As we approach retirement, many of us are asking “how long will I live?” This question has both emotional and practical consequences. On an emotional level, many of us are searching for new meaning in our lives, now that our kids have left the house. On a practical level, we want to know approximately how many years we have left so that we can make sure that we are financially prepared for the decades ahead.
Are you preparing for life in your 70s, 80s or even 90s? Well, according to data from the Social Security Administration, presented by J.P. Morgan, you should take these questions very seriously indeed.
According to J.P. Morgan’s 2015 “Guide to Retirement,” if you are a 65-year-old woman, you have a 54% chance of living to age 85 or beyond. In addition, if you and your spouse are both 65, there is a 47% chance that at least one of you will live to age 90 or beyond.
If you are in your 50s or 60s, the fact that you probably have 30 years or more to live is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, having so much time ahead of us will provide plenty of opportunities to explore our passions. On the other hand, we will have to be extremely careful how we manage our money, health and happiness in the coming decades.
This is especially true when you consider the fact that many of the current life-expectancy estimates may be conservative.
Most estimated do not take into account the major advances in biotechnology, medicine, nanotechnology and genetics that are going to appear in the coming decades.
Baby boomers are the richest generation in the history of the planet. As a result, companies have a major incentive to invest in true anti-aging research. I’m not talking about creams and potions here. Companies like Google are investing billions of dollars to find cures to common diseases and “cure death.”
If you are asking yourself “how long will I live”, I suggest using the life-expectancy numbers from the Social Security Administration as a minimum. With advances in science, you may live much longer.
“Living too long” is a problem that was practically unimaginable a few generations ago. Now, it is one of the most important challenges facing baby boomers. Financial institutions talk a lot about how much money you need to save for retirement, but, there are so many other things that you can do to prepare.
For example, investing in your health is one of the best ways to increase your happiness, while reducing your potential costs in retirement. The way we treat our bodies now has major implications for our future. For example, a recent study found that many of the advances that our generation has seen in terms of wealth and medicine are being countered by the fact that we can’t control our weight. We need to do better.
In addition, for most people, retiring in comfort on our savings is not realistic. We should continue to save, but, we should also look for ways to make additional money in our 60s and 70s. This could involve working part-time, doing consulting work or starting a business. We need a new way of looking at retirement.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please join the conversation.
What do you think we can do today so that we have the best chance of being healthy and happy at age 90? What steps are you taking to improve your physical and financial health, given the fact that you probably have 30 or more years to live?
Tags Healthy Aging