All evidence indicates that the subset of the American population who seek out financial advisors tend to enjoy longer lives. The human qualities of personal initiative, hard work, education and thrift aren’t distributed evenly, but individuals possessing those traits are destined to enjoy longer, better retirements.

So observed Nick Murray at Financial Advisor’s annual Inside Retirement conference in Atlanta on May 1.

Education is believed to play a major role in longevity. No, your clients aren’t living longer because they read Hemingway and listen to Vivaldi. There’s a correlation between someone with these interests and someone who lives a longer life, but correlation is different from causality.

One can argue all day about what’s fair and what isn’t, but when it comes to retirement, “inequality is baked into the cake,” Murray noted.

For financial advisors, the biggest challenge facing today’s clients is increasing the odds that long lives are high-quality lives.  “Most of you are going to sail through your 80s into your 90s, and some will live into your 100s,” Dr. Laura Carstensen, professor of psychology and public policy at Stanford University and director of its Center on Longevity, told attendees at Financial Advisor’s fifth annual Invest in Women conference in Atlanta, also on May 1.

When set against the backdrop of human history, long lives have come about incredibly fast. In just 150 years, life expectancy has doubled. “It’s an amazing cultural achievement. Only humans could complain about this,” she said.

For the first time, families are seeing four, even five generations, alive at the same time. This changes obligations and alters the compact among generations. With so much going on in the middle of life, especially for working women, grandparents are playing a more important role in child-rearing.

Society is still trying to catch up with changing longevity. Stairs, Carstensen observed, are built for 25-year-olds.

Many of the myths about aging are based on historical evidence, not modern reality. Thirty years ago, older workers were less educated. That gap has disappeared, she argued. Older people are smarter today.

First « 1 2 3 4 » Next