Thought Magazine

Notes from J.P. Morgan's Pensions Blog - 3Q 2013

A recent posting on our blog offered some unconventional thoughts from guest Adjiedj Bakas, a renowned trend-watcher, author and speaker. Adjiedj will be a featured speaker at the J.P. Morgan Multinational Pensions Forum in Paris on3-4 October 2013, an annual gathering for senior leaders to discuss challenges and strategies facing corporate sponsors.

In a recent article on research by the Cambridge Institute of Public Health and the University of Southern Denmark, The New York Times reported that, "dementia rates among people 65 and older in England and Wales have plummeted by 25 percent over the past two decades, to 6.2 percent from 8.3 percent, a trend that researchers say is probably occurring across developed countries and that could have major social and economic implications for families and societies."1

It is, therefore, not unrealistic to suggest that many of us can expect to live until we are 100 years old and that our children have the prospect of living to 120. Immortality is now conceivable!

Scientists have warned that the cost of healthcare could explode as people live longer and could even become unaffordable. But guess what? This doom scenario is unlikely to become a reality. Not only are dementia rates falling, but using a 3-D printer, we will soon be able print a new heart, liver or maybe even a brain. We will be happy and healthy when old: forever young!

Am I saying there is no problem here? Well, for the healthcare industry, it is not as much of a problem as you might think. For the pension funds the story is different. You do not have to be a whizz kid to understand that the funds can never pay the pensions of all these people who are refusing to die.

So what needs to happen is to open the discussion about our working life. Currently we work until our sixties and then we retire. This model is not sustainable. Why don't we work as long as we feel well, but on a more flexible basis than we do now? Why wait until we are old to enjoy life and then die of boredom because we have very little to do? This arrangement is just not right.

Excerpt from a recent posting. To learn more or to comment, please visit Note: the J.P. Morgan Pension Blog is a secure, online community for pension fund trustees and managers.

1 Gina Kolata, The New York Times, "Dementia Rate Is Found to Drop Sharply, as Forecast," July 16, 2013, www.nytimes.comWeblinking practices.

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Thought, 3Q 2013


Benjie Fraser

Benjie Fraser
Global Pensions Executive


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