in mind that Zimmer's debts, or at least part of it, is linked to interest rates. So, as these rise, so too do its debt obligations. Now, the group has a reasonable debt pile. I wouldn't say it's overly problematic at present, but it could be high enough to limit management's near-term focus.
Susannah Streeter: Okay, Sophie, thank you very much, some really interesting businesses there, and I should add that this is not advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any investment, no views given on the present or future value or price of any investment, and investors should form their own view on any proposed investment. If you are enjoying this podcast, please do let us know what you think and do subscribe, wherever you get your podcasts, you get a fresh, new episode in your inbox as soon as it's ready.
Sarah Coles: So, let's bring in Emma Wall now, our Head of Investment Analysis and Research here at HL. She's been speaking to Jim Leaviss, Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income at M&G and editor of the Bond Vigilantes blog.
Emma Wall: Hi, Jim.
Jim Leaviss: Hi, morning.
Emma Wall: We've had quite the month in bond markets. It seems to have settled down a little. I don't want to get too optimistic here because there's still quite a lot of uncertainty in the market, but before we look forward, can I take you back to what's happened, kind of, over the last month and why we've seen such volatility in the bond market?
Jim Leaviss: Two things are going on. There's a generalised global rise in inflation. So we know that, after Covid, we came out, there were supply bottlenecks, so it was hard to get hold of computer chips, and disruptions in food prices and things like that, together with the war in Ukraine, sent energy prices higher. So, in the UK, we're facing 10% inflation levels, and bond markets hate inflation because it erodes the coupons that you get paid, the interest that you get paid in the bonds, and also your capital value as well. So, to start with, bond markets were having a jittery 2022, and then, at the end of September, Liz Truss had become Prime Minister, there was a mini-Budget, in which there were lots and lots of tax cuts, and more than those tax cuts, which bond markets probably wouldn't have hated on their own, but they really disliked the fact that the government appeared to not be interested in the long-term sustainability of the UK's national debt. So, the government at the time, in that mini-Budget, refused to take advice from the Office of Budget Responsibility, and on the face of it, it would have led to the UK's debt burden, the amount that the government borrows and the gilt markets keeping going up and up for years to come, potentially.
So, the combination of those things led to gilt yields spiking. If you look at 30-year gilt yields, they hit 5%, having been at something like 3.5% before the Budget, and that led to some huge capital losses if you owned those long-dated gilts, and it led to a panic in the pension-fund market because pension funds are the biggest buyer of long-dated gilts and index-linked gilts issued by the UK government. As those prices fell, those pension funds got into difficulties, and at the end of the day, the Bank of England had to step in to intervene, to help support the gilt market and, you know, as we know, after that, the government fell, effectively. We now have a new Prime Minister, a new Chancellor and a new Budget, effectively, coming up later in November, which has already reversed lots of those tax cuts that we saw, and bond markets are in a much more stable place.
Emma Wall: Now, this podcast is focused on older investors and savers. Why are fixed income markets so much more key for that group of individuals, not just those who are in the state pension scheme, but also when you're running your own portfolio as you approach retirement?
Jim Leaviss: Many of your listeners will be going to get a state pension, that will be unaffected by all of this. People in defined-benefit schemes as well, there was a moment in September where the Bank of England was worried about some of those schemes but, at the end of the day, they were fundamentally sound and people needn't worry about them. I guess, for a lot of your listeners, people will be in defined-contribution schemes through a SIPP or something like that, where they might own a mixture of different assets. What we saw over the end of September was a big fall in gilt prices, and so if, as part of your defined-contribution schemes, you had funds or investments that had long-dated gilts or long-dated index-linked gilts in them, they will have fallen in price by, in some cases, 30%, and, obviously, that's an uncomfortable place for you to be if you're coming up to retirement. So, that's part of the puzzle. On the other side of the puzzle, I guess, if you were thinking about buying an annuity as you reach retirement, then some of the interest rates that you were able to get at the time would have been higher. But on the whole, we have seen a recovery in gilt markets now and corporate bond markets, which give you a higher yield than gilts.
