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Longevity literacy 

The real secret to retirement readiness

It’s widely known that people with high financial literacy plan more and save more for retirement. But an economically healthy retirement isn’t just about financial literacy, according to TIAA Institute research; longevity literacy also is crucial for having confidence in a financially healthy retirement. 

For a 65-year-old couple in the United States today, one of them has a 50% chance of living to 92 years old. And for people in their mid-50s now (looking at you, Gen X), 33% of men and 50% of women can expect to live to 90 years old.

Thanks, improved health care … but what will they live on?

Increasing attention has been paid to the lack of financial literacy among American adults. And rightly so. After all, financial illiteracy cost Americans more than $436 billion in 2022, according to the National Financial Educators Council. 

But perhaps more frightening than financial illiteracy is the just-as-acute lack of longevity literacy – more simply put, knowing how long you’ll live in retirement. 

Of course, the best anyone can do is guess. Yet it’s precisely that number that brings any sort of reality to your retirement equation. American workers are encouraged to save as much as possible to achieve retirement readiness, without having any knowledge of whether that nest egg will last them the remainder of their lives.

American adults need to learn more about longevity and how long their savings might have to last so they not only save enough but also spend it wisely. Combining retirement education and plan features like lifetime income is key to ensuring workers can make their savings last.

Knowledge of life expectancy for a 60-year-old

Among those who save for retirement on a regular basis

Knowledge of life expectancy for a 60-year-old

Get more detailOpens pdf about longevity literacy and how it affects retirement readiness in the full TMRW publication.

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