Spreading Realizations on the Future of Retirement

The future of retirement in a world of radical life extension achieved via rejuvenation treatments is that there will be no more retirement in the traditional sense. Retirement as an institution exists because of unavoidable frailty and disease in aging, and those outcomes will be ended through progress in medicine. The research and development programs that create effective rejuvenation treatments will take place over less than half a lifetime once things really get going. All too many people today are unaware of the potential for progress towards the medical control of aging, entering their professional careers expecting their lives to have the same shape and duration as those of their grandparents. At least some are waking up, however:

Human life has reached an inflection point - one that matters a great deal for those planning for retirement. People are living longer and trying to stretch their income to make ends meet and stay ahead of inflation, but that's not the inflection point financial advisors are really concerned about - that's just the everyday blocking and tackling on behalf of client portfolios. The emerging challenge goes way beyond that.

Scientists have found the mechanisms that govern aging and are already doing experiments in rats on how to reverse it. They've found species that do not die of old age, such as the jellyfish Turritopsis. "We're adding three months to life per calendar year. It's not an if, it's a when, and the point in time is in the 15- to 20-year range. In a decade or two, or three, there will be a class of people taking treatments who can live for a long time, and that affects employment planning, retirement planning ... Society will never have seen that before. The first person to reach age 150 has already been born. How do I talk to a client preparing to retire at 65 using the traditional model and with planning software that only goes to age 95? The financial model is broken."

The shift from a linear to a cyclical lifeline is already starting to be seen: The average American at age 35 has already had eight jobs. "It's not going to be birth, school, job, retirement, death," he said. Soon individuals will cycle between work, school, sabbaticals, more schooling and more work in a cycle that has never before existed. "It's going to be less about money in the future and more about the future. How do you sit down with someone in their 30s or 40s and tell them that they are going to live to 110 or 120 and haven't prepared financially for that?" At first the challenge won't be that the information is overwhelming; it's that the client won't even believe what the advisor is saying, making it the most difficult and potentially costly conversation an advisor needs to initiate. "They will look at you like you are smoking crack. It's the singularity conversation, and if they think an advisor is crazy, then the advisor will lose the client."

Link: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102730128

Comments

"In a decade or two"
If I remember my english lessons correctly, "one or two" is an idiom and it means any small number. So it actually can mean a century from now.

Posted by: Martin S. at June 4th, 2015 6:58 AM

Typical negative responses in the comments section , but mostly about people having to work until they're 100, etc, or what the quality of life would be at 150. Sigh, I don't know why I get myself worked up over the comments section on these types of threads... Or even read them.

Posted by: Ham at June 4th, 2015 8:32 AM

Comments sections of mainstream media sites: Not even once.

Reminds me of a brief conversation I had with a 60+-year-old man: he asked me what I'd do if I actually lived that long, and I told him, "Not collect Social Security!"

Posted by: Slicer at June 4th, 2015 10:13 AM

You know, there is such a thing as living off capital returns and the difference
between planning for a fund that goes to zero after 40 years (or whatever) and one that's steady-state and never runs out is really not all that great. The *desire* to keep working is another thing completely.

Posted by: Simon at June 4th, 2015 11:43 AM

It should also be pointed out that robots (IMO) will take over most jobs in the country/world within the next few decades if they continue to get improved upon, which it appears they will so.

So, I think we will have mass unemployment, yet there will be a need for someone to buy "stuff" to keep the producers successful. So, how will society "deal" with the coming dilemma?

So, I see two BIG issues changing in the next 2-3 decades. Robots taking over jobs and people living much longer. It will be interesting (and a bit scary, change is scary) to watch what happens over time.

Posted by: Robert Church at June 4th, 2015 1:20 PM

Now more than ever: Buy your home, don't rent. Can you imagine what rents will be like in 50 or 100 years? Buy it, stay in it, never sell it, never borrow from it if at all possible.

Posted by: Tony at June 4th, 2015 5:35 PM

If a person can put away even a modest amount of money and leave it in the market for a number of decades it will eventually grow large enough to financially take care of them indefinitely. I would think this kind of saving, whether it be compulsory or voluntary, would address any pension issues.

Posted by: kim at June 4th, 2015 6:09 PM

@kim: That doesn't work if everyone does it. But price signals will stop everyone from doing it; at some point it will be too financially attractive to get back to work rather than lazing around. So there will be a dynamic balance at some point, with the split between education, work, and semi-permanent vacation determined by the degree to which automation exists.

Posted by: Reason at June 4th, 2015 6:20 PM

It will be very interesting to see if there is any place at all for humans in this solar system 100 years from now. I'm optimistic about anti-aging tech but the AI situation seems likely to produce an outcome that is not ideal for biological life at all. I consider it a high probability event that the inner planets will be taken apart for constituent matter not far from now.

Posted by: cosmicalstorm at June 5th, 2015 2:51 AM

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