Want to Live to 120? Soon You Can — If You Can Afford It

Save early and often. You just might live to be 120.

  • Share
  • Read Later

Much is made of the longevity revolution, and rightfully so. The average life expectancy in 1900 was 47 years. Today it is 78. This three-decade bonus has fundamentally altered the economy, politics, and society, while helping lay waste to pension systems around the globe and shatter any notion of a traditional life path.

Of course, medical breakthroughs and better healthcare have also blessed us with more time to accomplish our goals, pursue our passions, and spend time with grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other loved ones. So these extra years really are a bonus—as long as you can pay for them.

But here’s the thing: We haven’t seen anything yet. Scientists believe they’re on the cusp of new treatments that will slow or stop the aging process and allow humans to remain healthy and productive to the age of 120 or older.

This is a big deal. Previous increases in the average human life span were achieved in big part by medicines that allowed more infants and children to survive to adulthood. The coming breakthroughs will push the boundaries of human aging well past previous limits.

The prospect of radical life extension has scholars and religious leaders pondering the impact. Pope Benedict XVI has said, “Endless life would be no paradise.” But most religions are on board, figuring a longer life affords more time for good works and to achieve oneness with your maker.

Americans generally are okay with a gradual rise in the age of the population. Nine in 10 say that an aging population is either neutral or positive, according to a Pew survey. We’re also optimistic about our future: 81% say they are satisfied with their lives today and 84% expect that 10 years from now their lives will be the same or better. Even amid a national retirement savings crisis, just 18% say they worry a lot about money.

Yet most find the prospect of living to 120 unsettling. Roughly half in the survey said medical treatments that stretch life spans so far would be bad for society. Even more shunned the idea of undergoing such treatments to extend their own lives. Two-thirds said their ideal expiration date was between 79 and 100 years. Only 4% wanted to live to the age of 121 or beyond.

Meanwhile, two-thirds believe that only the rich would be able to lengthen their lives, and just as many worry that science would offer up radical life-extending treatments before the health effects were fully understood.

Our aging population is here to stay. Two-thirds of all the people who have ever lived to age 65 are alive today, and even without new breakthroughs this trend will only grow more pronounced. By 2050, according to U.S. Census Bureau projections, one in five Americans will be 65 or older, and at least 400,000 will be 100 or older.

Radical life-extension treatments would greatly accelerate the trend, disrupting the life-stage model again and further straining our resources even as we find time to revel in our visits with great-great-great-great grandchildren.

23 comments
weddinginloves
weddinginloves

Prolong people's lives is certainly good news, I hope to live a hundred, while the body is still great hope that this day would come sooner. Like buying things like, first buy the goods are not the best, the last is the best buy. Extend the life of human beings still need time, slowly waiting for the near future will be realized.

sean.giorgianni
sean.giorgianni

Why do many feel science can extend life, but not God? So called Radical Life Extension is not new and it falls short of things already promised. Proponents are, in fact, the same ones who needlessly complicate the simplicity of God's word for personal gain:

(Psalm 37:29) The righteous themselves will possess the earth, And they will reside forever upon it.

(Isaiah 25:8) He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces. And the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken [it].

(Isaiah 66:22) “For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making are standing before me,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “so the offspring of YOU people and the name of YOU people will keep standing.”

(Matthew 25:46) And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.”

(1 Corinthians 15:26) As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.

(Revelation 21:3, 4) With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. 4 And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”


Robbot
Robbot

Only Einstein wants to live to 120 ! 

MusikaVanhu
MusikaVanhu

You begin reading the article with the expectation as to how exactly aging process will be tamed and reverse; yet nothing.

What a joke journalist is this one.  lol


Anyway, those who know and are pursuing the purpose of human life, will have no problem living for as long as it takes for this task to be completed.

Truth be told, humans have the capacity to live as long as they wish.  The key is to unveil that capacity.

tshephard
tshephard

Nobody wants to extend their life.   They want to extend their ability to enjoy life.

KevinBoyer
KevinBoyer

No actual information in this article, and the headline is misleading. A couple of people should be sent back to editing and writing school.

MooseMulligan
MooseMulligan

So, we read through the entire article to find the only point being made was to complain about the Radical life-extension treatments disrupting the life-stage model again and further straining our resources.

 Sometimes, I really despise reading Time.  Just step up and say you are a tree hugger at the start don't make us think you have anything of substance when you don't.

smather2175
smather2175

Extending life expectancy is only as good as the quality of life that goes with it.

jkantor
jkantor

"Average" life expectancy is meaningless because of child mortality rates. You need to use Median life expectancy - but journalists are too stupid to understand that.

alyssa.hewitt9
alyssa.hewitt9

It's not like the world is actually becoming a better place to live....

Leatnic
Leatnic

The author claims that two-thirds of people 65 and older are alive today. That just didn't sound right, so I looked into it.
the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 7.9% (553 million) of the world population is over 65.
That means a very healthy portion (about 1 in 6) of the people born from 1900 to 1950 (3.4 billion) have lived to a ripe age. (Population Reference Bureau estimates)
This leaves a minimum of about 3 billion people born from 1900 to 1950 who died.
The assertion was that two thirds of those 65 and over who have ever lived are still alive (830m – 553m = 277m)
This would mean that less than one in ten (277 million total) of the deceased born between 1900-1950 lived to be 65 or older, AND that no one born before 1900 ever lived to be 65.
All four of my grandparents were born between 1900 and 1950, have died, and all four lived to be 65. The odds of even one person in a hundred having all 4 grandparents in that demographic are pretty long if it were a 1 in 10 proposition.
And we know that plenty of people born before 1900 lived to be 65.
The 2/3 claim is pure poppycock.

bobsutan
bobsutan

"The average life expectancy in 1900 was 47 years."


Yes and no. This commonly cited figure is misleading because it includes the high infant mortality rate. Once kids got past a certain age their life expectancy rates skyrocketed to almost what we have today.

KeinoPurcell
KeinoPurcell

If justin timberlake promises to steal more time for us then I would be down with it.

DaveRobertson
DaveRobertson

Being rich doesn't make you live longer - dying is an equal opportunity occurrence.  Also, if you live longer you should be able to work longer - so additional funds are not necessary.  Or do we want a large retired population of 65-100+?

robinj369
robinj369

Just think about the opportunity to develop offworld communities when the world gets too crowded.

magnumpi28
magnumpi28

Im 43, I dont want to live past 100 but when i reach 100 i will change my mind :)

x277
x277

No, I don't want to live to 120.

Bananaland
Bananaland

The 1% will live forever....Like in Elysium!

davycrockett1616
davycrockett1616

I think that Americans all know that YOU CAN BUY IT.  And that WE DON'T WANT TO DIE.  So, if you are a job creator, join in creating jobs for people who will keep you alive.  And then, when your end finally comes, ROAST.

GregKeener1
GregKeener1

@tshephard I know one person that would love to extend his life indefinitely. Me! Sign me up as a lab rat! 

dgdoesstuff
dgdoesstuff

@GregKeener1 @tshephard Me too! This? Sign me up!

I'm 25 and already take as many steps as I can afford toward living for as long as I possibly can. My will will have me down for cryostasis with my top 5 possessions in a locker.