22 Facts About Longevity (And How it Affects Retirement)
Athletes retire then come out of retirement all the time. Not mentioning any names, #12. And a recent Forbes article used Tom Brady’s up-and-down path to show how retirement plans often change. Tons of reasons. One key factor is longevity.
Longevity dipped in the past few years but we live longer than Americans decades ago. Also, if we’re lucky, we are in good health heading into our 60s. This affects how much money we need to save to retire. There’s more though. If we live ten or twenty years longer than past generations, how we spend that time has been affected by our longevity.
Today, we look at 22 facts about longevity to help us frame what retirement can hold for us in the coming years beyond 2023.
*Historical look at U.S. longevity
Men’s Longevity + Meals’ Effect (USA)
Tom Brady has shown what’s possible with men’s longevity. It’s no accident he played a brutal sport longer than most NFL players in history. Some say because it was basically illegal to hit him but let’s not forget his commitment to an uber-healthy lifestyle.
Taking care of your body now pays dividends when you do retire. A healthy body and mind will be a blessing whether you continue to work, play golf, or plan to hang out with grandkids.
Fact #1 Men aged 18 and over who currently smoke cigarettes: 13.1% (2021, CDC)
#2 Men aged 20 and over with obesity: 40.5% (2015-2018 CDC)
There is work to do. Many medications extend life, but what we put in our bodies will affect our quality of life. If not now, eventually.
Yet, there are countless ways to turn things around if we pay attention to healthy habits and longevity enhancers. Food matters.
Fact #3 One study found those who eat up to three ounces of fish daily live longest, aided by omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
#4 One massive study showed that nuts helped reduced risk of dying from cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease by 20%.
#5 People who consumed extra virgin olive oil lived an average of 9.5 years longer after the age of 65.
Good stuff in. Good results out. That’s how longevity works. Tom Brady is known to avoid alcohol and drink two gallons of water daily. He also credits flexibility training with his so-called luck in avoiding on-field injuries.
Luck does play a role for many though…
Ken is a veterinarian, a friend of a friend, who came out of retirement a couple years ago. The reason? Reasons, plural. He was needed by the animal clinic he left and after six months he was bored stiff.
Oh, one reason he retired was the lemon-sized brain tumor. Thankfully, he had a successful surgery and got a clean bill of health. It was smart to focus on his health and retirement would have given him time to do that. Plus, freed him up to enjoy his most vital activities if he didn’t have much time left.
Turns out, his work was one of his most vital activities. Because he came back to it once he was able. My friend said the guy looked ten years younger when he saw him recently. A new lease on life plus being back focused on his purpose helped.
What About a Few Fast Facts on Women’s Longevity?
Fact #6 Women absorb more alcohol from drinks as compared to men = higher risk of liver damage.
#7 About 80 percent of centenarians are women.
#8 Women outlive their male partners, on average.
One rarely-mentioned reason for number 8? Women typically partake in fewer risky activities. They are just smarter than us, guys!
Seriously, something to think about when it comes to activities as simple as driving. One risky move and you can become disabled, or worse, not live to enjoy future retirement adventures.
Can the avoidance of certain activities be risky though?
Muscle Your Way into Longer Life
Avoiding exercise can be risky. But it’s not all about treadmills and cardio.
Fact #9 Adding muscle improves physical fitness and bone mineral density while reducing risks of musculoskeletal injury.
#10 A 2022 study linked the presence of low muscle mass to faster future cognitive function decline in adults at least 65 years old.
Weight training is not just for bodybuilders. It is for life builders. You can find study after study highlighting positive benefits of lifting weights. Body weight exercises such as push-ups count as well.
If this type of exercise only reduced stress, which most exercise accomplishes, it would be worth doing 20 minutes a day. But the benefits may also include longevity, more self-confidence, and better overall health. Check with your doctor before starting any program.
#11 Fresh evidence shows contracting skeletal muscles produce small strings of amino acids that help maintain cardiometabolic health.
#12 Studies have found strength training improves the body’s response to insulin, which can lower risk of diabetes.
Wow. How many people around you are affected by diabetes?
Diabetes’ Effect on Longevity
We all know friends and family who deal with this condition. Often it’s a preventable disease but genetics play a role that sometimes can’t be avoided.
Fact #13 About 34.2 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes.
#14 Health issues such as high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and depression also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can harm our quality of life and hamper longevity. It’s not just costly to Americans’ health, but also their budgets. There is actually an “underground market” for diabetes drugs and supplies.
#15 In 2021, 1 in 5 adults using insulin reported rationing their supplies to save money.
The Inflation Reduction Act capped insulin costs (out-of-pocket) but this only applies to those on Medicare.
Financial stress is like any other anxiety. It can further harm our health. I can't tell you how vital it is to take every step you can to maintain a healthy lifestyle and have plans in place to ensure your health coverage is as solid as possible.
“As possible” - key words.
Another quick side note. My friend talked about the same veterinary clinic and a younger veterinarian about a decade ago. Tall guy who ran 5ks and hiked with his family. This young guy wasn’t as lucky as the older vet.
He never made it out of a routine surgery. All his family’s plans were wrecked overnight. A real tragedy.
Point here? This man lived a healthy lifestyle. Longevity seemed a foregone conclusion. But life changes plans in a blink. Even Tom Brady’s fairy tale life took a bad turn when he retired the first time. After a change of mind, his marriage fell apart, leaving him single as he nears 50 years old.
Plans change. Life alters them. Even for people like the young veterinarian and Brady, who made healthy choices, took care of their families, and planned their careers properly.
Planning for our family’s future is the most selfless planning we can do.
Let’s look at a few more longevity facts to wrap up.
When and Where of Longevity
It’s not only what goes into your body and which activities you do with it, also crucial is where you lay your head at night. For how long too.
Fact #16 Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, stroke, and increased risk of developing some types of cancer.
#17 Sleeping too long could be a sign of depression.
There appears to be a sweet sleep spot for longevity.
#18 In a 22-year study of 21,000 twins, researchers found that sleeping less than seven hours a night or more than eight hours, increased risk of death (24% and 17%, respectively).
Where do you think is the best place in America to live and for the longest?
Fact #19 Women in Hawaii are the longest-living Americans, at 84.3 years.
#20 Men in Mississippi have the lowest expectancy of life in any state, at 71.4 years.
#21 Compared to Hawaii, only 20 countries have a higher life expectancy.
So what makes Hawaii conducive to a longer healthier life?
Factors from this The Hill article include:
● Cleaner air which boosts longevity
● Highest-ranking healthcare system in the U.S.
● More residents have health coverage
● Better weather leads to more chances to exercise outdoors
● Lowest rate of obesity in nation
Also, more sunshine equals more vitamin D. Some studies show proper vitamin D intake can protect humans against diseases like breast cancer and hypertension.
That’s longevity fact #22.
A good place to wrap up.
None of us should plan to live forever. That would be a world record! Yet, forever planning our best lives is vital and truly possible.
We don’t know how life will alter plans. Or when. Knowing that it can happen is reason enough to start planning sooner and bolstering plans to make them solid, but flexible.
One day you may ride off into the sunset like Tom Brady. Then ride right back into a new career, business, or lifestyle with bumps and bruises - better known as experience.
Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group, a registered investment advisor.