What would your retirement look like if you lived to 100?

Picture of a cute elderly lady celebrating birthday with a heart shaped balloon in the park outdoor

Image: Ocskay Mark/Bigstock.com

We’re in the middle of an extraordinary transition that few of us are prepared for. That’s what Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott reckon in their book, The 100-Year Life.

We’re living longer and ‘whoever you are, wherever you live and however old you are, you need to start thinking now about the decisions you will make in order to make the most of this longer life.’

They’re suggesting that because our lives will be longer, we’re going to have to think differently about how we live them.

We’re already seeing that more people are reaching 100 years of age. They cite predictions that 50% of children born in 2007 will live to over 100 in Japan (to 107); in the US, Italy, France, and Canada (to 104); and the UK (to 103).

Put another way, the prediction is that if you’re living in these countries and you’re 20 years of age, you have a 50% chance of living until you reach 100; if 40, you have an even chance of reaching 95; and if 60, a 50% chance of making 90 or more.

A new form of retirement?

This is a long way from the time, back in the day, when retirement began at 65 and the life expectancy was about 60 years. What Gratton and Scott anticipate is that we’ll be moving away from the ‘three-stage life’ of education, work and retirement to a more flexible, ‘multi-stage life with a variety of careers, breaks and transitions’.

They ask some difficult questions like, ‘If you live 100 years, save around 10% of your income and want to retire on 50% of your final salary, at what age will you be able to retire?’ Answer: Into your 80s.

That alone will change retirement.

Take this challenge

Think about the implications of living a decade longer than you’ve thought you might do. What changes would you want to make now—before retirement—so you could be in good shape then.

What difference would it make to your retirement preparation?

As you go through this exercise, please remember that retirement is about more than money. Grattan and Scott say, ‘You can’t have a long and financially successful career if your skills, health and relationships are depleted.’ Neither will it be a successful retirement without life balance.

Boomers have already brought change to retirement. So many are making it a productive time of life, not merely R&R after completing their working life. It looks like changes will continue.

Bruce Manners: the author of Retirement Ready?, Refusing to Retire, and founder of RetireNotes.com


Category: Ageing, Planning

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