Trends in Today’s Aging Americans
Everyone who works with seniors knows that the American population is older than ever before, but what are the broader implications of this upward aging trend? How can people over 65 and their advocates optimize the retirement years? Dan Veto, a senior advisor for Age Wave, addressed these questions in depth at the Life Insurance Settlement Association (LISA) Life Settlement and Compliance Conference, held in Orlando in October.
Age Wave, considered one of the nation’s leading thought leaders on the aging U.S. population, engages in relevant research and consulting for a variety of industries that seek to enrich the lives of individuals over 65. Veto’s keynote was geared toward helping attendees understand how to best serve seniors in a rapidly changing demographic landscape. Early in his talk, Veto set the stage by pointing out that “two-thirds of the people in the history of the world who have attained the age of 65 are alive today.”
Research from Age Wave shows that 57 percent of seniors regard the retirement years as a new chapter in life, full of opportunity, versus “a winding down of life”(20 percent) or “a continuance of what life was” (23 percent).
More seniors surveyed about the factors that disrupted their work and retirement plans indicated that a personal health problem forced them to make different choices, and a gap exists between expectation and reality regarding the eventual need for long-term care. While just 37 percent of seniors believe they will need long-term care at some point, 70 percent actually do need it, and therefore many are ill-equipped for the financial demands.
The convergence of a multitude of factors, including rising health care costs, the age wave in America, and the growing gap between the average retirement age and average life span, has raised the profile of life settlements as a valuable option for seniors looking to meet unexpected needs and write the best possible last chapter for their lives.
“These social and economic trends create rising opportunities for life settlements as an option for some seniors who may benefit from an ‘equity release’ of a life insurance policy,” he said. “This may be an option for them to generate income to help fund their retirements.”