The numbers are in, and people are living longer! The CDC calculates that overall life expectancy in the U.S. is presently 78.7 years, with women outliving men by an average of 5 years, or 81 years vs. 76 for men. (Longevity is one area where there is no gender equality.)
Some of the reasons for the increase in life expectancy include:
- Advances in healthcare. Deaths from heart disease, stroke are on the decline, and diseases such as diabetes can be managed more successfully than 20 or 30 years ago.
- Health-conscious habits. More senior citizens are prioritizing their health by remaining active, eating right, and taking supplements.
- Continuing care retirement communities. Aging Americans have better access to help or care as needed while maintaining active lives in a supportive community setting.
The Longer You've Lived, the Longer You can Expect to Live!
The life expectancy ages are actually misleading, as they represent averages that include the few who pass away at younger ages. For those who are have already reached their 60's and 70's, life expectancy is longer still.In some financial circles, increased life expectancy is seen as being more of a “risk factor” than an advantage. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that half of U.S. workers have no private pensions and one-third of Americans have set aside no savings for retirement.
Even if typical retirement plans are becoming less viable, we can start by saving more - we recommend 20% - and we can also reframe our expectations. Beginning retirement at 75 or 80 gives us 10-15 more years of earning and saving
Then there is the issue of “retirement plans." If you have a traditional pension, IRA or 401k plan in place and you originally planned on retiring at 65, it might not be elastic enough to stretch for two or more decades.
For those who can easily afford to retire at age 65 or earlier, there may still be better, more interesting options than a life of leisure. Below are some examples of people who have already explored ways to make their long lives fulfilling and even prosperous!