Understanding The Longevity Calculation!

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We all know that Americans are living longer than in generations past and that this impacts retirement planning.  An ongoing debate rages about how much money is needed for retirement, at what age we should start taking social security benefits, and when or if we should retire at all.

How long we will live is, of course, a great unknown.  Many clients don’t like thinking about it, but it has a tremendous impact on how we should plan and how much needs to be saved.  Yet even though we likely haven’t considered exactly how long we will live, companies that manage retirement dollars have and so has the government which oversees our social security payouts.  And guess what, they may have it all wrong.

First, some statistics on longevity in America which may surprise you.

  • Since 1900, the average life expectancy has increased by 31 years, so the average American can now expect to live past age 78.
  • The number of Americans 100 or older has risen by an astounding 2,200% since 1950.  More than 53,000 centenarians call the United States home.
  • 47% of baby boomers are at risk of outliving their retirement savings.

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