Some Problems with Longevity (as it is Today)

As with most people here, I’m a big fan of “Healthy Longevity”. But, this doesn’t mean that I can’t see some problems with “healthy longevity” in some situations.

Part of the issue is in the definition of “healthy”, because “aging” is the steady loss of function, so you can reasonably say there is no such thing as “healthy aging”. But - for sake of argument, lets just assume “healthy aging” means aging without any significant and serious disease scenarios.

Given this definition - I’ve recently come across some articles that I think can demonstrate some problems that significant portions of the population can expect to run into even given “healthy longevity”…


Ageism, Silent Influencer Of Longevity

What images come to mind when you hear “80-year-old” or “octogenarian”? A hunched-over man or woman walking with a cane, possibly suffering from memory loss or other forms of cognitive decline? Or someone like Anthony Fauci, who in his early eighties helped lead the US government’s response to an unprecedented public health crisis?

Your answer may be more important than you know, for studies suggest that our attitudes about aging can influence the quality of our golden years and our longevity.

In exploring the intersection of ageism and longevity, a paradox becomes apparent. Researchers Cassie Curryer and Peta S. Cook perfectly encapsulated it in a 2021 paper on the costs of ageism: “[W]hile longevity is celebrated, older age is not.”

In other words: ageism. Defined as stereotyping, prejudice, or discrimination against a particular age group—especially older people—it is often said to be the last acceptable prejudice.

Funding Longevity

I also saw this recently on twitter, a story out of Canada, but I’m sure equally true in many, if not most countries:

Anyone retiring in Canada right now can expect to live at least until eighty (women until eighty-four). But those numbers are averaged out. When I began to discuss retirement with my financial planner in early 2022, he put my life expectancy at ninety-four. “Why, thank you,” I said, “I do try to keep fit.” “No,” said Benjamin Klein, senior portfolio manager at Baskin Wealth Management, “life expectancy is not randomized. When we factor in your gender, genetics, access to good health care, education, and lifestyle, that’s how long you’ll live.”

Stark doubled down on that number. The oldest Canadian is believed to have died at age 117. “If you want to accurately plan, that’s the number that you need to write down,” he said. Retire at sixty-four and you could have fifty more years to save for.

But… In many cases people are forced to retire early:

and of course, the “agism” mentioned earlier may prevent new employment:

Source: Is Silicon Valley Ageist Or Just Smart?

So its pretty clear that you won’t be getting a new job at Facebook with a $300K/year if you’re laid off at some other company at age 50+.

Of course, a big part of this issue is this: The Problem of Brain Aging, Peter Fedichev

And of course, if you’ve been doing physical work / manual labor, its also problematic as even if you’re healthy you are not as agile or dexterous as you age (even if you’re healthy).

So, staying “healthy” is just the start of a complex path to navigate.


These are very valid points. I’m thinking I might eventually have to incorporate some cosmetic procedures just for this reason alone. I know based on others comments I look better than most people my age (in the area where I live) but I still look near my age just as a fit and healthy middle age person. I might have to start trying a bit to look younger for long term survival in the workplace. I’m also starting classes soon with an eventual career change in mind as my ultimate goal is to do something friendlier to working seniors.


“prejudice, or discrimination against a particular age group—especially older people—it is often said to be the last acceptable prejudice.”
My personal experience tells me that doctors are often at the forefront of age discrimination. A common attitude is: Hey you’re old, you’ll soon die anyway. Perhaps some of the doctors on the forum would care to comment. What is your attitude and the attitude of the doctors you associate with?
Perhaps I am just an outlier.

On the contrary, I have experienced very little if any age discrimination from the common people I interact with, store clerks, etc. In fact, they are often quite solicitous.

As for retirement: It isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you enjoy your job stick with it as long as possible.


I had a new experience at my Aug 2023 sprint triathlon. When registering, participants get their calf labeled with their age. I was surprised as in the past it was always the bib # but apparently this is common in triathlons.

Anyways, during the race, I had a lot of encouragement. Generally related to how an old fella like myself is doing well in a portion of the race. I never had that sort of commentary before. And perversely, I prefer to be age anonymous in a race. If I am racing well, I am hanging in with a group of fellow travelers. And their age is generally much younger than mine. Part illusion, but also reality, I am a younger person.


You not only need to worry about your physical health but also your financial health. I recommend saving like a madman as early as possible and investing in an index ETF like VOO or QQQ - the SP 500 and Nasdaq 100 indexes respectively. If you start young enough and you lead a frugal life for your first 10-20 working years, you can easily retire as a millionaire at 65. Probably even a multi-millionaire.

Live below your means and enjoy the simple things in life like long walks or hikes, road trips, and parties with friends.


This is exactly what I’m doing. I’m investing some of my income every month in an ETF so I can be a millionaire in my 60s.


Investing (and passive income, more generally) is a good idea and goes well with longevity.

On the one hand, increasing longevity could help many people (obviously), but broad sweeping policies (like retirement ages) impact different groups of people in very different ways.

Perhaps the way to encourage healthy longevity is to provide better retirement benefits for people who have lower biological ages vs. chronological ages? (but start the benefits later; and the cost savings from medical expenses will more than pay for the increased retirement payments… at a population level).

Or, perhaps retirement age should be tied directly to people’s biological age (when the tests are perfected enough) and not people’s chronological age; if you’re biological age is 65 when you’re 50, perhaps you should be allowed to retire at that age with full retirement benefits?.

Here is the article (which popped into my google news feed today) that got me thinking about this… (and the public policy implications…)

“Y’all, they really said … work till you’re 65,” Kuru said before collapsing into a fit of giggles. “And then … you most likely only live till 76.”

She pointed out that this only gives each person “11 years to play.”

According to the Social Security Administration, the retirement age depends on the year you were born, but is actually 67 for anyone born after 1960. This includes [Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X,) and even some late Baby Boomers.

“Oh, earth math,” Kuru lamented.

Yet this might not be an earth issue. Current statistics show that Saudi Arabia is the country with the lowest retirement age — 47. Turkey is not far behind at 52. Iceland, Israel, and Norway also all have a retirement age of 67. The U.S., among other countries, forces workers to retire a full 20 years after Saudi Arabia.

In 2022, the CDC reported that life expectancy in the U.S. had dropped to 76.1 years, the lowest it’s been since 1996. By Kuru’s estimate, this does offer “11 years to play.” However, based on information from the Social Security Administration, it actually offers less than 10.

It seems unfortunate to spend your entire life working only to be rewarded with about nine years of retirement time.

“I need them to come up with a new formula, one that makes some sense,”


In Hong Kong, I’m forced out at 60 (my profession) and there’s no 401k. I need to live off my savings. They do have a crappy MPF investment scheme that loses money overall, so you have some people retiring and realizing they have less money than they put in even after 20+ years of work and investing because the fund fees are ludicrous. Even a money market loses money here! But less so than the stock funds.

But free healthcare and when I hit 65, public transport hits 25 cents per trip. They also give a social security payment of 40 USD a month.

Glad I worked in the USA for ten years to qualify for US social security and Medicare!


An Interesting development…


Yes, interesting indeed…I’m not against this but I don’t think an “average” life expectancy should be used as they suggest. A simple family history can tell you a lot about your genetics and life expectancy. Even your gender plays heavily into your life expectancy. I don’t see why everyone’s life expectancy shouldn’t be individualized and retirement ages individualized as well. Unless you love your work so much it is your life, many would want to back calculate and have a few years to hit bucket list items and enjoy other aspects of life.