The Economic Realities of Longer Life Spans

New York elder law issues are changing as the realities of senior living in America change. The aging process today is simply different than it was a few decades ago–those planning for their golden years must understand those differences.

Perhaps the most obvious change is significant advances in life expectancy. As a result of better treatment options (and more access to care), individuals can expect to live longer than in the past. While a longer life is obviously welcome, it undeniably comes with planning challenges. Those issues are made even more challenging when one considers that the lack of preparation on a government-wide level to account for an influx of elderly individuals. It is becoming more and more important for community members to take matters into their own hands when it comes to elder care planning and preparations for retirement and beyond.

A recent Wall Street Journal blog post touched on the wide-ranging realities of longer living. An sober assessment must admit that senior’s longer living has ramifications for entire communities–from the old to the young.

A research study published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives explains the unique challenges we face now as opposed to in the past. Life expectancies have been growing for nearly a century. However, in the past, that was accomplished by lowering infant and child mortality rates. The typical death rate for seniors remained constant. This meant that more young individuals were able to work, make money, and help support seniors. But longer life expectancies now are not caused by improvements in minimizing early deaths in youth. Instead, it is coming from lengthening of life for seniors. This is a great advance for those who are able to enjoy more life, but it comes with a less beneficial economic impact. Many wonder how more seniors in need of care will be able to pay for it.

The study’s author notes, “It is not clear, however, that the U.S. or other high-income countries even further along in the new demographic transition are reshaping their policies and institutions sufficiently in response to the longevity transition”

The main issue is that retirement ages are not yet rising with increasing life expectancies. Logically, more economic resources are needed to sustain longer retirements. It is difficult, for example, to finance a twenty five year retirement with a thirty five year career.

Our New York elder law estate planning lawyers know that all of this means tough decisions need to be made soon. Public resources will undoubtedly be strained, and so individual planning will increase in importance. Encouragingly though, options exist. Individuals can put away more for retirement, work can be lengthened, or end of life goals can be altered. But nothing will be accomplished if one sits idly by and is not proactive.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Helping Aging Parents with Money

Credit Card Fraud Among the Elderly on the Rise

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