At the time of their birth, most baby boomers could not imagine living to be 100. In 1950, there were an estimated 2,300 people in the United States who were 100 years old. By 2010, that number had increased to 80,000. U.S. Census Bureau projects that centenarians will top 600,000 by 2050.
That data, cited by the Merrill Lynch Affluent Insights Survey, shows that age 100 is a realistic life expectancy for many. Popular artist “Five for Fighting” waxed eloquently about a long lifetime in its popular song “100 Years”:
“There’s never a wish better than this/
When you only got 100 years to live”
It’s easy to calculate life expectancies: The Society of Actuaries has made a handy spreadsheet available. It will show, for instance, that a 65-year-old woman now has a 30 percent chance of living past the age of 90.
— Sharon Emek, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO