Many Americans are afraid of the extra time a longer life is giving them, suggests a new report by the Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.
Americans are getting as much as 30 extra years’ life than past generations did, but their fears about money and a lack of planning are putting a damper on that extra time, according to “The Gift of Time,” a study whose findings Allianz announced on Monday.
Seventy percent of Americans are not financially prepared to live to 100 or longer. These financial fears keep them from taking risks or following their dreams, Allianz says. At the same time, Americans have a clear understanding that preparation, self-discipline and a longevity plan are the keys to longer, more fulfilling lives.
“‘The Gift of Time’ confirms that having a solid financial plan addressing longevity can remove major barriers for many Americans, allowing them to take risks that ultimately lead to a more fulfilled life,” says Katie Libbe, Allianz Life’s vice president of consumer insights. “Having a better understanding of longevity also gives people the chance to think of retirement in a new way. Americans have the time to create a strategy that considers nontraditional opportunities such as an encore career or, [for younger people], taking a gap year after school.”
Seventy-two percent of the 3,000 people responding to the survey say they do not have a financial advisor. However, they say they would be more willing to hire an advisor if he or she helped them find solutions that could create guaranteed income for life (something wanted by 47 percent of respondents), helped plan for and fund a longer life (wanted by 34 percent), and helped with finances throughout life stages (wanted by 31 percent).
“No matter the age, getting help to establish the right longevity plan can build a foundation that meets both long- and short-term goals,” Libbe says. “This gives people the chance to do things they’ve always wanted to do, like be a stay-at-home parent or pursue a different career.”
In a radical departure from tradition, Allianz says 49 percent of respondents are open to living life in a different order than they usually take for learning, working, marrying and raising children. Worry about money was the top barrier to doing this, according to 46 percent of respondents. Others cite intruding “life events” and a “fear of failure” as getting in the way.
“Having 30 extra years opens the door to taking a nontraditional life path,” Libbe says. “Now, more than any other time in history, people can create a strategy that gives them the chance to live their adult lives on their own terms—not according to traditional or societal standards.”