Telling people that we are all living longer is fraught with dangers. I have no special insight and am not being specific, I’m simply playing the odds. By looking at the big picture I can be certain that the 70+ age group is the world’s fastest growing segment – what I can’t say with certainty is who will be in it!
Some years ago when I was an HR Director a couple of our employees got married. She was determined that she was not going to grow old so opted out of the pension scheme and made no long term provision – against all advice. He was more cautious and came to me to make discrete arrangements to ensure he was making adequate provision for them both. A few years later the hand of fate struck and he died young while she reached retirement and continues to live comfortably – thanks to him.
I work with a number of octogenarian clients who find themselves fit and well – much to their surprise. Our discussion often revolve around what they want to do – with their time and their money and their lives – it is clear they never expected to be around and are now starting to worry that they may be Peter Pan and will live forever!
The answer can be found somewhere in between. As a population we are living longer – but some of us will continue to die young – and none of us know but we can be certain we will not live forever! Understanding living longer is about recalibration our life plans. It’s about anticipating that we may be around for longer than we thought and ensuring that all aspects of our lives reflect that – from our health to our possessions, and our finances to our ‘raison d’être’.