There are three factors that determine how “successfully” you will live during your later years. The state of your health, the size of your nest egg, and how long you live.
If you are in good health and have established a sizable retirement fund, you may believe you’re set for life. But what if life lasts longer than you expected? What if you retire at the traditional retirement age of 65 and live until you’re 105? Can your nest egg sustain you for four decades?
As our collective life expectancy has lengthened, it has created a new set of challenges that somehow we are just beginning to recognize and try to solve. Where are all these old people going to live? Who is going to take care of them? And who is going to pay for their “upkeep”?
If this is the government’s responsibility, they are certainly not doing a very good job now, and the aging baby boomer crunch is only beginning. Already there are hundreds of thousands of people who have reached traditional retirement age (and have retired), have no income other than their social security checks, and are looking for affordable subsidized senior housing that hardly exists.
If this is the private sector’s responsibility, or opportunity, well, very few enterprises have figured out a way to build and maintain adequate, sustainable affordable senior housing communities that generate enough revenue to make massive investment attractive.
Face it. You are probably going to live longer than your parents and longer than you expected, whether you like it or not. And to live with a certain degree of comfort and security, you’re going to have to be able to pay for it. So how do you not outlive your savings?
For you to keep working in corporate America, corporate America is going to have to rethink its philosophy on mandatory retirement ages, develop new jobs that take advantage of the experience and wisdom of older employees, and design financial planning for employees to accommodate their longer lives.
For you to keep working outside of the system, you have to take the responsibility now to learn or enhance your skills, especially in technology, that will enable you to continue to create value. Life-long learning has become mandatory.
And to keep working, staying healthy is of paramount importance. But you know how to do that.