Will Your Savings Last to Age 100?

Original post

Here’s sort of a nice slap for all those age 50 or older. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s a nice one. You be the judge.

There was an article in MarketWatch recently that read, “If you are 50 and you are reading this, you are likely to live to near 100.”

According to the article, with the way life expectancies are shaping up, if you’re in pretty good shape at age 50, you can expect to make it to age 100.

Usually, I blow off headlines like that as too much hype. Frankly, some days the thought of living to 100 isn’t necessarily good news. And those numbers seemed a little crazy, at least until the other day at the Grill.

Yes – my 100% accurate “Grill Quotient,” named for my daily breakfast stop, has proven yet again to be the best source not just for market tops and bottoms but for all kinds of information about aging and money.

It turns out several of the people I see there almost every day are a whole lot older than I thought. That realization has made the idea that many of us will make it to 100 more believable.

It turns out that one person in particular, who happens to be a crossword whiz (she knows answers I could never get, and they’re right there – no delay) is 96 years old. She’s sharp as all get out and is closing in on 100. I figured she was in her 80s at most.

Another member of the breakfast club just turned 92, and she is doing just fine. I thought she was in her late 70s. In fact, her daughter, who is with her most days, is the one in her 70s. I had thought she was in her 60s, tops. That was a real stunner. These folks look great and are doing really well.

So you’re probably asking: What does this have to do with a slap in the face?

Well, all of those folks are in very good situations. They have money and family around them to help. Most of us will not be as lucky, and paying to live to 100 will prove very difficult or impossible.

But the good news is those 50- and 60-year-olds who haven’t done much about putting the money together to pay for potentially 30 to 40 years in retirement have as many as 20 more working years to kick their savings and investments into gear.

The retirement age is definitely going to 70, and that gives you a lot more time to save. Based on what I’m reading, I’d use it wisely.

The 100-year thing is daunting to most of us. It’s hard to imagine myself at 85, much less 100. And paying for it seems even more out there.

When we’re talking about 100 years, quality of life is a real issue. Few of us will have the deal my two 90-plus-year-old friends have.

But never fear: Another Grill patron had the best advice I have heard about how to make that many years work.

Dwight, an 87-year-old Marine and Korea veteran (whose age was also a surprise), says you need a good partner, good friends and a reason to get up every morning.

Thank you, Dwight. Well said.

So to all of you who are fretting about retirement funding, you’re not alone. Here’s my advice: Spend as much time preparing as you do worrying and you’ll be light-years ahead of those who do not.

See? It’s a nice, tame one this week.

Good investing,

Steve