Lately, my readings have taken me to books and articles that highlight health technologies and how they’re shaping the future. One thing is clear: as a result of major advances in computer technology and scientific breakthroughs, healthcare solutions are exploding.
For example, while the COVID-19 pandemic the world experienced in 2020-21 has been tragic, the recent invention of gene editing tools helped enable a vaccine within one year of the virus’s breakout. That achievement is unprecedented and bodes well for future solutions.
Going forward, thanks to the convergence of recent technologies like artificial intelligence, gene editing and gene therapy, it’s no longer outlandish to think that awful diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s could be eradicated completely or at least significantly controlled through treatments.
These healthcare advances will be a tremendous benefit to humankind[i], but also present a financial challenge: if you can potentially be retired for 40 or 50 years, how do you ensure you don’t run out of money?
For many Americans, company pension plans, which provided employer-guaranteed income for life, have been replaced with defined compensation (e.g., 401(k)) plans. The newer plans are not guaranteed and place the responsibility for saving from the employer to the employee. As a result, many retirees don’t have a company pension benefit to rely upon.
Social security is an essential benefit to all Americans, but the growing national debt (approaching $30 trillion) forces us to recognize that, at some point in the future, we may be facing either a reduction of benefits or additional taxation to pay for it.
All of these things need to be considered when preparing to live longer. There are a number of solutions to help you prepare for a long retirement, but planning early is essential. It is critical that you have a financial plan that addresses not only whether you have enough money, but also maps out your insurance needs, debt management and estate planning. Having a good plan is the best place to start.
As always, I’m here to help. If you have any questions or wish to discuss this further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
[i] To be sure, longer life expectancy presents other non-financial challenges as well (e.g., environmental and population challenges), but I believe new technologies will address these issues also. I’m optimistic!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.