NY Times: The Financial Time Bomb of Longer Lives

NewImage.jpgFor the first time in history, people 65 and over are about to outnumber children under 5 and are creating a Financial Time Bomb.

The New York Times reports that as we’re living longer and healthier lives than before, we’re faced with a question of how we fund the services governments provide.

In many countries, older people entitled to government-funded pensions, health services and long-term care will soon outnumber the work force whose taxes help finance those benefits. This demographic shift also means that the number of people living with dementia, whose treatment is estimated to cost $604 billion worldwide this year, is expected to more than triple, to 115 million, by 2050, according to a report this year by Alzheimer’s Disease International, a group representing 73 Alzheimer’s associations around the world.

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No other force is as likely to shape the future of national economic health, public finances and national policies, according to a new analysis on global aging from Standard & Poor’s, as the “irreversible rate at which the population is growing older.”

How are the most developed countries handling preparations for the boom in the elderly population — and for the budget-busting expenditures that are sure to follow?

For a majority, not very well.

The Financial Time Bomb of Longer Lives