Longevity – it really is long
Most of the information we use in discussing longevity comes from actuarial life span projection tables which are commonly used by life insurance companies in determining costs for particular policies.
There have been some interesting discussions in recent press articles following predictions made by American futurist Ray Kuzweil, a very successful inventor and businessman and recipient of many awards for technological development, including the first text-to-speech synthesisor (1975), the first print-to speech reading machine for the blind (1976) the first music synthesisor capable of recreating multiple musical instruments (1984), among many other inventions relating to artificial intelligence. Ray, a MIT Computer Science graduate, who has been awarded many honorary doctorates, has written several books and is no slouch when it come to predicting technological change.
In recent times one of his predictions, as espoused in his book, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever (2004), has been creating much discussion on social media sites. It is his idea that by 2030 biomedic technology will have advanced to the point where it will be possible to halt the body's ageing process. He believes that tiny robots the size of red blood cells will patrol our circulatory systems and rejuvenate tired cells. Then by about 2050 he predicts that we should be able to reverse-engineer a human brain and brain and upload it into a robot. People willing to give up their "wet" bodies, we are 50% – 60% water, could not only live forever but also think at electronic speeds.
Whilst to many of us this may seem far-fetched and not achievable, from a social perspective it would appear that within a few decades longevity may become quite unpredictable if technological improvements become ever more exponential. There will always be early adopters of technology, and Australians have historically been early adopters, however there would be significant implications for governments as well, especially as our expectations rise along with the costs of the technology.
Similarly, society may need to embrace a definition of retirement that is perhaps based on disability rather than age.
From a superannuation and retirement perspective these changes need to be factored into long-term planning, particularly as there is already clear evidence of significant improvements to health, lifestyles and longevity. An inter-generational self-managed superannuation fund will be a tool to assist you with longevity and meeting your long-term living needs.
For longevity and retirement advice speak with our award winning Newcastle Financial advisor Andrew Frith.