I wrote a bit about money and longevity a few months back in my post Can You Afford to Live To 100 and I’d encourage you to check that out but also to read this article on Smart Money as they reference quite a few studies on aging and longevity, many of which conclude some of the basic things I’ve preached about over the past year on this blog such as this recent post on how to increase longevity.
Longevity and Financial Security
According to the conclusions of the author’s research many centenarians are living below the poverty level due to various reasons. They have either out lived their savings, never had any, or they gave it away for tax reasons. Despite this however the centenarians as a group feel extremely optimistic about their financial situation and 96 percent of them feel they are better off than their peers.
A full 95 percent [of centenarians] said they had enough money to meet their needs, while 76 percent reported they had “enough to buy extras.” Overall, a staggering 96 percent of 100-year-olds said they were doing better than or the same as others of the same age. These expert survivors, the researchers concluded, have managed to adapt successfully to a ripe old age, and they perceive themselves to be better off than their peers—when clearly objective resources reveal quite the opposite.
Longevity and Health Status
Additionally it is noted that centenarians, the worlds oldest people, are proving that aging to extreme lengths does not mean that you have to live for decades in poor condition. They conclude that people who make it to 100 are models of health and they live with few disabilities and little sickness until only the very end of their lives.
As a group, 100-year-olds aren’t 80-year-olds who have tacked on 20 years of physical and mental decline. Instead, centenarians typically don’t suffer the chronic illnesses associated with age—such as Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular trouble or diabetes—until shortly before dying. In fact, they often escape them altogether, according to studies of centenarians in Georgia and New England. Of people who make it to 100, more than 90 percent were physically and mentally healthy into their 90s, and about half still live either on their own or with families. “Centenarians disprove the perception that ‘the older you get, the sicker you get,’” says Thomas Perls, associate professor of geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the New England Centenarian Study. “They teach us that the older you get, the healthier you’ve been.”
Lessons From Centenarians
If this tells you anything about living a longer life it is that centenarians are likely the people we all should be modeling our lives after. They are happy and optimistic. They live healthy and active lives. They exemplify the meaning of coping with life’s struggles and rolling with the punches. They don’t get too stressed out and they only worry about what they have power over. And regarding money and longevity… money is a means for them but not an end. So long as their basic necessities are met they remain happy and content. This should be a lesson for us all.
Smart Money - http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/retirement/why-centenarians-are-so-content/