Happy senior man and woman old retired couple walking and holding hands on a beach at sunset


Tom Lenkiewicz

Wealth Strategist


From 16th century conquistadors searching for the fountain of youth to today’s Silicon Valley luminaries seeking to slow the ageing process, humans have long been fascinated with the quest for immortality. While people may not achieve eternal life, science is making advances that could significantly increase longevity –with important implications for your financial planning.

Longer life expectancies will require more resources and more portfolio growth. They also allow us to take advantage of strategies where a longer planning horizon is additive.

Why lifespans could increase dramatically

Medicine and the study of aging are experiencing seismic shifts. Significant advancements are being made in understanding the biology of aging and how lifestyle choices such as sleep, diet and exercise can add quality years to an individual’s life. Investors are seeing the potential, and in 2022 alone, nearly $5.2 billion was invested in companies focused on longevity.1

Research suggests that drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy may eventually do much more than treat Type 2 diabetes, mitigate obesity and turn their parent companies into the first trillion-dollar pharma giants.2 These and similar drugs may also help extend lives by mitigating notorious lifespan shorteners such as heart disease, sleep apnea and Alzheimer’s.3

When you pair progress in medicine with the fact that maintaining health in retirement is our clients’ top concern, we could be approaching a reality in which living to 100 is the norm.

How do you navigate this new landscape of longer lifespans? It starts with longevity literacy.

  • Take inventory of factors such as family history and lifestyle to help assess the possibility of a longer life.
  • Make sure your financial plan is designed to provide for additional years of spending.
  • Protect your purchasing power against inflation and leverage planning strategies that benefit from a longer time horizon.

Let’s dive in.

The investment impact of 10 additional years

Currently, a 65-year-old man living in the United States can expect to live until age 84 and a 65-year-old woman to 87, according to the Social Security Administration. Because our clients often have access to exceptional health care and adopt healthy lifestyles, we use life expectancies in the early 90s for our wealth forecasting.

Consider a 65-year-old couple, whom we’ll call Tony and Pepper, with standard life expectancies and a $25 million portfolio. Let’s assume their investment portfolio is in a balanced allocation, representing an almost even split between equities and fixed income. Accounting for inflation, taxes and volatility, Tony and Pepper would need approximately $19.5 million of that portfolio to support annual spending of $750,000 for the next 28 years of their expected retirement. That leaves about $5.5 million to fund gifts, charitable donations or a higher level of expenditures, as shown below.

Table showing how much of a $25MM balanced portfolio would be needed today, to fund $750,000 of annual living expenses to age 90 and to age 100.


Living expenses: An additional 10 years of life puts a surprisingly high level of pressure on this same portfolio, perhaps leading the couple to reprioritize their goals and revisit their strategic allocation. If this couple were to live for 10 more years, they would need nearly all of their portfolio – about $24 million – just for living expenses.

This couple may be passionate about making gifts to family or endowing charitable organizations. However, they should also be aware that spending increases at later stages of life to fund healthcare, long-term care or even longevity treatments.

  • Inflation: Then there’s inflation. If we assume a 2.5% inflation rate, our hypothetical couple’s $750,000 in annual spending would climb to nearly $1.5 million by age 93. In another 10 years, it will reach more than $1.9 million.
  • Health care inflation: Also worth noting, for some time now, the rising costs of health care and long-term care have outpaced standard inflation. These expenses can put additional strain on your portfolio, especially if required for an extended period.

Taking advantage of a longer time horizon

We suggest a few ways to help your finances benefit from a longer lifespan:

  • Collect Social Security later: Wait until age 70 to claim Social Security benefits. By waiting, your benefits increase annually by an inflation-adjusted 8%. Obviously, it takes time for these increased benefits to make up for the fact that you were not receiving Social Security payments in your 60s. Typically, you will hit breakeven in your early to mid-80s.

Here’s what Tony and Pepper’s Social Security benefits would look like if they were to claim at age 70 and live until 90 and 93.

Chart showing the dollar difference in lifetime social security benefits for a high earning 65-year-old couple claiming at full retirement age and age 70 to 90.


If they lived another 10 years, delaying Social Security benefits would add almost $450,000 (in today’s dollars) to their overall wealth:

Chart showing the dollar difference in lifetime social security benefits for a high earning 65-year-old couple claiming at full retirement age and age 70 to 100.


  • Convert your Roth IRA: Roth IRA conversions can be another powerful aid in planning for a longer retirement. Although several factors dictate the effectiveness of this strategy, part of the calculus is a wager on life expectancy. Every dollar converted to a Roth IRA is treated and taxed as ordinary income. This initial cost is offset over time by tax-free growth that is not subject to required minimum distributions.

A 65-year-old New Yorker in the highest tax bracket might convert $1 million from a pre-tax retirement account to a Roth IRA. At age 90, the value added by this conversion is $1,119,182. At 100, the benefit of that conversion grows to $2,797,713. Each passing year of tax-free growth – without required minimum distributions – makes the strategy more effective. Due to the nature of compounding, this is especially true in the later stages of life.

Chart showing the benefit of a 65-year-old couple converting $1.0MM from a pre-tax retirement account to a Roth IRA.


Proper planning can help ensure that a potentially longer lifespan is filled with quality years – quality that can be realized in health, comfort and financial well-being.

We can help

Now is a good time to review your long-term wealth plan and consider whether it is designed to help meet your goals in the new era of longevity. For a comprehensive health check of your investment portfolio, reach out to your J.P. Morgan advisor today.



Newman, P. and Klas, N, “Annual Longevity Investment Report.” (2023)


The Economist, “The battle over the trillion-dollar weight-loss bonanza.” (May 2024)



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