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The future of retirement in an era of longevity

As Americans live longer, the roadmap to life needs an update.

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In 1889, the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck changed the world. He introduced the “Old Age Insurance Law,” which laid the foundation for the concept of retirement: at a certain age, work ends, and society supports you. Over the last 140 years, planning for retirement has changed dramatically. In 1939 change came to America, when Ida Fuller became the first monthly recipient of Social Security. Then in the following decades, there was the advent of private pensions, IRAs, and the now-ubiquitous 401(k). Today, as Social Security and other paragons of American retirement face changes, 21st-century citizens will need to re-frame the concept of financial well-being in retirement.

Technology has already changed 21st-century life, sometimes in ways that aren’t immediately recognizable. For example, in America and around the world a massive demographic shift is happening. Today, Americans are living longer than previous generations, and the future for millennials is even brighter. 1 in 5 can expect to live to the ripe old age of 90. However, this newfound longevity raises some questions. If the standard age of retirement holds at 65, the length of retirement may stretch to thirty years or more. That’ll increase the total cost of retirement. And right now, nearly 56% of people haven’t even started saving for retirement.

But there is hope. Anne Ackerley, Head of Retirement at BlackRock, is responsible for developing retirement strategies for over 15 million Americans. She’s ahead of the curve when it comes to planning for financial well-being in the future. “Everyone has a role to play in helping to address the retirement crisis. People need to save more, but financial companies can do their part by developing tools that can help make saving for retirement easier. Just as technology has transformed industries from ride hailing to payments, technology can transform the way Americans plan for retirement.” This forward-thinking approach is meant to transform the way Americans think about saving, so that more will actually start.

So what is in store for Americans in the 21st century? The solution will include not just making saving and investing easier, but breaking from traditional life phases so that it’s more common for people to enter the workforce earlier, take breaks from careers to gain additional training and education, and work beyond the standard retirement age. With new options, powered by companies like BlackRock, millions of Americans can experience financial well-being and prepare for a stable and sustained retirement.


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