Hopefully, the moment of worst distress for people who own long-dated gilts has passed. But I would say, as I've said before, that this year is not just about that mini-Budget and the issues there, it's also been about the risks around inflation, and inflation still remains high. That means that the Bank of England is still putting up interest rates and so are central banks in Europe and the United States, and that's keeping gilt yields higher than they would have been otherwise, and means that gilt prices are lower than they would have been otherwise.
Emma Wall: Now, obviously, nothing is guaranteed, but I'm going to ask you to get your crystal ball out and say your best guess of how long this continues, because I think that's a really key point, you know. The, sort of, extreme volatility of the last month perhaps is, hopefully, an event now behind us but that underlying double-digit inflation, some banks are predicting that this goes, you know, in double-digit or near double-digit, so high single-digits, for another six, nine, some even saying twelve months. I think the Bank of America's saying twelve months. So, how do you navigate fixed-income markets when that is the backdrop?
Jim Leaviss: I think the thing that's going to bring inflation down is inflation being high. So, inflation is high, which means that none of us have as much money to go and spend in restaurants or shops or on, you know, holidays and things like that. So, whilst inflation is high, economic growth will start to fall, and I think it will start to fall quite sharply as we go into 2023, as people simply don't have the money to do stuff. You know, if you're spending hundreds of pounds a month on your energy bills over the winter, you're unlikely to buy as many Christmas presents, have as many meals out as you would have done otherwise, and that's going to lead to lower economic growth in 2023. The markets think there is an 80% chance that the UK goes into recession next year, and I think I agree with that, and what a recession will mean is demand will fall and we'll end up with lower inflation rates. You know, a lot of the inflation we're experiencing is about supply bottlenecks. You know, if you want to buy a PlayStation 5, you won't be able to get hold of one, so you might go onto eBay and pay up more money than the recommended retail price. So, whilst supply is disrupted, prices can go higher. But if demand starts falling and people say, 'Well, I simply can't afford that PlayStation 5,' then prices will start coming down next year.
There's also something called base effects, which basically says, 'Well, if the petrol price has gone up by 50% this year from what it was a year ago, it needs to go up by another 50% next year just to keep the inflation rate where it is now,' and I don't think people expect that. You know, we don't expect an imminent end to the war in Ukraine and a resumption of cheaper energy prices, but nevertheless I don't think people expect oil prices to double and double and double again, and that means that, mathematically, inflation will start falling in 2023. So, a combination of that and the weakening demand situation in the global economy probably, I think, means that inflation comes down. Will it get back down to where central banks would like it to be, at 2% per year, rather than 10% a year, I think that's unlikely too. That feels that that's a long way away. But certainly, I think that central banks will start to relax a little bit if they see underlying inflation rates start to fall significantly in 2023, and that means, hopefully, that we'll see the peak in Bank of England interest rates in the middle of next year, and then they can stabilise and start coming down towards the end of 2023, with fingers crossed.
Emma Wall: Jim, thank you very much.
Jim Leaviss: Thank you.
Susannah Streeter: Well, that was Emma Wall talking to Jim Leaviss, Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income at M&G. Please bear in mind that these are the views of the fund manager and are not individual stock recommendations. You're listening to Switch Your Money On from Hargreaves Lansdown, and it's that moment you've all been waiting for, well, at least Helen has been, it's the fortnightly quiz, and Helen's back with us to lend us her expertise on pensioner power. So, are you ready, Sarah and Helen? We've talked about Saga and Carnival, we'll stick with cruises first.
Sarah Coles: Well, we're ready as we'll ever be.
Helen Morrissey: Yes, ready and raring to go.
Susannah Streeter: Okay. So, in 2021, what was the average age of a cruise-ship passenger from the UK? Was it 55, 65 or 75?
