How many people do you know who are living well into their 80s or 90s or knocking on 100?
I bet it’s far more than you knew two or three decades ago.
While this is nothing more than anecdotal, you know from within your own family and social circles that life expectancies are on the rise.
Is it too far-fetched to think in 20 years’ time we’ll be asking how many people do you know who are over 100 or knocking on 110 or older?
I don’t think so.
But what if I posed the question, have you considered the prospect of living to 130 or older?
Right about now you are starting to have serious doubts about my cognitive capabilities.
Well as ridiculous and nonsensical it may sound today — and the emphasis is on ‘today’ — medical science is changing our tomorrow…more quickly than most realise.
Dr Mike Roizen is the Chief Wellness officer of the prestigious Cleveland Clinic (and also Oprah’s personal physician).
Here’s Dr Roizen’s insight into the progress science is making on anti-ageing (emphasis is mine):
‘Since 1860, we’ve been on a straight path of gaining 2.5 years of life every 10 years. If you have children or grandchildren under the age of five, with no change in this trend, a five-year-old today will live to 105. However, we expect that trend to break higher to a much longer life expectancy. And it is very possible that by the year 2035, you will be able to be half the age you are now physiologically.’
Think about that for a moment. In a little over 15 years’ time, you could be half the physiological age you are today.
If you’re 60 today, that means at age 75 you’ll feel like a 30-year-old.
Unbelievable? Maybe. Let’s say he’s a tad optimistic and at age 75 you feel and look like a 50-year-old. It’s still a quantum leap from where we are at today.
Dr Roizen published this chart to support of his claim on an exponential increase in life expectancy…
Source: CMG Wealth
Over the next decade, medical science on average is expected to tack an extra 30 years onto our lives.
30 more years to watch the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids grow up. 30 more years with your spouse…for some that could be a blessing and for others, a terrifying prospect.
And 30 more years to fund your retirement lifestyle…now that’s a daunting prospect most are not prepared for.
Where does the money come from to provide an age pension for three generations of retirees…millennials, Gen Xers and boomers?
There are certain to be many unintended consequences — good and bad — associated with living well beyond 100.
Rather than delve into those today, let’s look at why every year we stay above ground, the prospect of living longer increases.
Test how old you really are
In addition to his role at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr Roizen is also on the Advisory Board for a group called Sharecare.
The topics section of Sharecare has a wealth of information on health related issues.
Worth checking out.
One of the tools available on the Sharecare site is the…RealAge Score.
The detailed — free of charge — questionnaire is designed to assess your body’s ‘real’ age as opposed to your calendar age.
This is the screenshot of my RealAge Score…apparently, I’m seven years and six months younger than my calendar age. Good news.
Does being physically younger than my actual age increase my life expectancy?
To check that out, I went to the My Longevity site to complete the SHAPE test.
Surroundings. Health. Attitude. Parents. Eating.
This test is also free.
When you receive the result there’s an option to subscribe for an annual $52 membership.
I haven’t taken up the offer.
Here are my SHAPE results.
Source: My Longevity
Again, good news.
The SHAPE prediction has me living until 94…that’s 10 years longer than the average 62-year-old male.
According to the estimate, the next 32 years of my life can be divided into three stages:
Able — 19 years…to age 81
Less Able — nine years…to age 89
Dependent — four years…to age 94.
However, if the ‘trend is to break higher to a much longer life expectancy’, the SHAPE guesstimate could prove to be highly inaccurate.
Over the course of the next three decades, it’s not unreasonable to expect medical science to make further advancements in unlocking our genetic code.
Therefore, it’s possible that I and/or my wife could live well past 100.
From what I’ve read on the ageing process, 80 could become the new 60 and 100 could be the new 70.
Another who is pioneering the science on anti-ageing is Professor David Sinclair PhD.
Sinclair is a professor at the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics and codirector of the Paul E Glenn Center for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging…he’s also an Aussie.
He is the author of the best-selling book Lifespan…Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To.
For me, the book was a page turner. Yes, at times, the going can get a little heavy on the scientific side. However, you get the gist of it and turn the page.
Professor Sinclair contends that Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and diabetes are all symptoms of a much greater disease.
To quote from the book (emphasis added):
‘Why would we choose to focus on problems [individual diseases] that impact small groups of people if we could address the problem that impacts everyone — especially if, in doing so, we could significantly impact all those other, smaller problems?
‘I believe that aging is a disease. I believe it is treatable. I believe we can treat it within our lifetimes. And in doing so, I believe, everything we know about human health will be fundamentally changed.’
If we can cure the disease of ageing, then the sicknesses associated with ageing (cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc) may no longer pose the same level of threat to us.
And it’s not just Professor Sinclair and his learned colleagues who are dedicating time, energy and dollars into unlocking the body’s code to reversing the ageing process.
The Times reported in December 2020 (emphasis added):
‘What would you do to live for ever — or at least to improve your health and extend your life? While most of us are spending our time emptying chocolate boxes and snaffling Christmas puddings, some are expending time and effort into strange attempts to extend healthy life. Many are based in Silicon Valley, the home of tech giants and of Calico, a Google-backed company that has spent the past seven years researching the biology of ageing.’
The prospect of living much longer is a reality we all have to consider seriously.
Will your capital die before you?
We should be planning to finance our lifestyle for at least another 40 or 50 or possibly even 60 or more years.
The SKI — spend kids’ inheritance — mentality is definitely not appropriate for a world of indefinite longevity.
And if we’re also on the verge of this type of market event…
Or this one…
Then retirees run the very real risk of their capital dying well before they do.
The choices we make could mean the difference between living longer in prosperity or poverty.
Editor, The Rum Rebellion
Vern is also the Editor of The Gowdie Letter and The Gowdie Advisory — investment services designed to help everyday Australians avoid the financial pitfalls of a volatile economy and make informed decisions to grow their wealth for generations to come.