The average life expectancy has increased by more than six years since 2000. That means, according to the World Health Organization, that men and women are – on average – living to reach the age of 73 years old.
Gender-wise, however, women still live a little longer. A woman who turns 65 in 2023 has a life expectancy of 88 years. For a man turning 65 in 2023, the life expectancy is 86 years.
As we think of retirement, we relish the thought of swapping out work for traveling, spending time with family, and other relaxing pastimes. However, many are not financially planning for their retirement years, which may now span longer than previously anticipated.
Understanding your anticipated life expectancy is a crucial element of retirement planning. After all, you’ll need to estimate how long you’re going to live to determine how much money you’ll need to live comfortably in retirement. This is a number that many underestimate or fail to consider entirely.
So, how long will you live?
While no one can know for certain, the Social Security Administration has multiple resources that can help provide estimated averages. For example, their Actuarial Life Table and Life Expectancy Calendar both provide insightful, rough estimates that may help you plan for retirement.
To compensate for increased longevity, retirement planning strategies must adapt. Below are some key considerations to help ensure financial stability in retirement.
Saving for retirement as early as possible is crucial, even more so than previous generations as the threat of social security running out looms over younger generations. A financial advisor can help create a plan that accounts for inflation, potential medical expenses, and the possible dissolution of a social security program. Be wary of oversimplified rules of thumb when it comes to saving for retirement, and instead opt for a professional opinion.
Delaying Social Security
If you anticipate a longer life expectancy, there can be value in postponing your Social Security benefit. For every year you delay collecting, your monthly payouts rise by 8%, capping out when you reach age 70. After that, there’s no further increase. Consider building a retirement plan that allows you to delay claiming Social Security until this age.
Making Catch-up Contributions
As you near retirement, consider making catch-up contributions. Catch-up contributions allow those over 50 years of age to make extra contributions to tax-advantaged retirement accounts without surpassing IRS limitations.
Delaying retirement by a few years can make a world of difference. This may provide an opportunity for your funds to grow even more, and you could make additional contributions in the meantime.
Additionally, delaying retirement doesn’t mean you have to continue working full-time. Consider a part-time job to supplement your income and stay active while in your 60s.
Planning for Healthcare Needs
A longer life expectancy comes with associated increased healthcare needs. As such, you should plan for long-term care and medical expenses.
Adjusting Your Investment Strategy
As we near retirement, most financial professionals advocate for moving away from a more risky investment strategy towards a more conservative one. However, with the possibility of living 30 or more years into retirement, it may be prudent to allow some of your portfolio to be more growth-oriented.
These are only a small number of factors to consider when it comes to longevity, but hopefully this list gets you thinking about the importance of planning for a longer life in retirement. Retirement is a time that we should all enjoy, so it’s better to try and be prepared for the considerations associated with it. No one wants the burden of financial stress in their golden years.
Information provided by Valorem Financial and written in collaboration with Oechsli, a non-affiliate of Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC and CWM, LLC.
“Actuarial Life Table.” Social Security Administration, 12 Apr. 2022, www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.
Carlson, Bob. “Here’s More Evidence In Favor Of Delaying Social Security Benefits.” Forbes, 24 Feb. 2023, www.forbes.com/sites/bobcarlson/2023/02/24/heres-more-evidence-in-favor-of-delaying-social-security-benefits/?sh=3fcf61166e96. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.
“Longevity Risk: Could You Outlive Your Savings?” Charles Schwab, 9 Jun. 2023, www.schwab.com/learn/story/longevity-risk-could-you-outlive-your-savings. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.
 Carlson, Bob. “Here’s More Evidence In Favor Of Delaying Social Security Benefits.” Forbes, 24 Feb. 2023, www.forbes.com/sites/bobcarlson/2023/02/24/heres-more-evidence-in-favor-of-delaying-social-security-benefits/?sh=3fcf61166e96. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.