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Longevity Risk Not A Topic Of Discussion For Majority Of Middle-Income Americans, New Study Says

CHICAGO, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- One out of every four 65-year olds today will live past age 90.  Yet, for 87 percent of our country's middle-income Americans age 55 and older, the idea of one's own longevity is often not contemplated or discussed, according to a new study released by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center For A Secure Retirement ® (CSR).  

The study, Longevity Risk and Reward for Middle-Income Americans, which surveyed 500 Americans ages 55 to 75 with an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000, found that middle-income Americans do not spend much time thinking about longevity. In fact, for most, longevity is not a topic of discussion.

Discussing Longevity with Others
  • Doctor (50%)
  • Spouse or partner (49%)
  • Children (34%)
  • Professional advisor (21%)
  • No one (15%)

Self Perception on LongevityDespite their reluctance to discuss longevity, those surveyed accurately estimated average life expectancy for American adults.  On average, respondents with a median age of 65 said they think they will live to age 86, irrespective of gender, income or health.

When it comes to perception of common factors influencing longevity , two-thirds feel that their life expectancy is out of their control, saying that genetics (65%) is the determining factor in how long they will live as compared to their own actions, such as eating right (46%), exercising (44%) or smoking (37%). 

Longevity Risk and RewardsLiving longer has its rewards.  Middle-income retirees say they are having experiences in retirement that they never imaged, such as travel, volunteering and community involvement. 

However, longevity also comes with risk.  According to the study, the two primary concerns are declining health associated with age, and the ability to create a sustainable retirement income that may need to last 20 years or more.

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