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Individual mortality expectations

David Sturrock, Cormac O'Dea and Gemma Tetlow

Using data from ELSA, we document a pattern whereby individuals report a lower probability of survival to the ages of 75, 80 and 85 than is given by official life table estimates. We use this information to construct "subjective survival curves" at the individual level. We demonstrate that "survival pessimism" is a potential explanation for the "annuities puzzle" and also explore implications for other economic behaviour including deferal of the state pension and decumulation of wealth in retirement.