Exponential increases in longevity could disrupt the status quo and force an even greater need for reliable retirement income.
Living to 100 is fun to ponder in the sense winning the lottery or traveling to outer space can be, only with a somewhat better chance of occurring. Most people seem to view the notion favorably as long as it’s accompanied by reasonably good health, wellness and vitality.
The exciting news is that living to a healthy age of a century or more could soon become commonplace, presenting new opportunities to further reimagine how we plan for and enjoy retirement — and new implications for how we pay for it.
Currently, about one in every 5,000 people in the United states is a centenarian and 85% are women.1 Although membership in this population segment remains rare, it’s second in growth only to the over-85 set, the world’s fastest-growing age group.2
While genetics certainly play a role in who lives longer, so do health behaviors such as managing stress well, eating right, exercising regularly and avoiding smoking.3 This is according to Thomas Perls, professor of geriatrics at Boston University’s School of Medicine and director of the college’s New England Centenarian Study, the largest study of its kind in the world.4
100 Could Become the New 70 Within the Next Decade
Perls emphasizes the importance of personal health and health habits on longevity.5 He estimates that living to 90 involves roughly 70% health behaviors and 30% genetics6 but notes by the age of 110, it’s more the opposite — or 70% genetic.7 Heredity aside, some aging experts believe modern advances in the science of aging have brought us to the brink of a brave new era in which life spans of 100, 110 or even 120 will become more the norm than exception.8
One such expert is Michael Roizen, physician and chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic and New York Times best-selling author.9 Among many other accomplishments, Roizen is co-founder of the RealAge concept,10 which — unlike chronological age — refers to the body’s biological age based on actual health and health behaviors — good and bad.11
He says rapid discoveries and breakthroughs define the current research in more than a dozen key areas related to aging that range from stem cell production and gene editing, to tissue regeneration, immunotherapy and bionics.12 For example, after some early false starts, doctors are now optimistic about developing immunizations against pancreatic, colon and breast cancers, some of which could be used on patients in the next five years.13
Roizen says advancements like these — along with growing knowledge about the effects of health and lifestyle choices on aging — will soon help move life expectancy increases from a linear path to one he calls exponential.14 He estimates there’s an 80% chance this will occur within the next decade15 and that by the early 2030s we will see an increase in longevity of 30 years or so.16 If this comes to fruition, 100 will become the new 70.
|Your approximate age||Average lifespan predicted at birth (female*)||Predicted average lifespan in 2031|
Source: Cleveland Jewish News, “Excerpt 1: Longevity and the increase in human capital,” September 1, 2022
*In general for males, subtract three years.
“Down the line, it will not be uncommon for people to regularly live to 115 and even 130,” Roizen writes in his latest book, “The Great Age Reboot,”17 adding this will be a great “social disruptor” with clear implications for centenarians’ families and finances.18 But he warns that even with the advances in science and medicine that make this possible, people will need to proactively maintain their own health19 as they live longer, healthier, more productive lives.20
Extra Benefit of Eliminating Financial Worry: Good Health
Roizen and his co-authors estimate that making good lifestyle choices combined with medical advances will reduce lifestyle diseases — such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and health issues associated with smoking and alcohol and drug abuse — by 50%.21 This represents almost $5,000 per year for every U.S. household in savings related to medical expenses.22
The authors also make several other recommendations related to financing a longer life. These include working longer, saving as much money as possible and investing patiently and conservatively using a diversified portfolio.23 They also suggest waiting to claim Social Security benefits as long as possible to maximize high-earning years and realize increased benefits.24 After all, running out of money at 85 and living to 100 is not an ideal scenario.
And related to health and wellness, financial worry can be a top stressor — one that’s often chronic — and mental and financial health are very closely linked.25 People with high levels of financial stress also are twice as likely to report poor overall health and four times more likely to complain of health ailments.26 The message is clear: It’s prudent and healthy to prepare financially for a long life and having sufficient retirement income will be even more important.
Fortunately, there is a broad range of versatile retirement products available that offer greater choices and flexibility to accommodate constantly evolving economic conditions. For instance, annuities can be an option to consider when addressing longevity risk — the risk of outliving one’s savings. While there is a bounty of products available designed to minimize risks, only an annuity can help eliminate the risk of running out of money.27 However, there is no guarantee that a variable annuity with an add-on living benefit will provide sufficient supplemental retirement income.
Learn More About Aging Well in the Age of Longer Life Spans...
Jackson’s Is 100 the new 70? white paper examines the rapid growth in longevity anticipated and the scientific advances behind it. The paper explores the importance of keeping healthy by focusing on the foundational areas of sleep, movement, nutrition and stress. It also discusses retirement products that can help eliminate the risk of running out of money in retirement. Click here to download the paper.
Contact your financial professional to determine which financial products can help meet your long-term financial goals and whether an annuity can provide greater financial security. Taking the necessary steps to bring greater clarity and confidence to your retirement future now can free you up to focus more on enjoying all the opportunities modern retirement holds including the possibility of living 100 years or more.
...And Plan for a Healthy Wealth Span
As we seek to live longer and healthier lives, ensuring your retirement plan can provide the financial freedom you need is even more important. Click here to determine if your financial plan is retirement ready with Jackson’s Retirement Expense and Income Calculator.
What are annuities?
Annuities are long-term, tax-deferred vehicles designed for retirement. Variable annuities involve investment risks and may lose value. Earnings are taxable as ordinary income when distributed. Individuals may be subject to a 10% additional tax for withdrawals before age 59½ unless an exception to the tax is met. Add-on benefits are available for an additional charge to that of a variable annuity. Add-on living benefits are available for an extra charge in addition to the ongoing fees and expenses of the variable annuity and may be subject to conditions and limitations.