Fifty-three percent of the world’s wealthy investors, on average, expect to live to at least 100, UBS Investor Watch research reported last week.
These longevity expectations varied widely by the countries in the study, with 76% of Germans looking forward to a very ripe old age versus only 30% of Americans.
Although 49% of U.S. investors said they wanted to live to 100, the survey reported several reasons why they were skeptical this would happen:
- 93% said they were being realistic
- 77% said average life expectancy was 80
- 66% cited family history
- 53% said health care would not be sufficiently advanced
American respondents were also the most worried about being able to afford a long life, with 69% citing the cost of health care, compared with 52% of the global sample.
“As much as investors look forward to living 100 years, the prospect is creating anxiety for them, too,” Paula Polito, global client strategy officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a statement.
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“Despite being wealthy, they still worry about difficult choices they may face, such as spending a portion of their children’s inheritance to pay for health care, or working longer to sustain their lifestyle over time. Already, we are starting to see longevity change long-practiced financial behaviors.”
UBS surveyed some 5,000 investors with at least $1 million in investable assets between December and April. The global sample was split across the U.S. and nine other markets: Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE and the U.K.
More than 90% of both U.S. and global investors in the survey said their wealth enabled them to enjoy a healthier life.
They spend money on doctors’ visits and insurance premiums, as well as on preventive services, such as gyms, coaches, supplements and other “lifestyle” expenses. Millennials tend to spend more on these services than other generations, the results showed.
UBS noted that a smaller share of Americans’ total health spending than that of other investors goes toward preventive services — 37% versus an average of 46% — and more goes to direct health expenses — 63% versus 54%.
According to the study, 52% of U.S. investors believed that working longer was good for their health, much lower than the global average of 77%. For example, 93% of Hong Kong residents and 87% of Swiss respondents said working as long as possible was good for health.
Many survey respondents were actively taking steps to balance their work and personal lives, an area in which the U.S. lags. Whereas 62% of investors globally have stopped working on weekends, only 39% of the U.S. contingent said they had done so.