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Layin’ It on the Line: The increasing lifespan and its impact on retirement planning

By Lyle Boss - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Nov 1, 2023

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Lyle Boss

As advancements in health care and quality of life progress, it’s becoming more and more likely that today’s generation will see their 100th birthday. While this is undoubtedly a cause for celebration, it’s also an eye-opener for some significant shifts we must consider — particularly regarding work, retirement planning and health care.

Our current systems and social norms are predicated on an outdated model. The conventional wisdom assumes a 40-year work career and a 20-year retirement phase. However, the structure inevitably needs reengineering when we stretch the timeline to encompass a 100-year lifespan. In this new paradigm, a 60-year work trajectory is a real possibility.

So, what do these extra years mean for retirement planning? For one, traditional concepts surrounding retirement must be reevaluated. Gone are the days when retirement signified a complete exit from the workforce. Instead, the extended lifespan opens up the floor for “phased retirements,” where one could engage in part-time work, consultancy roles, or even entrepreneurial ventures after the so-called “retirement age.” It’s not just about filling time; it’s about continued income, social interaction and mental stimulation. Annuities and specific insurance products tailored for longevity can offer an additional layer of financial security, allowing retirees to enjoy a prolonged yet stable lifestyle.

Flexibility is another critical factor that must be ingrained into this extended working life. For example, scaling work hours to accommodate personal life stages — like raising young children or caring for aging parents — should become a norm rather than an exception. This agility can be particularly beneficial for those nearing retirement, offering them a smoother transition rather than an abrupt end to their professional life.

Another significant element is the need for lifelong learning. A 60-year career span in a rapidly changing world means skills can become obsolete, and adaptability is crucial. Hence, workplaces should facilitate and encourage continuous learning and skill development, enhancing the quality of life during retirement.

This elongated lifespan isn’t merely an individual concern; it’s a societal one. We must strive to develop communities that are attuned to the needs of a diverse age range. Adequate health care, focused on preventive care, becomes paramount to maintaining a high quality of life for all ages, alleviating the burden on families and pension systems.

Initiatives like the Stanford Center on Longevity’s “The New Map of Life” are already laying the groundwork for a future where living to 100 is the norm. The principles espoused by such programs provide valuable frameworks for individual and societal planning:

  • Maximizing the opportunities presented by a longer life.
  • Aligning “health span” with lifespan.
  • Fostering communities that are prepared for an age-diverse population.

Preparing for a 100-year life is an interdisciplinary endeavor requiring inputs and concerted efforts from the government, health care sectors and financial institutions. A comprehensive approach ensures not only longer lives but longer lives worth living. For retirees, financial vehicles like annuities and longevity-focused insurance plans can offer peace of mind and financial stability, allowing them to make the most of their golden years.

In this ever-evolving landscape, one thing is certain: The concept of a 100-year life forces us to rethink, replan and reorient our approaches to work, retirement and community living, and it’s high time we embraced this change.

Embrace the future of a 100-year lifespan by rethinking your retirement planning today. Opt for flexible work arrangements and lifelong learning opportunities, and investigate financial vehicles like annuities and specialized insurance plans to secure a fulfilling, financially stable retirement. Let’s work together to build communities that are ready for this new era of longevity.

  • Longer lifespans, up to 100 years, necessitate a rethinking of work, retirement and health care.
  • Traditional 40-year careers followed by 20-year retirements are outdated; a 60-year career trajectory is more realistic.
  • Phased retirements, flexible work hours and lifelong learning become increasingly important.
  • Communities and health care systems must adapt to serve a population that lives longer.
  • Financial security for retirees can be enhanced through tailored annuities and insurance products.

Lyle Boss, a native Utahn, is a member of Syndicated Columnists, a national organization committed to a fully transparent approach to money management. Boss Financial, 955 Chambers St., Suite 250, Ogden, UT 84403. Telephone: 801-475-9400.


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