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Business Week: Retirement: "Live Long and Don't Prosper"
Old 01-26-2011, 10:12 AM   #1
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Business Week: Retirement: "Live Long and Don't Prosper"

Business Week has apparently tapped an emotional vein with their recent issue on retirement, so they're going back for more.

Retirement: Live Long and Don't Prosper - BusinessWeek

One "interesting" problem is that longevity changes appear to be happening faster than demographers and statisticians can predict. (It's more interesting if you happen to be a young demographer or statistician.) It may not be very accurate to predict the next generation's lifespan based on their parents, but so far that's the best source of data. This could have some pretty significant impacts on the price of an annuity and an insurance company's fiscal stability, as well as Social Security/Medicare.

The article contrasts recent longevity gains (through technology) with impending reductions (through misbehavior) and rising disability (through Alzheimer's). Of course the article reaches the inevitable conclusion that we should all keep working as long as possible, even if we can no longer fit through the doorways or when our dementia keeps us from remembering why we're working in the first place...

I wonder if Jack Lalanne supplemented his Social Security with an annuity... and whether he bothered with a long-term care policy. Maybe his lifestyle was his LTC policy.

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As the 79-million-strong Baby Boom generation starts hitting age 65, demographers and medical researchers are increasingly at odds over how long they'll live.
...
At least one member of a 65-year-old couple can expect to live for another 23 years, to age 88, according to 2010 Social Security data. That's just an average, however, and there is a 30 percent chance of living past 92. Moreover, those numbers are based on when current retirees-- the baby boomers' parents-- are passing away.
...
According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2000 to 2007 the rate of death from heart disease, the leading cause of death, plunged 19 percent, while the rate for cancer, the second-leading cause of death, fell 5 percent.
...
But wait. Deteriorating American lifestyles are taking away some of the gains from advanced medicine. The rate of obesity in the U.S. has risen 48 percent in 15 years, and by 2020, 45 percent of the population is expected to be obese, according to a 2009 study in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study concluded that the rise in obesity, if unchecked, could be enough to outweigh all the positive effects from falling smoking rates.
...
In any case, there is a good chance that even as Americans live longer lives, they will spend more years disabled, needing expensive care. That's already happening: Though deaths from heart ailments or cancer have declined, deaths from Alzheimer's disease have increased, from 49,558 in 2000 to 74,632 in 2007, according to the CDC. "The longer you live, the higher the risk" for Alzheimer's, Besdine says, noting the disease has no good treatments. "What we want to do is extend the nondisabled part of old age."
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:37 AM   #2
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Baby Boomer deaths, in my unscientific opinion, have been increasing lately probably due to unheathly lifestyles choices. It just seems to me that I'm seeing many more early deaths listed in the paper than I used to. Then again, maybe I'm more aware since I'm in that age group.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by happy2bretired View Post
Baby Boomer deaths, in my unscientific opinion, have been increasing lately probably due to unheathly lifestyles choices. It just seems to me that I'm seeing many more early deaths listed in the paper than I used to. Then again, maybe I'm more aware since I'm in that age group.
+1

I really need to quit reading the obits, too depressing seeing all those in their early/mid 50's listed.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by happy2bretired View Post
Then again, maybe I'm more aware since I'm in that age group.
I see the same thing in our college alumni magazine. Yikes.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:24 AM   #5
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Has Alzheimer's actually increased or are we just getting better at diagnosing and attributing the cause to Alzheimer's?

My grandmother died at the age of 84 almost 30 years ago. The last 3 years of her life she didn't know who anyone in the family was. Her 'disease' was called 'hardening of the arteries' and that is what was listed on her death certificate. Today her death would be attributed to Alzheimer's.
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy2bretired View Post
Baby Boomer deaths, in my unscientific opinion, have been increasing lately probably due to unheathly lifestyles choices.
Illegal drugs B fun ...

If you drill down to the facts involving early death (if published) you find that it is due to a lifestyle choice.

OTOH, they no longer need their SS - after contributing to it for many years. That fact, along with the "mini-boomers" (e.g. X, Y, and Z) means that we may not have a SS problem at all ...
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:21 PM   #7
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And who said that Baby Boomers aren't smart? See, we're solving our own problems.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
Has Alzheimer's actually increased or are we just getting better at diagnosing and attributing the cause to Alzheimer's?

My grandmother died at the age of 84 almost 30 years ago. The last 3 years of her life she didn't know who anyone in the family was. Her 'disease' was called 'hardening of the arteries' and that is what was listed on her death certificate. Today her death would be attributed to Alzheimer's.
You may be correct, but vascular dementia is very similar to Alzheimers and hardening of the arteries is one of the causes.

Quote:
The person may have a past history of heart attacks. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, diabetes, or other risk factors for heart disease are often present.
Symptoms of vascular dementia
  • Memory problems may or may not be a prominent symptom, depending on whether brain regions important in memory are affected.
  • Confusion, which may get worse at night.
  • Difficulty concentrating, planning, communicating and following instructions.
  • Reduced ability to carry out daily activities.
  • Physical symptoms associated with strokes, such as sudden weakness, difficulty speaking or confusion.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain may show characteristic abnormalities associated with vascular damage.
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