The main takeaway from the report is that, given the opportunity to live to be a hundred, most of us would live our lives differently. We might choose a different profession or take a career break to raise children, volunteer or pursue a dream. Given 30 more years to live, more than half the respondents would travel more, over a third would live somewhere else and more than a quarter would chase a dream or start a business. In short, live their lives with fewer regrets.
Currently, regrets are what the youngest of the study group lives with right now. More than a fifth of the millennials in the study wished their jobs felt like they made a difference. Which is probably why going back to school held great appeal for a quarter of the respondents in this age group.
Born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s, millennials stood to gain the most – and lose the most – from the additional golden years. For them, the gift of time was a double-edge sword.
On the one hand, they wanted to put the time to good use – work on personal growth, take the road less travelled, make the world a better place. On the other, they were the least financially prepared to do so. Given the financial implications, nearly a third of the millennials surveyed were actually overwhelmed by the thought of living to be centenarians.
The obstacle for millennials was not the courage to make bold choices, but finances. And, indeed, financial security was the greatest concern across all generations. Almost a half said they would save more if they knew they were going to live to be a hundred. Sadly, more than half didn’t think they had saved enough to realize their retirement dreams – even if they didn’t live that long.
As people adapt to the new paradigm, so too will employers. Given an additional 30 years, half of the respondents would like to take advantage of flexi time, work from home or have a permanent part-time job. Projecting themselves into the future, they think older people should be able to remain in the workplace longer or even return to it.
As to regrets, the younger generation can take lessons from their older counterparts. The report found that people with a financial plan were happier and had fewer regrets with major life choices than those without, which in this study, was 80 percent of millennials.
The good news is that 43 percent of the younger generations – the Gen Xers and the millennials – saw themselves as happier in their twilight years. Seems like the fear of old age is losing its edge.