By Diane DiResta
On March 10, the Museum of American Finance hosted”The Longevity Bonus: The Economic Impact on the Retirement Megatrend,” a discussion about the implications of population aging – the only global megatrend causing a major impact in both developed and developing societies. The program was held from 6:00 – 8:00 pm in the Museum’s Grand Mezzanine at 48 Wall Street in New York.
The evening will began with a fireside chat featuring Allen & Company Managing Director Senator Bob Kerrey with Bank of America Merrill Lynch Head of Global Wealth & Retirement Solutions Andy Sieg, a contributor to the White House Conference on Aging. A panel discussion followed with thought leaders in the field of longevity to share their thoughts about economic opportunities, challenges and responses to this megatrend in government, technology, housing, health care, leisure, financial services and product development.
Jonathan Clements (moderator), Former Wall Street Journal columnist
Joe Coughlin, Director, MIT AgeLab
Michael W. Hodin, Ph.D., CEO, Global Coalition on Aging
Nora Super, Former Executive Director, White House Conference on Aging
“The Longevity Bonus” is sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with additional support from Investopedia. More information on this event can be found at www.moaf.org/longevity. Join the conversation at #longevity bonus.
Senator Kerry began with an historical perspective citing that social security and medicare reduced rates of poverty for those over 65 by 50%. “It’s not a retirement benefit,” he stated. “It’s an old age benefit.” He further added that if social security is all you have you’ll live in poverty and that there are 10,000 people a day who reach age 65. Those under 40 will see a cut in their benefits. Kerry’s social security plan is to be more generous for lower incomes and to address the problem of widows who are not eligible. One of the solutions to the longevity poverty issue is to start saving at birth. Every child should have a wealth account.
As the panelists were introduced, they weighed in on health care, technology, and predicted growth in caregiving. Technology will play a vital role in facilitating healthy lifestyles. With longevity comes more disease. There is a 40% chance of being a victim of Alzheimers at age 80. It’s a disease equated with getting old. An interesting statistic is that 72% of those over 50 live in suburbs. This will result in isolation and difficulty getting around. Technology will be less about technology and more about the dream- as smart houses and smart cars will give seniors more options. Technology connects people.
While the U.S. is managing, Europe is on fire due to low birth rates. In Japan, 40% of the population is over 60 years old. By 2020, sales of adult diapers will overtake baby diapers. Aging is about longevity and it will not be unusual in the future to experience 3 centuries.
The silver market place is a 7 trillion economy.
Robotics will be a growth industry. The robot will be the child who cuts the grass.
Nestle bought a skincare company because of the deterioration of aging skin.
The workplace will reflect the aging population as employers will come to value older workers. It will be reflected as phased retirement and shared learning. Aging will be redefined as an opportunity for a new phase of life. Tax breaks may be given to companies who hire older workers. There is even a shortage of truck drivers. A new social contract needs to be written. People will work and learn for a lifetime.
The U.K. was cited as being ahead of the curve and more innovative than the U.S. One of the panelist was betting on the U.S because of the mix of human capital and technology. The sleeper issue is loss of productivity due to employees taking time to care for their elders. One solution will be virtual assisted living. As one panelist said,”It’s the services, stupid.”
About the Museum of American Finance
The Museum of American .Finance, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is the nation’s only independent museum dedicated to finance, entrepreneurship and the open market system. With its extensive collection of financial documents and objects, its seminars and educational programming, its publication and oral history program, the Museum portrays the breadth and richness of American financial history, achievement and practices. The Museum is located at 48 Wall Street. For more information, visit www.moaf.org or connect with the Museum on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @FinanceMuseum
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