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October 07, 2021

Could you afford to live to be 100 years old?

Forget being retired for 20 or 25 years: How about something closer to 50 years?

Science fiction? Not necessarily. In fact, it could happen within our lifetimes, maintains Alex Zhavoronkov, the author of The Ageless Generation: How Advances in Biomedicine Will Transform the Global Economy.

There are several specific technology trends that will undoubtedly make us live significantly longer than our parents and grandparents, he claims. In fact, it's already happening.

Today, the average 65-year-old has an average life expectancy of 19 more years — approximately age 84. But half of all individuals live longer than the average life expectancy. In fact, one out of every four 65-year-olds will live past age 90, and one out of ten will live past age 95.

But that longevity comes at a price, the two primary concerns being declining health and the ability to create a sustainable retirement income that may need to last decades more than expected.


So much so that most people don't want to have their life spans extended. According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 56 per cent of adult respondents wouldn’t refuse to undergo medical treatments to slow the aging process and enable them to live to 120 or longer.

This pessimistic view stems largely from the fact that, when forming an opinion about life expectancy, most people use as benchmarks their parents' and grandparents' life spans. They may also believe an extended life span will extend frailty and boredom in old age, along with very real financial pressures.

But that's not necessarily the case. When faced with a simultaneous decline in birth rates and an increase in the number of retirees, governments of developed countries will realize that investing in regenerative medicine are better strategies than implementing massive austerity measures and boosting immigration.

As a result, there's definitely no harm in stretching your planning "ageometer" past 100, Zhavoronkov maintains.

Most likely technology will catch up and exceed your expectations. If not, the worst that can happen is you will die earlier feeling much younger than you ever thought you would.

Does your final plan envision a long life? Has that number changed over time? 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...