Living to 100 years old may have seemed like an idea out of a science fiction movie in the past, but global life expectancy is on the rise — and current statistics show that a 100 year life isn’t such a strange possibility after all.
According to the World Health Organization, the average global life expectancy has increased by six years since 1990. Iceland, Switzerland and Australia topped the list for longest life expectancy for men (all with an average over 80 years old), while Japan, Spain and Switzerland topped the charts for women (all falling with an average above 85 years old).
While living into your 80’s comes with joys, like more time to travel the world and enjoy loved ones, it can also come with worry about health and financial concerns that may come up later in life.
From retirement plans to managing your health, here are some things to keep in mind to ensure that as we live longer, our later years are healthy, happy and productive.
Your career path
As life expectancy rises, career paths look much different than they once did.
“Many people simply don’t want to work the same job for 60 years or more,” says Gerry Seymour, coach for individuals and groups seeking professional development, and CEO and Founder of Quantum Point, a consulting and performance development company. “Fortunately, a trend started more than 30 years ago that fits this situation nicely. Starting with my generation, most people have three to five different professions during their working career.”
65 years of age used to be nearing end of life, but the fact that many people are living well past that age has placed an increased burden on Social Security. “The answer, both to the Social Security problem and to personal fulfillment, is not to retire, at least not fully,” says Seymour. “People at 65, or 70, or 80 have so much life experience and wisdom. We should be sharing that and benefiting from it as a society.”
However, most people probably don’t see themselves spending 40 hours a week behind a desk at those ages. “Part-time is probably a better speed. It allows more time for giving back to the community, spending time with family and travel,” says Seymour.
Begin to think about what that path looks for you:
- Do you see yourself consulting?
- Opening a business in your home town?
- Working part time at a library or coffee shop?
Your Retirement Savings
It’s important to ask yourself: How much money will I need to live comfortably once I retire?
“Many people in their 40’s and even 50’s have yet to crunch the numbers to figure out how much money they’ll need to retire comfortably,” says Phil Ash, co-founder and CEO of Baton Investing. He recommends crunching the numbers to determine how much you’ll need to retire comfortably, and what you’ll need to contribute yearly to hit that financial goal.
“When determining the desired size of your nest egg, you would be wise to assume you’ll live for longer than you think,” says Ash. “If you don’t yet have your nest egg established, you need to keep growing your money.”
To do this, set up a meeting with a financial professional who will walk you through the many investment opportunities (like stocks, bonds, real estate, retirement savings accounts, life insurance, and commodities) that may be worth considering.
The top three causes of life lost due to premature death are coronary heart disease, lower respiratory infections (such as pneumonia) and stroke, according to the World Health Organization. This means that living a healthy lifestyle is important. Luckily, healthy habits like staying active and eating a nutritious diet will not only keep our hearts healthy, but prevent chronic disease as well. Low intake of saturated fat, trans-fats and salt, plus high intake of fruits, vegetables and fish are linked to lower cardiovascular risk.
Your mental health is just as important. A study conducted in the UK and published in the British Medical Journal found that psychological distress (like depression and anxiety) is associated with increased risk of mortality from several major causes, including heart disease and cancer. Consider adding stress-management techniques like meditation and yoga to your routine.
Keeping these key things in mind can help you prepare to live a centenarian lifestyle, and make it a healthy and happy one at that.