Live long and prosper – Part One

A long, healthy life is a blessing. The good news: Americans are living longer than ever before. Life expectancy has increased dramatically in the last few decades as a result of major advances in science, technology, and medicine. An individual’s life expectancy is his or her median lifespan. In the United States, the life expectancy of a 65-year-old male non-smoker is 20 years. This means that 50% of men are expected to live beyond age 85, and 50% are expected to die before 85. A 65-year-old non-smoking woman on average is expected to live until age 88. When combined with the life expectancy of a spouse, the odds are 50% percent that at least one spouse will live to age 92 and 20% of living to 98. Read more

Gambling with your retirement nest egg

In April of 2013, PBS Frontline aired a documentary titled “The Retirement Gamble” (available online). It offers a sobering report on the problems with 401(k) type retirement plans in the U.S. and the obstacles facing working Americans in their quest to achieve a secure retirement. If you were already suspicious of the motives of some in the financial services industry, watching this documentary is unlikely to alter your opinion. There have been both vocal critics and defenders of the show. Here are my observations. Read more

Stages of the financial life cycle

In my last blog I introduced the economic theory and field of study of life cycle finance, a principal goal of which is to construct a useable framework to help individuals improve their financial decision making to produce better monetary outcomes and maintain the smoothest and highest possible standard of living throughout their lives. Read more