Exploring the Implications of Longer Life

As longer life expectancy grows, we look at the implications of longer life on how we work, live and learn.

According to a poll fielded by the Longevity Project, a new initiative developed in collaboration with the Stanford Center on Longevity (SCL).  The mission of the Longevity Project is to generate research and foster public dialogue on the far-reaching impact of increased longevity.

Some key results of the Longevity Project

The number of people over the age of 65 will soon exceed the under of people aged under 18 for the first time in history – a change more frequently viewed as a negative outcome than a positive one.

Lower retirement age

As the number of people over the age of 55 will soon become the largest segment of the workforce, nearly a quarter (23%) think the retirement age should be lowered to make room for younger workers.

Reimagining life

Laura Carstensen, Professor of Psychology at Stanford and the founding director of SCL has said that

“With people living longer and healthier, we have a unique opportunity to reimagine healthy, successful century long lives. But we can’t achieve what we can’t imagine, and we are pleased to help launch this initiative to foster public understanding and engagement on longevity.”

Through research, conferences and events, the Longevity Project will engage with government and business leaders on the policies and methods for supporting longer life. Conferences will include the Century Summit and Longevity Next, the first longevity conference focused on engaging millennials and Generation X about the implications of longer life.

Partners in project

Ken Stern, co-chair of the Longevity Project expressed his pride in how a growing coalition of organizations including the Stanford Center on Longevity, the Urban Institute, Morning Consult, the National Academy of Medicine, and a group of forward thinking companies comprised of Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo, and Instructure had come together to launch this important initiative.


The project’s first poll underscores a disconnect between public perceptions of aging and the real influence of longer lifespan. A decade ago, a Pew Research Center poll put the beginning of “old age” at 68.

The Longevity Project’s respondents pegged the answer at a younger age, 66 — a surprising change in an era in which many people in their 60s and 70s continue to play a significant role in public life.

Other key findings of the Longevity Project include:

Learning and work converge

Jennifer Goldsmith, Chief Strategy Officer of Instructure explained that there is an increasing convergence between learning and work.

Employers are vital for continuing education. 59% of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that they expect their employers to provide educational opportunities to advance their careers, with the strongest support coming from younger respondents (71% support in the age 18-29).

Financial security

Heightened emphasis on lifelong financial security. 59% of respondents – including 65% of respondents age 18-29 — identified financial security as “very important” to a successful, long life.

Workers are facing the prospect of both a longer life expectancy and a self-funded retirement, consistent so, saving and long-term financial wellness are more important than ever,

Having a long-term financial plan and finding reliable financial advice are among the most important actions that workers can take today to ensure they are prepared for a long retirement, explained said TKTK with Wells Fargo.

State pensions

People around the world are living longer and enjoying lifestyles that are as unique as their personalities. Many people will find themselves spending more years in retirement than in traditional careers, so it is not surprising that there is concern about the adequacy of public and private sources of retirement funding.

Only 23% of respondents – and 19% of those age 18-29 — believe that they will have the opportunity and resources to be able to retire at or before age 65. Concern about the

That creates unique challenges to lifelong financial security, a necessary building block for living a healthy 100-year life,” said Dan Houston, president, chairman, and CEO of Principal Financial Group.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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