It is often a case of mutual amazement.
When people ask me about EML and I tell them expertise is in understanding the many implications of living longer they look amazed – ‘everyone knows that – its all over the news’ – how can you build a business around that? We then start to talk about what it means to the world, to the county and then specifically to them and their family. It is then that they realize that most of their expectations about the future – their future, our future and that of the world we live in, are wrong. Here are some examples:
Speak to people in their 20s about their ‘Retirement Date’ and they say that their folks will retire in their early 60s and they expect to do the same. Show them the projections that they will retire between the ages of 80 and 90 they don’t believe you. When I show them the latest government statement that people born after 1963 can expect to retire at 75 and they’re shocked.
Speak to people in their 80s (particularly those who are fit and well) and they will often express regret – ‘If I had known when I retired at 65 that I would be alive and well at 85 I would have played less … (golf/bridge/whatever) and gone and done something more useful’. Regret for a wasted opportunity.
Why are the populations of India and China growing so fast? There are many reasons but one significant factor is that in little more than a life-time their life expectancy has nearly doubled – put another way they have a whole generation who simply did not die!
Why have defined benefit pension schemes closed? Most of the assumptions upon which they were established no longer hold true. Many companies now face a massive pension scheme ‘top up’ bill that is open ended – and who runs the largest scheme of all – the UK government – so who pays the top up? – we do!
By understanding the driving forces behind many of todays changes you are in a better position to plan and prepare for a future that will be very different from your parents and grandparents.