Can I Afford to Live to 100?

Live to 100

Can you afford to live to 100?

I’d like to introduce you to Vonseal Thornton (pictured above).

She’s my grandmother on my Dad’s side. I’ve always called her “Me-ma.”

This past Monday, February 3rd, she turned 100.

So this past Sunday, about 20 or so of us got together and busted her out of her retirement home in Winder, GA, for the afternoon.

We took her to one of her favorite restaurants – Cracker Barrel – to celebrate. (Last year, she wanted to go to The Varsity, so we took her over to Athens, and she killed a couple of chili dogs, some rings and a frosted orange.)

Her husband, my “Pop”, passed away a long time ago. So she’s been on her own as a widow for decades.

And it was only a few short years ago she moved to the retirement home. She was living independently well into her 90s.

My Me-ma isn’t rich. But she’s wealthy if you ask me.

She has a family that thinks the world of her. She has friends. She lives simply. And while she has the occasional aches and pains, she’s happy and a joy to be around.

As long as you’re willing to speak up…

OK, actually you have to yell. Her hearing ain’t so good.

So Happy Birthday, Me-Ma! Hope we get to celebrate many more with you.

But here’s a question: can you afford to live to 100?

How Long Will You Live?

I’ve written recently about life expectancy and its role in your retirement and financial planning.

And I touched on the concept in an article from a few years ago too.

According to this article, the current life expectancy in the US is 76 for men and 81 for women.

But of course, none of us know how long we’ll live.

And it’s this unknown that makes financial and retirement planning such a pickle.

In my clients’ financial planning, we start with the assumption that women will live to 95 and men will live to 92. These ages are quite a bit higher than current average life expectancies.

While we can absolutely adjust your life expectancy in your financial plan based on your family history and/or health conditions, we’d rather assume you live longer than average and have the financial resources to support your lifestyle.

The alternative – outliving your money – isn’t something many people relish the thought of.

And regardless of your health later in life or your lifestyle and its expenses, you’ll need money in the form of assets and income to live.

Do you have a plan? A strategy?

Have you considered what happens if you were to live to 100? Or beyond?

Conversely, have you looked at what would happen if you were to only live to age 75, for example?

What if you’re married and your spouse dies 3 weeks from now, and you survive them and live another 35+ years?

These are just some scenarios to consider. In my experience, it’s not healthy to always dwell on our mortality. But as I’ve said before, none of us are getting out of here alive.

And I do believe there are benefits to considering the above scenarios as they can help you recognize that while planning for tomorrow is important, so is enjoying your life today.

And that very idea… having comfort and confidence in the future while making the absolute most of your one life today… is at the heart of everything I do in my work with clients.

Here’s to wishing a happy, healthy, and long life!

P.S. – I often joke about how “old” I feel. I’m 48. But when do people become “old?” And how should we refer to them? This article provides an interesting perspective.

Thanks for reading. While you’re here, be sure to sign up for my weekly email newsletter where I share tips, advice, and stories about the intersection of money and our lives. Just click here to join the community.

Russ Thornton
Russ Thornton
Hi there! I'm Russ, and I help women in their 50s and 60s achieve and maintain their desired lifestyle leading up to and throughout their retirement years. Imagine being able to look forward to a comfortable and confident financial future...
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