Want to live longer in retirement? Dust off your passport. Worried about outliving your retirement funds? Stay put.
That’s right. Retirees in the U.S. now have the dubious distinction of living shorter lives than their peers in most other developed countries.
The quality of life for any country’s citizens has a lot to do with how long they’re expected to live, though a long life, of course, isn’t necessarily a happy or rewarding one.
If you’re more afraid of running out of retirement money than you are of dying, you shouldn’t bother relocating to any of the other 13 developed countries for which life expectancy was analyzed.
CBS Moneywatch reported that, according to an analysis presented at the recent Living to 100 Symposium sponsored by the Society of Actuaries (SOA), the U.S. finished last, or next to last, depending on the group being analyzed, for remaining life expectancy at age 65.
But that means the U.S. is falling in world rankings. In calculating remaining life expectancy for 65-year-old women, the analysis, which was conducted by the actuaries who assess each country’s social security or government pension system, assumed that death rates in 2010 would remain constant in all future years; that is, there would be no future improvements in mortality.
Figured this way, a 65-year-old woman in the U.S. can only expect to live a little more than 20 years, coming in second-to-last among the other 13 countries; only Portugal finished lower on that scale.
But when life expectancies were calculated by assuming projected improvements in mortality through 2015, projected improvements in mortality through 2020 and through 2030, all three measures indicated that the U.S. came in dead last.
For men, the analysis indicated that the remaining life expectancy of a 65-year-old man in the U.S. in 2010 would be a little more than 17½ years, ranking third to last, with Finland and Portugal rounding out the bottom.
The U.S. has the same ranking for the 2015 life expectancies, but for 2020 and 2030 it drops to second-to-last. Finland beat out the U.S. for third to last because the actuaries for the Finland retirement system assumed higher improvements in mortality than the actuaries for the U.S retirement system did.
When actuaries at the symposium were asked to speculate about why the U.S. did so poorly, their top three reasons were these:
Large income disparities in the U.S.
More generous retirement benefits in the other countries.
The prevalence of universal health care in the other countries.
So you may not live as long in retirement in the U.S., but it will probably feel like it—especially the endless wait for that next retirement check to come in.