The Longevity Challenge

Key Takeaways

  • Longevity is now one of the biggest challenges facing those who are retiring today with life expectancies creeping up in to the 120 to 160 year range.
  • You want to enjoy life to the fullest in retirement, but you may need to make some changes to ensure you will not run out of money.
  • You may need to consolidate debt, take care of your health, or do some research to figure out what it is you want to do with your time during retirement in order to better prepare yourself for a long-term retirement.

You might remember the show where Carl Reiner interviewed Mel Brooks as the 2000-year-old man. It was funny listening to him talk from a perspective of being that old. While it’s certainly not as many years, it is sort of like what baby boomers, or those turning 60, are looking at as far as life expectancy. Medical science, depending on who you listen to, has us now living to age 120 to 160, so longevity is now one of the biggest challenges facing those who are retiring today. Now I know that age range sounds outrageous, but if it’s true, how do you approach this?

There’s a great quote by Jonathan Clements that says, “Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it to the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.” We want to enjoy ourselves at the same level in retirement as we did during our active working years, so there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. You don’t want to run out of money. There’s a rule of thumb when it comes to drawing retirement funds, and that is about 4% on an on-going basis. That’s about the level that says your money will continue to grow with inflation being at about 3% or so.
  2. Be set up for retirement. This means that if you have unusually high expenses because of your chosen lifestyle prior to retirement, you want to make sure you break things down. Consolidate things, maybe go down to one home, make sure loans are paid off, and any other debt that you might have. This will ensure you don’t have any extra expenses to worry about in your retirement.
  3. Focus on your health. Health costs are one of the biggest factors in not being able to meet long term retirement goals because of the heavy cost of out of pocket expenses and other costs that can take place.
  4. Have a purpose. Something to keep in mind prior to your retirement is figuring out what you are going to shift over to when you are done working. Perhaps it’s something entirely different from what you did in your working years, but whatever you do, ensure you have a plan for how you are going to spend your time in your retirement years.

Keeping these things in mind will help set you up for a retirement that’s prepared for however long you will be on this earth.

Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. Instead of being afraid of change, Gary is always looking at how technology will effect clients and bringing the best of it into the practice. Whether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

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