Retirement Strategies
The Life Expectancy Gender Gap Is Narrowing

The Life Expectancy Gender Gap Is Narrowing

The difference between the average life expectancy for men and women is narrowing as more women have entered the workforce and seen its toll taken on their health, said Katherine Roy, chief retirement strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. The firm believes one day this life expectancy differential could be gone.

In 1990, the average 65-year-old woman was expected to live 4 years longer than the average man, according to J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s 2016 Retirement Guide. By 2010, that difference was 2.6 years; the gender gap is expected to dwindle to 1.9 years by 2090.


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Anne Lester, global head of retirement solutions, said most people in the United Kingdom and Australia don’t understand that half of people are going to be above average and live longer than the average life expectancy.

“You can’t gamble and assume you’re going to be half below average on this one,” she said, during a press briefing in New York on Monday. 

This is why millennials need to save more for their retirement, the firm says.

As people live longer, that will also impact how much they spend on health care costs. Last year, the firm estimated median health care costs to be $4,400 for the average 65-year-old. This year, the firm estimates it is $4,660. And by the time that 65-year-old reaches 85 in 2036, their health care costs are expected to average $18,030, an annual growth rate of 7 percent. Today, estimated total median health care costs for age 85 are $7,490.

The growth rate is a function of rising health care costs as well as inflation, Roy said. 

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