Longevity Can Be a Blessing, but Not in Retirement Planning

Can You Overcome Life Expectancy Risk in Early Retirement Planning?

My thoughts on what you can do to avoid poverty in your old age, and what six financial pros have to say

Opher Ganel
Financial Strategy
Published in
10 min readJan 27, 2023

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An older gentleman in a suit and tie dancing with headphones on and with his eyes closed.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-black-jacket-wearing-black-headphones-3831645/

A few days ago I read this interesting piece by Mel Schlesinger titled “More Terrible Retirement Advice in the Headlines.

In the article he writes (among many other interesting and helpful nuggets), “Whether it is your family health history or the life expectancy at a given age, planning for anything less than age 100 can get you in trouble.

That reminded me of how I noticed a long time ago that planning for a “perpetual” retirement (i.e., one where you’d expect to have enough no matter how long you live) doesn’t require much more than a “normal” retirement length.

I left a comment to that effect.

Then, it occurred to me I have a lot more to say about that, so here goes…

Retirement Planning Needs to Deal with Multiple Risks

There are seven major risks when crafting your retirement plan. One of these is the so-called “longevity risk.”

In plain English, that’s the risk you’ll outlive your money, dropping into poverty in your old age. If you plan on retiring early, this risk is even greater, since your portfolio has to cover your expenses for potentially decades longer.

Christopher J. Berry, JD, CFP®, CELA®, founder, Castle Wealth Group says, “Longevity risk is one of the biggest risks for retirees these days because it amplifies all other risks, such as market volatility and most importantly, long-term-care risk. People live longer than ever — we even call retirement planning “Planning for the Second Half of Life.” That’s why we advise clients to plan for a longer retirement than normal and that means a larger nest egg

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Opher Ganel
Financial Strategy

Consultant | systems engineer | physicist | writer | avid reader | amateur photographer. I write about personal finance from an often contrarian point of view.