What changes with a 100 year life span?

For this article, we look just at the changes in post work and then see how this has an impact on work and education.

The traditional three life phase approach is as follows

Three life stage model with life expectancy of 75
Three stage model with life expectancy of 100

With a life expectancy, the majority of life is spent working and this funds a retirement of little over 10 years. 

As we live longer lives, something has to happen to the splits between the phases.  

By moving the retirement age just to 70, we move from 60% working to 45% of the time working with the expectation that this less time economically active will not only fund our children’s education, pay for our house, save for a pension that equates for the half the time we worked. 

No generation has done this. Sure there are individuals who have saved all the bonuses, lived frugally throughout their lives to have a large nest egg. What cost has this been? To live frugally for a large part of life on a promise that they will have a cushy retirement. What if one dies early? What if both die early? How have they lived fully with no regrets?

There is the need to reconsider this three stage model into more stages or breaks within the stages. 

First of all, with the world racing through breakthroughs, it is unlikely that education at one time of life will be enough and there will be occasions throughout working life where new skills, new careers will be needed. 

Easier when you have one life long partner

Of course, it would easier for this to happen when there are couples. One partner works while the other studies and visa versa. 

It becomes harder when it is a single person. Even now, the system is geared for people to be married and stayed married to the same person regardless to the fact that the statistics show this not to be the case. 

As we live longer, it puts a strain on partnerships to grow and change whilst remaining together. More will happen to each person the longer they live. 

Consider work extending until, say 80 with periods of sabbatical, training, travel along the way. This changes how we live. Work need not be like it is at 30. We can choose how much or how little we engage. This is the same now. 

With a work span of 60 years, this is still less than those with a life span of 75 years and there is still the need to fund the non-economically active years. 

Even those people who are in their sixties and looking to retirement, the activities of someone with 5-10 years of retirement are very different to those who have the funds and have a life expectancy nearing 100, 35+ years of retirement. Here are some things you can consider to remain active:


You can look to start a lifestyle based business, making a hobby into a small venture, delivering something you are passionate about and/or your gifts lend themselves to this. It doesn’t have to be full on. I suggest business because people, generally, do not value free stuff. 


Was there a time when you thought, if only I could learn [this subject] but…. and all the reasons:

  • why you can’t like can’t afford
  • who would look after the kids
  • I work away a lot or work shifts
  • I don’t have the right secondary education standard to go to university 

and you do nothing. 

These excuses don’t apply now. What would you really like to learn? The beauty is you don’t need to turn it into an income generation activity. 

New friends

Keeping the same age related friends has both benefits and downsides. Let’s look at the downsides, you can become isolated from the rest of society as these groups tend to create a group identity, with a similar perspective on life and have new people who too, have a very similar perspective. This limits the individual and it all feels very comfortable. 

With regards to aging without limits, this is not helpful. There is little stimulation, no challenging the group think, so where does the individual get to learn new ideas, challenge assumptions, see there perspective is only one and there are many. 

Intergenerational friendships, on the other hand, help us to remain alert as we come across different perspectives which may challenge our own and lead us to be more open.

New hobbies/interests

There is plenty of time to realise an old passion for music, writing, photography or whatever. We all have things we did in our early lives that we would like to rekindle. The list is endless

Expanding existing hobbies

Use existing hobbies to extend your skills, learning, friends and joy. 


This is more than being on a cruise or visiting many countries in 20 days. Now is the time to travel and take your time. If one place is very interesting, spend more time exploring it. 

There is no need to tick off many cities visited. Cities may not hold it for you now. Cycling along the lanes in many northern European countries brings many delights that would be missed on a coach or water tour. 

I am not saying these are redundant. It is just there are other ways to travel. Being independent give flexibility and an opportunity to go off the well worn tourist track. 

You may decide to do something completely different. 

What is important though, make a decision now. None of us know how long we have on this wonderful planet. 

No point putting stuff off until you have more, something else changes. That something else could be you not being able to enjoy these years. 

What are your plans for this exciting time of life?

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