‘Unbridled honesty pays’

The marketing manager for Nottingham-based Investment Sense said the first reason for such “unbridled honesty” is that someone who suffers from a medical condition - including many minor illnesses - could qualify for an enhanced annuity, which will give a higher income.

The second reason he gave was that a pensioner who does not relay his or her real height and weight, and how much he or she actually smokes and drinks, could find this secrecy has negative consequences when it comes to paying out - so it pays for an adviser to encourage them to reveal all.

For example, a man who only admits to smoking only five cigarettes a day could lose out on an additional £979 that he could have received if he had told the truth and owned up to smoking 20 each day.

Depending on his mortality rate, this could work out to more than £20,000 in additional income over his remaining life expectancy.

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Tony Larkins, managing director of Cambridgeshire-based Beacon Wealth Management, said: “Whereas many people spend much of their life lying about their height, weight, fictional exercise regime and bad habits, the time to actually come clean is when they are applying for an annuity.

“Basically, the worse physical condition you are in, the more warped your height-to-weight ratio. The more bad habits that you have, the more money you will be paid.”