A few years back Helene Larochelle and I did this cool animation for HSBC Bank Canada based on their ground-breaking study on retirement.
The most riveting finding was that as people live longer, the requirement for income to support those extra years means most of us won’t actually be able to retire. We will have to continue working into our 80s.
The retirement model that we have all grown comfortable with, whereby we retire at 65 and wander along beaches dressed in white with our elegantly silvered partner, sweaters looped casually around our shoulders, was based on a life-expectancy of 72, which meant that even early retirees, say those who had enough money to call it quits at 55, still only had 17 years of income to contend with.
Today, if you live to the age of 70 in Canada you have a 46% chance of living to 80. If you hit 80, there’s a further 52% chance you’ll make it to 90! That’s where advances in health care and biotechnology really get traction. Cancer will get you at 65 or you’re good for 100.
Let’s face it, we are going to have to work forever to pay for living forever.
Is it worth it?
Don’t you secretly envy your grandparents who hauled in the shingle at 65 and retired to their backyards to work on their horseshoe game?
Or perhaps you are one of those people who love their job so much that you want to carry on until you drop dead at your desk, already dressed smartly for your own funeral.
One thing is certain. Advertising won’t be a young person’s business when the silver tsunami washes up on our shores. As life expectancy goes off the charts, our need will increase for people experienced in marketing to seniors. There will no doubt be brand new sub-categories of senior’s marketing. You’ll soon be middle-aged in your 60’s.
Society as a whole is about to be transformed by our species’ advancing age: housing, transportation, nutrition, family planning.
There is a lively and healthy discussion going on about this very topic courtesy of Ideo. Check it out.