Retirement Length Expected to Reach 30 Years for Aging Americans?

The amount of time Americans spend in retirement is on the rise, and many aren’t aware of how it could affect their long term plans. 

With life expectancy increasing and many seniors opting to enter retirement near age 62, seniors are spending more money and resources on health care as they are living longer with the illnesses and disabilities that come with aging.

“Now we have more of a 30 year retirement period we are looking at, ” said Shawn Britt of Nationwide. “People are living longer and there was a time that we projected a 20 year retirement period where people would retire at 65, the husband would die by 85. Most Americans are now retiring at 62.”

The 30-year retirement period shows a sizable increase from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2000 average retirement period of 18.7 years. 

Today, when couples reach age 65, there is a 50% chance one spouse will live to age 92 and a 25% chance one spouse will live to age 97, Britt says, citing research from Senior Capital Services.

Because an increased number of years spent in retirement could also mean an increase in the amount of health care costs seniors pay, it is important for aging Americans and those in the industry to plan for this new, longer retirement.

“As people age into their 80’s, it increases the amount of money they need to survive,” said Britt. “This isn’t something people are aware of. The aging of America really has an impact on how we have to plan.”

While life expectancy for both men and women has increased, women have a longer life expectancy than men, and should be realistic in realizing they will most likely face greater health care costs than their husband, according to Britt.

“It’s important that people understand what they’re really facing. They need to understand that women are going to live longer than men, and their health care costs will be more. Women are going to have more costs than men are.”

 Written by Erin Hegarty