Your life expectancy has massive implications for everything. In particular, the time you will have to do all the things you want to in life and how much money you are going to need to do those things.
A common theme I experience with my clients is that they can’t see themselves living well into their nineties. The feeling is stronger if they have had family members die younger than expected.
I find a lot of people base their life expectancy on that of their parents.
My grandfather recently passed away having suffered in the last few years with Alzheimer’s. He was 87. Does this mean my father is destined for the disease and then myself?
Do I accept and plan for living to my late eighties?
When researching this topic there seems to be a consensus that your life expectancy will be impacted by three parts:
A number of experts in the area indicate that your genetics will only have a 33% impact on your life expectancy. Although some put it at less than 10%.
Much more powerful will be the environment you live in and your lifestyle (e.g. diet and exercise routine).
So if your parents were smokers and you are not then you have immediately increased your life expectancy compared to that of your parents.
Interestingly, of those that do follow their parents life expectancy closely, it’s usually not because of inheriting the same genes, it’s more because they followed their parents lifestyle.
If your parents eat healthy then you are more likely to eat healthy. If your parents keep fit, you are more likely to keep fit.
Looking back further, have you ever done a bit of amateur genealogy and looked into your family tree?
I can always remember an episode of the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ where Eastenders actor Danny Dyer found he was related to King EdwardIII!
An analysis of 54 million public family trees on the website Ancestry.com found that the heritability of life span is considerably less than widely thought.
It found that your life expectancy was likely to be far more closer to your partner and other non-blood relatives like brothers and sisters -in-law than that of your parents and blood relatives.
The reason being is that as a couple you are likely to share the same lifestyle.
Now there does appear to be certain diseases that are more likely to be hereditary like breast cancer for example. Although this is still only thought to be responsible for 5%-10% of breast cancer cases.
Of course nowadays even if you have inherited genes that are more likely to impact your life expectancy we have seen huge advances in medicine and early detection.
I see the main part of my job as a Financial Planner to be helping clients live the life of their dreams without money worries.
I want my clients to use the wealth they have sacrificed and saved hard to build to really enjoy themselves in retirement as you never know what is around the corner.
Having said that, for the majority of people, you are much more likely to be alive tomorrow than not. So we need to find a balance of ensuring you don’t run out of money before you run out of life.
For a couple retiring aged 65 there is a 10% chance at least one of you will still be alive at age 99 (source: Timeline App). That’s 34 years in retirement! Almost the same time as your working career.
A long time for your retirement savings to last.
That’s why it’s crucial you have a plan to get there. If you live a reasonably healthy life then it’s time to stop thinking of not being around in your late eighties and start planning to live to your late nineties!
We have invested lots of time and money in the technology we use with clients to not only factor in all of the financial markets data but also the studies on life expectancy.
We can simulate how you will be financially if you do make it towards age 100 and beyond. My job is to get you there without risk of running out of money but also enjoying yourself at the same time.
Is your retirement plan on track and has it been stress tested? If not, please schedule a no obligation, no cost 15-minute call and we’ll see if we can help.
Stock market linked investments and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Any figures quoted are for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as a forecast or guarantee. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future returns and clients may get back less than they have invested.