3 facts about retirement in the 21st century

October 2, 2015

Our world is aging, and with it getting older. Here's some things about the changing face of retirement that you might not have known.

3 facts about retirement in the 21st century

Planet senior

  • Worldwide, the number of people 65 and older is increasing faster than any other demographic group, particularly in developed countries.
  • By 2030, 12 out of every 100 people will be 65 or older, nearly double the percentage in 2000. In North America and Europe, that figure will be one in five.
  • Throughout the developed world, those 85 and older are the fastest growing age group now.

The future of retirement

  • Retiring to the golf course is being replaced with working part-time, flexible hours, active volunteering and pursuing new interests and new friendships.
  • Sedentary vacations, like bus tours and cruising the islands, are giving way to bike trips through wine country, volunteer missions to build houses in South America, and mini college semesters at Harvard to learn about the Middle East.
  • You're less likely than your parents and grandparents to find yourself living with a disability or in poverty.
  • You're more likely to have completed college a marker for successful aging.

Reaching triple digits

  • In the year 2000, the United Nations estimated that there were more than 180,000 people above the age of 100 throughout the world, a figure that will jump to 3.2 million by the year 2050.
  • Estimates are that only 1 in about 10,000 people will reach this golden age.
  • Despite dozens of studies on centenarians, there doesn't seem to be a typical life pattern or history shared by long-lived folks but there some similarities.

The centenarian advantage

People who live to 100 and beyond tend to:

  • Have less complaints about pain and discomfort than younger people with fewer disabilities
  • Remain intellectually stimulated
  • Maintain satisfying social relationships
  • Keep their interests in creative activities
  • Have few sleep problems
  • Rarely become anxious or depressed
  • Find great solace in their religious faith
  • Be financially secure
  • Believe that they can be happy
  • Be extroverted

We're heading into a new world of aging. There are no road maps or rules for this new world. But never fear: You won't be alone.

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