Money matters: What to expect in your 90s

Feb 7, 2012, 6 a.m.

More and more people are living to and beyond age 90. The life expectancy used to average around 80 years, but has since gone up considerably and there are more 90+ seniors out there today than ever before to the tune of roughly two million in the US. That's over twice what it was in the 1980's, at just under three quarter million.

This population boom has been mostly for the better, but there are downsides. Chief among them: This has driven the retirement age up. That population is expected to quadruple in the next 40 years, meaning many readers who are already 50+ will be one of 8 million by the time they reach 90.

When it comes to finances for people over 90, most of them report incomes well under $20,000 a year and some 15 percent live in poverty, suggesting that few people over 90 expected to live that long and fewer still are prepared for it, with 92 percent of seniors over 90 drawing from social security.

On the upside, while most citizens over 90 do suffer from some physical limitation or other, nearly 100 percent are covered by universal health care, so hospital and doctor visits are far less of a worry in terms of finances.

Being 90 or older means something different to today's seniors than it will to people who have just retired or who are still looking forward to retirement. Today's higher retirement age means more time to plan, save and invest for one's old age.

Right now, you could say that 90 is the new 70, and there are more 100+ seniors all the time. In another twenty years, 90 may be the new 60. In thirty or forty, 90 may be the new 50!

A longer lifespan is really for the better in the long run, but it truly is a double-edged sword that can come back to hurt you if you don't plan accordingly. Expect to live a lot longer in your retirement than your grandparents.

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