It's realistic to assume I might live to be 100 years old. Or even older. The demographics, and current life expectancies confirm that. If I had retired at age 60, that would have been 40 years of retirement. If I wait to age 70, it's still 30 years of retirement. It's a little mind-boggling to think about living that long, but the possibility is a reality.
I just read another article about living to 100, Live to 100. Plan on It. It talks about Jeanne Calment, who lived to be 122. And she was born in a time when life expectancy was much less than it is now. The article discusses the need to embrace the possibility. As usual, some of the comments on that article miss the point. They say, more or less, "I don't feel like living that long. No thanks." As though you get to choose.
So what does it mean to live that long? What do I have to do to prepare? I don't necessarily want to live to be 100, but it could happen.
My take-away is that I need to do a few things:
- I need to take care of my health. Living in poor health to a very old age would not be much fun. At least if I do everything in my power to stay healthy I have a hope of being able to enjoy those years.
- I need to take care of my finances. I can't spend everything now and just hope everything works out, I need to assume my money needs to stretch over a very long time. I don't plan to take Social Security until I turn 70, since that will maximize my benefit. And Social Security is one of the few things that promises that it will last as long as I live, no matter how long that is. Whether it can keep that promise is still up for debate, but there is at least a promise.