Statistics on Centenarians Don’t Always Make Sence

While it’s true that people, in general, are living longer than ever, unfortunately there’s no guarantee that applies to everyone across the board.

A recent study showed men and women in the lower 25 percent of socioeconomic status have not achieved the same average longevity as those in the highest quarter. We believe the reason this type of data is important is because raising the full retirement age for Social Security benefits may create a disadvantage for lower-income Americans.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “Does a Uniform Retirement Age Make Sense?” from Centre for Retirement Research at Boston College, January 2016.]

In our opinion, retirement income planning is not just something wealthy people should do. We believe individuals at every income level can reasonably expect to retire. But those without sufficient retirement assets may have to rely more on government benefits, including Social Security.

If you’re reading this blog, you may be thinking about your own retirement income planning. As a financial professional, we are here to help you create a retirement income strategy that you can feel confident about through the use of insurance products.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Retirement Benefits” from Social Security Administration, January 2015.]

Meanwhile, despite what the statistics say, even those who are in the lowest quartile can live to 100 and beyond. Just look at some of the oldest people alive today. Currently, the oldest man is 112. Did he live an easy life? In a word — no.

Israel Kristal was separated from his parents at age 11 and spent years confined to slave labor at Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Having survived WWII, he moved to Israel and built up a confectionary business until he retired. Kristal will turn 113 in September.

The world’s oldest woman lives in Brooklyn, New York. After working a series of domestic jobs, Susannah Mushatt Jones retired in 1965. She is currently 116 years old.

According to Guinness World Records (August 2015), the oldest living male twins are 102. Pierre and Paul Langerock live in Belgium, both worked as court magistrates and are best friends to this day. Their advice for a long life? “Don’t waste your time fooling around, don’t eat too much and don’t run after women.”

It just goes to show that no one really knows how to predict who will live long and who won’t — regardless of socioeconomic status. In fact, there is growing discrepancy as to what age is even considered “old.” In a recent poll, the majority of centenarians say they didn’t start feeling like they were old until age 87.


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