With constant advances in medicine, the human race is outliving its life-expectancy and then some. While most of us would likely choose to live forever if given the chance, the fountain of youth (unfortunately) doesn't exist. Therefore, just as we're celebrating living longer, we're also faced with the hard actualities that come with life at older and older ages.
Yes, modern medicine is keeping hearts pumping and lungs breathing while also strengthening bones to hold us up for an extra decade or two. However, simply being alive doesn't equal being able-bodied enough to earn a living, and that's where we encounter a significant wrinkle (pun intended).
The retirement years
used to be called 'the golden years,' because workers put a significant amount of money toward their retirement savings (many via 401Ks) and steadily paid down their mortgages until their homes were paid off.
Even now, many people are able to enter retirement rather comfortably. Typically, though, many retirees soon realize that their monthly expenditures
are dipping a little too far into their savings each month. At first, this isn't a problem, and it may never become
an issue for those retirees who live to a "normal" age.
For those older Americans defying their expected life span, however, planning for several extra decades of living wasn't on their radar when they were young and generating income. Pensions that were calculated during their working years simply isn't enough to last as long as they're living.
If you have aging parents
who are pushing the odds and living longer than you ever dreamed - consider yourself lucky to have your loved one(s) around! You may become responsible for their care - or at least their finances - if they live well into their 90s or even to 100 and beyond.
You may have to contend with independent-minded adults who want to continue living on their own and caring for themselves. The problem, of course, becomes how to financially make that happen. At this late stage in the game, it's difficult to fix the fact that your parents simply didn't plan on living so long. You may have to move one or both of your parents
into your home if a retirement home is not desired and/or feasible.
The important takeaway from the fact that people are living longer and running out of money is this: YOU still have time to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to you and your spouse.
While it may seem impossible to pack away any more money for retirement than you already are, you might be surprised. Talk to a financial planner now, while you're still smack dab in the middle of your money-making years. You likely still have time to advance your career upwards in order to increase your income.
You can also consider taking a second job, even if only temporarily, or during summers, in order to pad your retirement account
substantially. Your financial advisor will be able to put you on a course to save as much money as possible with the assumption that you, too, will be living a long (and now prosperous) life.