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Life expectancies are up – so what about your work life expectancy?

Have you thought about how increased longevity might affect your career trajectory? You might want to start.

Longer lives equal longer work lives

Have you thought about how increased longevity might affect your career trajectory? You might want to start. The CDC looked at life expectancy data over the last 100 years to project the life expectancy of those born in 2010.

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It should not surprise you that things are looking up. Literally! The peak age for death for those born in 1900 and 1950 fell around the 76-80 range. Now, the CDC predicts those born in 2010 will hit that peak between 86 and 90!

Fifty-five and beyond

The study also predicts a sharp decline in deaths around prime working age, defined as the age before 55. Death before age 55 will be cut in half for the next generation. Furthermore, compared to previous generations, over 1,900 more people born in 2010 will make it to 100.

So, with all that said, how does that change our expectations of WORK life expectancy going forward?

It’s not all puppies and rainbows

As we live longer lives, cost of living increases, especially when it comes to medical expenses.

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Not only will we have to save more in retirement, but we must count less on public assistance as this geriatric boom strains funds for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Furthermore, as a Slate article points out, the impact of inheritance money is changing in ways that make it harder to retire earlier.

One might look to the early retirement movement for inspiration. Bloggers like Mr. Money Mustache wax poetic on how stalwart discipline with expenses and lifestyle choices coupled with smart investments can allow folks to retire as early as 40. Their plan may become more mainstream as retirement needs increase.

You’ll probably still work – just less

Furthermore, these early retirees don’t whisk themselves off to a beach somewhere to sip margaritas until they drop. Rather, they enjoy the freedom of working for who they want and how they want, without worrying about the need for a paycheck. They let their savings work for them throughout those years. Slate’s article touches on this as well. “With career, family, and wealth accumulation behind them, the key may lie in identifying what personal aspirations retirees choose for themselves.

Retirees may volunteer in parts of society that are typically underfunded, such as education and child care, or pursue goals without financial motivations, such as music or the arts.” Those who want to continue working in their chosen field could engage in freelancing or consulting activities as well.

As the timeline for our work lives increases, the map will begin to look different than it has in the past. Creating income and savings that generates wealth independent of your work capacity will become more critical to a sustainable retirement plan.

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Written By

Born in Boston and raised in California, Connor arrived in Texas for college and was (lovingly) ensnared by southern hospitality and copious helpings of queso. As an SEO professional, he lives and breathes online marketing and its impact on businesses. His loves include disc-related sports, a pint of a top-notch craft beer, historical non-fiction novels, and Austin's live music scene.

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