When asked how much we drink, people frequently lie.
In fact, a study by UCL found that there was a huge discrepancy between what we say we drink and the actual amount of alcohol sold in the UK.
“Currently we don’t know who consumes almost half of all the alcohol sold in England," said Sadie Boniface, lead author of the study at UCL.
The same tends to go for smokers – with trust in people’s honesty around it so low that former smokers in Hertfordshire are set to be breathalysed to make sure they really have stopped before they are referred for non-urgent surgery.
But there is one time when it makes sense to tell the full – unadulterated – truth.
“After decades of being told that you’ll pay a heavy price for bad habits like smoking or drinking, when you retire, you’ll actually be rewarded for them," Sarah Coles, Hargreaves Lansdown personal finance analyst, told Mirror Money.
That’s because some retirement packages – where you swap your savings for a guaranteed income every year for life – pay out more to people who drink and smoke.
"You’ll get up to a third more income than someone who has lived on a diet of fresh air and green tea,” Coles said.
How to prepare for retirement
How much extra you’ll get
Figures from Hargreaves Lansdown show you can get 30% more money from your pension if you smoke and drink enough.
If you have a pension worth £100,000 and don’t smoke or drink, a 65-year-old man could get an annual income of £5,497.
If that man drank 56 units of alcohol a week (3 pints of strong beer or large glasses of wine a day), plus 40 cigarettes a day that leaps to £7,172 – 30% more and an extra £1,675 every year for life.
Drinking boost – how much extra you get
Smoking boost – how much extra you get
But it’s not quite all good news.
"Companies offer you an income for life based on how long you’re expected to live," Coles said.
"They’ll pay you more each year because they think your habits will shorten your retirement by up to a third.
"Then, of course, there’s the cost of all these vices, which are taxed to the max. It means you’re likely to spend far more on drinking and smoking than you’ll get in extra income.”
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