Who Wants to Live Forever: Financial Implications

Who Wants to Live Forever: Financial Implications

Don’t we all? Or do we? A first and by far less loaded question to answer is ­ how long do we want to live, and a recent Who Wants to Live Forever survey is here to set the record straight. Simultaneously it throws in another question ­ can we even afford to live to a hundred?

As pretty much expected, out of over two thousand adults surveyed, most Americans wanted to blow the hell out of those hundred birthday candles some day. But when the question of money came into play, interestingly enough only just over a third of them believed that they’d live past 90. Maybe strangely, and a little worryingly, only a third of people said they were happy with their financial situation and their current body weight. This raises a huge red flag ­ only this third of people were actually financially and physically ready to hit a marathon (why not?) on their 100­th birthday, leaving the rest of us in the dust of ‘long gone’.

More specifically, when Americans under 65, who wanted to retire by the time they hit 65, were asked about their retirement, just over 40 per cent honestly and bravely admitted that they didn’t think they could even afford to live to a centennial.

The surveyors admitted that they were not surprised by the fact that people wanted to live to 100. But what was surprising was the lack of real effort to prepare for such a long life. Only 42 per cent of the Americans surveyed were making a serious effort to get there!

Do generations or social class come into play?

Different generations within the survey seemed to have differing expectations on how long they expected to live, with, for example, Millennials more likely than Generation Xers or even their own parents ­ Baby Boomers ­ to say they expected to live to 100. Today’s youngest workforce (Millennials) were also most likely to think they had the financial means to live to a hundred.

Research has also been done previously that suggested that the lower your social class (meaning ­ your economic status) the less time you can expect to live. According to a famous, but often pessimistic, the World Health Organisation, “People further down the social ladder usually run at least twice the risk of serious illness and premature death of those near the top.” So, the more you manage to save from your twenties onwards, the likelier you are to live a comfortable life past the age of 90.

Are we happy enough with our lives to live forever?

With 77 per cent of Americans surveyed saying they were happy with their lives overall it seems that we are generally happy enough with our lives to live longer. 74 per cent of people said that they envisioned mostly good things when they thought about themselves growing older.

This optimism did not carry on into the future, with fewer than 1 in 3 Baby Boomers feeling optimistic for the next generations. The staggering majority of Baby Boomers also thought that there were more challenges than opportunities for people today. Thanks for having faith in us, pops!

Are we willing to put our backs on the line to actually live longer?

Most people thought that healthy eating and exercise were needed for a long life, forgetting another essential ingredient ­ money. However, only 25 per cent of them said they thought they were eating as well as they should be and even less thought they were exercising as much as they should be.

Who wants to live forever? It seems that Americans expect that they will be living longer than previous generations, at least. But even with all our current scientific and medical advancements there is still tons of work to be done to achieve this for each and everyone of us!

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