Redefining Retirement: A Longer Lifespan means more to Consider

By on July 1, 2011
redefining retirement

The prospect of extreme longevity will change, yet again, how we think about the notion of retirement. This is “RetirementSingularity”, where we may need to redefine retirement and what it means.

The idea of “The New Retirement” refers to a shift in how many of us are thinking about retirement. The old version went like this: You go to school, you get a job, you work and save money for 35 years, and then you retire and relax until you die. As the statistics tell us, women will most often outlive their male partners and need to navigate a period of being single late in life. The currently emerging “New Retirement” is being shaped by the Boomer generation that doesn’t want to slow down. Instead, they see retirement as a chance to do what they always wanted to do: to be more engaged, lead a meaningful life, experience adventure, find fulfillment and have fun doing that. They are not content to go quietly into the night!

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The Retirement Singularity blog introduces a further evolution in how we see retirement – one that includes the real possibility and even the likelihood of living much longer and with a body/mind that is much healthier and vital. While we can plainly see the acceleration of advances in business technology, medical technology is only a recent beneficiary of such “leap-frogging” advances. Already, researchers are talking about treatments to cure and prevent most life-shortening diseases. The notion of curing “aging” altogether is now being seriously discussed.

The prospect of a healthy and vastly extended lifespan opens up much larger vistas of what we could do with our lives. It also opens up the need to look at our financial resources in a different way.

Four ”Need To’s” for Your Retirement Thinking

1. Consider health care costs more seriously in budgeting. This is, in part, because we will want to pay for future medical innovations that make us healthier and allow us to live longer. In addition, people who are healthy and live longer will actually spend more on healthcare costs than someone who is ill and not live as long.

2. Put greater value on our “Human Capital.” Moshe Milevsky, one of my favorite financial gurus, talks about “Human Capital” as our ability to work and earn money. This, he asserts, is often our biggest asset. He writes, “Younger folks are much wealthier than you think. When I talk to audiences about this, especially the older crowd, the 40s, and 50s, I ask them with a show of hands how much of their money they’re willing to give away to turn back the clock 20 years. And most people say, ‘Take it all, and make me 20 years younger.’ What people start to realize is that their human capital is the most valuable asset they have — more valuable than financial capital.” [See Your Real Net Worth] The possibility of having time to have multiple careers over an extended lifespan means the Human Capital is greatly increased. In turn, spending money on developing your career capabilities could be considered a good investment.

3. Spend the time and effort to stay healthy. A solid regimen of exercise, diet, supplements, medical checkups, relaxation, etc. becomes even more important if the result is a significantly longer life.

4. Look at what is important in life. Procrastination is a powerful force in many, if not most, of our lives. The notion of having a much longer life could result in us putting off (even longer) looking at the most important parts of our life. Have we identified the issues of what makes our life truly meaningful? It would be an even greater waste of life if we live longer but do not truly consider what is most important in our lives. The time to reflect and work on who we want to be, and what we want to accomplish is now.

By Michael Nuschke




About Michael Nuschke

Michael Nuschke is a leading retirement planning and investment advisor with Assante Capital Management Ltd. in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He holds the CFP, RFP, CIM and FCSI designations. He is also the author of the blog which explores the world of accelerating change and the advances in medicine and technology that could radically change our lifestyles and our whole notion of retirement. Contact Michael at [email protected] and sign up for ongoing updates on his blog


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Redefining Retirement: A Longer Lifespan means more to Consider