The Healthy Boomer Brain
The Online Shift

All Hail the Centenarians


Characters-3533352_1920We've all been focused on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of late due to the pandemic -- so this is one piece of data from the CDC you may have missed: The growth of the country's 100-plus age group is impressive; it has increased by 44 percent since 2000. There are currently about 92,000 centenarians in the U.S., 80 percent of whom are women.

Reaching the ripe old age of 100 was unthinkable for our parents, and it still may be out of reach for many Boomers. But hitting the century mark is not out of the question, even for us. We don't have direct control over that chronological achievement -- as much as 40 to 50 percent of longevity is due to genetic factors, according to Dr. Thomas Perls, professor of medicine and geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, as quoted in The New York Times. Perls said about one in 5,000 Americans are likely to make it to 100 years of age.

Still, whether we reach 100 or not, most of us are living much longer than previous generations, and that mans we need to look at life differently. Consultant Mitch Anthony, author of "Life Centered Financial Planning," told John Wasik of The Times there are three important questions we need to answer: "What do you want out of life, what gives you joy, and how do you pay for it?"

Research suggests that having a sense of purpose, finding personal happiness, and remaining active and vital all contribute to living a longer life. Still, two of the biggest challenges as we age are health and money. A majority of Boomers think they want to "age in place" -- a nice thought, but certainly more difficult as the aging process progresses. In addition, failing health almost inevitably is associated with aging. Dr. Perls offers "TheLivingTo100" calculator to assess potential longevity based on forty health and lifestyle factors.

As for money, well, even those of us who have wisely engaged a financial planner may be surprised to learn that we could quite possibly outlive our nest egg. James Brewer, a certified financial planner with Envision Wealth Planning in Chicago, told The Times, "A lot can happen over ten decades, especially over the last three. It's important to review your wealth-transfer and personal wishes annually." Obviously, any financial plan should include not just an annual review but a periodic projection of how long your money might be expected to last. It's best to know about potential shortfalls early enough so you can take corrective action.

One thing we can all be confident of: Living until or even past 100 is becoming more and more possible every day. We can also be pretty sure that turning 100 is not for sissies!

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay is a Wearever Top 20 Senior Blog and a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog

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