The dramatic increases in people’s life spans over the last century were, at first, heralded as unmitigated good news. Yet the news has become worrying to those who need their lifetime income to stretch that much further. The news also means more stress for the aging children of elderly parents, for pension funds and for governments. And the solutions adequate to the challenges of increased longevity are by no means fully integrated into our nation’s policies.

To an unprecedented degree around the globe, people are approaching what we used to call “the retirement years” with mortgages, with aging and often unprepared parents and with dependent or partially dependent children.

Longer lives must now be an important part of the calculus when we’re figuring out our clients’ financial solutions. (See Figure 1.) These new calculations will greatly affect how clients invest and spend money—their financial capital—in retirement. The anticipation of increased longevity will also change how clients view the long arc of their working years. This phenomenon has even prompted structural changes at our own firm. Our clients’ changing needs mean we must offer new services—which, as it turns out, are a bit of an operational handful.

We have seen the “Age of Longevity” paradigm unfold for more than a decade and have been asking what we can do to help our clients address it. In parallel, we’ve recognized that our firm needs to grow to contend with our clients’ changing needs. The processes we are setting in motion are still relatively new—some are still in the conceiving and planning stages. One strong area of focus is on creating a model for family support services, and creating the internal capabilities to oversee this new responsibility.

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