Saturday, April 21, 2007

Life in the year 2059

I was checking out Fidelity's retirement planner and was once again confronted with the question of what I expected for my life expectancy. They suggested 92. I responded with 105. That seems to be a lifetime that feels "right" for me. It is nominally just more than twice my current age. I suspect what I will do is up it by two years every year so that I can always at least imagine that I still have half of my life in front of me.

Anyway... if I live until I am 105, that means I will be alive in the year 2059, 52 years from now. That raises the obvious question of what life will be like in the year 2059. I have no immediate answers, but it is at least an interesting thought experiment. It begs the question of what events might have transpired between now and then, but mostly I'm focusing on what the world will be like when I finally "leave the scene." On the other hand, maybe I should back off and look at the year 2049 or 2050 so that I can contemplate a time when I still have a whole ten years to live. That seems to make more sense. Besides, 2050 is a nice round number.

So, what will life be like in the year 2050? Some categories of thought:

  • Health, health care
  • Nutrition, food
  • Work
  • Play, recreation, entertainment
  • Housing, living spaces, living arrangements
  • Transportation, travel
  • Air quality
  • Water quality
  • Climate
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sports
  • Culture
  • Social relations
  • Marriage
  • Childrearing
  • School, education
  • Cultures
  • Crime, violence
  • Law
  • Philosophy
  • Economics
  • Foreign Relations
  • Nations
  • Conflicts, wars
  • Weapons
  • Materials
  • Buildings
  • Communications, computer networks
  • Tools and technologies
  • What can computers do?
  • What can computers still not do?
  • Biology, genetics
  • Space travel, space life
  • Global, national, regional, and local financial systems
  • Shopping
  • Insurance
  • What will money look like?
  • What will the term wealth mean?

Will life be radically different from today in a revolutionary sense, or more or an incremental evolutionary sense?

From a finance and retirement planning perspective, how much of this might we have to make sense of to adequately prepare ourselves for a "comfortable" retirement?

Will retirement planning be inherently a "moving target", with radical redeployment every five years?

-- Jack Krupansky