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Retirement

Most of us want to live to 100. Wait until you hear how much that retirement costs.

With all the aches and pains that attend old age, how many Americans would really want to live to 100?

A lot of us, it turns out.

More than half of Americans, 54%, say it is their goal to live to 100, according to a from Corebridge Financial, a financial services company.

Much of the rest of the 20-page report deals with what it costs to live for a century.

And that, experts say, is where the numbers get scary.

100th birthday

“If we live till 100 and we retire at 65, we have 35 years of retirement that we need to finance,” said, senior vice president of global thought leadership at AARP.

A 38-year retirement? What it costs to live to 100

Here’s the math:

As a rule of thumb, financial planners say we should expect to spend about 80% of our working income in retirement. With the nation’s median household income at , according to the census, the typical family might need about $60,000 a year in retirement money.

The average American retires at 62. If you live to 100, that means 38 years of retirement. At $60,000 a year, that works out to a retirement budget of about $2.3 million.

Social Security income will cover at least some of those costs. Even so, it’s a lot of money. In the Corebridge survey, only 27% of respondents said they are confident they won’t outlive their retirement savings.

In fact, two-thirds of those surveyed said they fear running out of money more than they fear death itself.

The findings draw from a 2023 survey of 2,284 adults by Morning Consult.

How many of us will live to 100?

Will half of us make it to 100? Probably not. Yet, the ranks of centenarians are growing.

The number of Americans ages 100 and older is forecast to to 422,000 by 2054, according to census figures analyzed by Pew Research.

The number of centenarians alive today, about 101,000, is nearly triple the number who were alive in 1990.

“While it’s impossible to say whether an individual person will live to 100 – we don’t have a crystal ball – some demographic groups are especially likely to reach that milestone,” said, a research analyst at Pew.

Of all centenarians alive today, Schaeffer said, 78% are women, and 77% are white.

Retirement experts fear many future centenarians will exhaust their retirement money long before they take their last breath.

“Millions of Americans are at risk of outliving their savings,” said, CEO of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. “That impacts their own household, their own health, their well-being and their longevity. It puts a strain on their families.”

A dog attends Robert Moore's 100th birthday party in San Jose, California

BlackRock CEO sees a looming retirement crisis

Larry Fink, CEO of the investment firm BlackRock, made headlines last week with his annual letter to investors, arguing that the nation faces a looming retirement crisis.

Building a secure retirement “is a much harder proposition than it was 30 years ago,” Fink wrote. “And it’ll be a much harder proposition 30 years from now. People are living longer lives. They’ll need more money. . . . America needs an organized, high-level effort to ensure that future generations can live out their final years with dignity.”

Rising hopes for longer life have fueled fears about what it will cost to live that life in comfort.

Let's say a man retires at 65 with $250,000 in savings. If he spends it down at a rate of $30,000 a year, the money might last him to age 73½. But longevity tables say he can expect to live another decade, to age 84.

Roughly 64% of American workers are confident they have the money to through their retirement years, according to the 2023 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

In a 2023 report from Northwestern Mutual, Americans said they would need $1.27 million, on average, to. Yet the average adult has saved only $89,300 toward that goal, the report found.

Annie Duplock's 100th birthday dream gift was to have knives thrown at her. So, she joined a knife-throwing act at Zippos Circus in Coventry, England

Fewer than half of Americans have retirement accounts

And fewer than half of Americans even have retirement accounts, according to census data.

Much of the nation’s angst about retirement, experts say, stems from our national strategy for funding it.

Over the past five decades, workers and employers have gradually shifted from traditional pensions to modern 401(k) and IRA plans.

Pensions typically offer a guaranteed monthly benefit to retirees, a steady stream of checks that continues until death, even if death comes after 100.

The 401(k), by contrast, offers a way for employees to build their own retirement savings, often with help from the employer. Upon retirement, the retiree largely decides how and when to spend the money.

To make a 401(k) or IRA last to age 100 takes planning, experts say.

And many of us gravely underestimate how long our retirement is likely to last.

Many Americans underestimate how long they will live

Life expectancy rises with age. The average life span is 73½ for an American man, but if that man makes it to 70, his expected life span rises to 85.

Many older adults expect to die well before 85. And yet, paradoxically, a majority of Americans of all age groups said in the Corebridge survey that their goal is to live to 100.

Corebridge officials said the finding surprised even them. The response may reflect America’s hopes more than its expectations.

“I think because we’re seeing more and more people live to 100, it’s seeming more attainable,” said, president of individual retirement at Corebridge.

In a, Transamerica put the question another way. It asked older workers and retirees, “What age are you planning to live to?”

'I'm too young to retire':What forced these workers to retire before they were ready

Roughly 1 in 10 older Americans said they planned to live to 100. Larger shares said they planned to live into their 80s or 90s. Many more said they weren’t sure. The survey covered more than 4,000 older workers and retirees.

The same report found that the typical American retires at 62. That’s five years younger than the age when older workers expect to retire: 67. And it’s a long way from 100.

“If the median retirement age is 62,” Collinson said, “how can you afford 38 years in retirement? That’s the big question.”

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