Two-thirds of all the people who ever lived to 65 years old in the history of the world are alive today, AgeWave’s Maddy Dychtwald told attendees at Financial Advisor's 9th annual Inside Retirement conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

It raises the question, how old is old? When Dychtwald and her husband Ken founded AgeWave in 1986, many people considered 50 or 60 to be old. Today, old is “older than I am,” Dychtwald said.

Yet it’s not clear if most people have seriously considered considered what it means to live a really long life. “Can we imagine that it could be cool to be older?” she asked.

The New Time Clock

Dychtwald identified five key changes arising from what she called the “longevity bonus.” The first is what she called a “new time clock.” Retirement at 65 probably doesn’t make sense like it once did.

People now intend to delay retirement, according to AgeWave’s research. Where 64 was viewed as the optimal retirement age a decade ago, today it is 68. And 46 percent of boomers say they would consider finding a different line of work in their "post-retirement" years, while 54 percent want to remain in the same field.

What are people supposed to do with their longevity bonus? The linear life plan made sense when “life was short,” she said.

New Work-Life Design

But with another 10 or even 20 years of life ahead of them, people need to rethink their work-life design. Dychtwald said longevity should empower people to go back to school and reinvent themselves.

Only 29 percent of Americans today desire a traditional retirement. Flex-time is important, Dychtwald said, as 39 percent said they want part-time work and another 24 percent want to cycle back and forth between work and leisure. Only 8 percent want to continue working full-time while 29 percent never want to to work for pay again.

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