You may have read that Olivia de Havilland just passed on at the age of 104. While living over 100 is still unusual, the number of people who live to 100 or more in the United States has increased from 53,000 in 2010 to a projected 92,000 in 2020. And the aging population trend is not going to slow down anytime soon. By 2060, the number of people in the U.S. who live to at least 100 is expected to be about 600,000.
The Social Security Administration projects that if we make it to 65, then we have a little over a 30% chance of living into our nineties. Since 1980, the number of people in the U.S. who have reached their nineties has tripled.
Charting New Territory
Not only are we living longer than any generation before us, we tend to be better educated and healthier than previous generations, which of course, has also contributed to our longevity. But here’s the catch: Growing up, most of us probably didn’t have a lot of role models who lived long, healthy lives.
We are charting new territory. We are redefining what it means to get older. Some of us are finding new ways to stay active and healthy. Others are starting businesses or engaging in meaningful activities—whether learning something new, volunteering, or spending more time with friends and family. At the same time, we are facing new challenges that previous generations may not have experienced to the same extent. Three of the more significant challenges include health issues and related costs, finances, and ageism.
Because we could live years longer than previous generations, our associated health needs and health care costs could be significantly greater than we had anticipated. Our Social Security benefits aren’t as stable as we might have assumed. Retirement pensions are increasingly more uncommon. One financial article reported that only 55% of baby boomers have any retirement savings. Other reports have indicated that the majority of baby boomers wished they had saved more for retirement.
In addition to the possibility of outliving our money, we are also living in an ageist culture. The World Health Organization says “Ageism is everywhere, yet it is the most socially “normalized” of any prejudice and is not widely countered – like racism or sexism.” Age-related prejudice can affect our employment opportunities, our social well-being, our self-esteem, and our overall health.
Great Resources to Help Us Navigate the Years Ahead
The good news is that we have great resources around us to help us live our best lives now and in the future. One of those resources is the Boomer Best U monthly newsletter. Each month, our newsletter features someone 50+ who is enjoying life to the fullest. These individuals often serve as role models for what is possible. Other featured individuals have shared expert advice. Last month, Ben James, CFP, CFA offered some insights on personal money management. Our newsletter also includes tips and information you can use to live your own best life.
This site includes a link to all of our newsletters. Another way to stay connected is to subscribe to our monthly electronic newsletter sent directly to you. If you have already subscribed or if you do so by August 14, 2020, you will be entered into a drawing for Ben James’ new book, The Playbook: 7 Fundamentals of Financial Planning, Organized and Addressed.