Sarah Coles: Ooh blimey, well I've always associated it with the retirees, so it can't be 55, unless everyone's literally cashing in their pension on day one. So, I think I would be tempted to go down the middle at 65. What do you think, Helen?
Helen Morrissey: That does sound sensible, although I'd have put it as even a bit older, given that that's still under state pension age.
Susannah Streeter: I'm sorry, you're both wrong, it was 55, and this has dropped back significantly from a year earlier, when it was 60, presumably because some older people are still not completely confident about this kind of holiday, now that we're living with Covid, so a really interesting drop in age there. But you still have a chance to claw it back. So, we know the state pension age is rising, but some people are in no hurry at all to retire. Fabio Sabion was awarded the title of the world's oldest working mechanic in May this year but how old was he, 84, 94 or 104?
Sarah Coles: Oh my word. Well, I did my back in recently and I struggled to inflate my own car tyres this weekend, so whichever one it is, it's hugely impressive.
Helen Morrissey: Well, I mean, an awful lot of people do work well past their mid-60s. In fact, in the UK, there are almost 1.5 million people working over the age of 65, so I'm going to go with 94.
Sarah Coles: Ooh, that's bold, I'm going to go with 84.
Susannah Streeter: Helen is right. In fact, he was 94.5, and the halves make all the difference at this age, doesn't it? It is a truly impressive age to be doing such physical work, isn't it? Okay, so next, we'll stick with impressive feats at a relatively advanced age. The world's oldest bride got married in 1991 in New South Wales, Australia. We should have had Erica here, shouldn't we, she might have heard about this one. But how old was she? Was she 82, 92 or 102, and I'll give you a bonus point if you guess which decade of his life her husband was in, too?
Sarah Coles: Oh, I have no idea. Helen, what do you think?
Helen Morrissey: Well, it's going to have to be a total guess from me too, I think. I'm going to go with 102 and I reckon her husband was probably in the same age range.
Sarah Coles: I'm not sure I'd have the energy to get married at 102, so I'm going to go with 92 and guess her husband was over 100.
Susannah Streeter: It's one point for Helen because actually Minnie Munro was 102 when she married Dudley Reid at Point Clare. But her husband was a good bit younger, at the sprightly age of 83. So, it seems you're never too old to be an old romantic. Actually, in 2019 in the UK, 308 women aged 80 or over and 774 men of the same age got married. There we go. Okay, finally, we go to this year's London Marathon. Can you guess the age of the oldest runner? Was he 79, 84 or 89?
Sarah Coles: Ah, well Helen is our resident marathon runner, so I'm going to lean heavily on your expertise. What do you think?
Helen Morrissey: Well, it is one of those sports that people can continue to do for a really long time, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was 89.
Sarah Coles: Okay, I'm going to go with your answer, I'll stay with 89 too.
Susannah Streeter: You're both right, it was Koichi Kitabatake from Japan, who was 89, and the youngest runner was Alex Horsley from Bournemouth who actually ran it on his eighteenth birthday.
Sarah Coles: I'm not sure my teenagers would do anything quite so healthy for their eighteenths. But thanks, Helen, and thanks so much for coming on the podcast with us.
Susannah Streeter: Come back soon. Well, that's all from us this time, but before we go, we do need to remind you that this was recorded on 31st October 2022 and all information was correct at the time of recording.
Sarah Coles: Nothing in this podcast is personal advice. You should seek advice if you're not sure what's right for you. Investments rise and fall in value, so you can get back less than you invest and past performance isn't a guide to the future. This hasn't been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is considered a marketing communication.
Susannah Streeter: Non-independent research is not subject to FCA rules prohibiting dealing ahead of research. However, HL has put controls in place, including dealing restrictions, physical and information barriers, to manage potential conflicts of interest presented by such dealing.
Sarah Coles: You can see our full non-independent research disclosure on our website for more information. So, all that's left is for me to thank our guests, Erica, Jim, Helen, Sophie, Emma and our producer, Elizabeth Hotson.
Susannah Streeter: Thanks very much for listening, goodbye.