Pexels/Nashua Volquez

With advances in medicine and nutrition, people are living longer lives than at any other time in history. In the U.S. alone, 2019 estimates indicate that there may be as many as 72,000 people aged 100 or older. As of 2018, the oldest person currently alive is Japan’s Kane Tanaka at 116.

If you’re hoping to join the centenarian club, you’ll have to plan for a longer retirement. Most investment professionals help you to save enough so that you can enjoy life until your late 70s or 80s (the average estimated life expectancy) but not necessarily until 100. If that’s not enough, we’ve got a way to change things up so that you can enjoy a strong quality of life for another two decades or more.

Typical retirement savings vehicles

Most Americans are familiar with typical savings plans, such as IRAs, 401(k)s and 403(b) plans. These tax-advantaged accounts allow them to set aside money for retirement over time and some include employer contributions that stretch their dollars further. Financial experts recommend using these kinds of vehicles to save 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement.

With these methods, many simply don’t have the funds to maintain their lifestyle after a specific age. Healthcare issues later in life can also add to financial risk, and social security as a guaranteed income stream may not be able to be counted on as it once was.

Annuities are another option

Those who are hoping to live past 100 understand the risks they have for outliving their retirement savings and might want to consider an alternate way to pay for their later years: an annuity. This vehicle allows people to hand over a lump sum of money all at once or a pool of money strategically developed over time. In exchange for this capital, the payee is guaranteed a lump sum payment every year while they are alive, no matter how long they live.

What can an annuity actually pay versus the amount that you’ve contributed? Is it worth the investment? Maybe. Here’s one annuity calculator that will show you what saving through this vehicle may look like. If you’d like to compare it with other calculators, there are a number of them that are available online.

Professional advice may be helpful

There are multiple ways to approach starting an annuity. Some people contribute to annuity plans for years, others start to use one only when they’re closer to retirement and realize that what they have saved won’t meet their needs. Depending on how it is set up, it can also be designed to cover both you and a spouse but rates for payouts can vary. Lastly, funds can be taken from either tax-advantaged or non-tax advantages sources.

These financial issues can be overwhelming to some people. If you feel like you have questions and don’t already have support from a financial service professional, it may be helpful to find one. Ask for a referral from a friend or trusted colleague, or start your search online. You’re trusting this person to help you with your money so be sure to interview multiple candidates, conduct reference checks, and look for accreditation from third-party endorsers such as the Better Business Bureau.

Once you’ve found your ideal advisor, they’ll be the best person to help you plan for life after you’re done working. With their expertise, you’ll be able to enjoy a strong quality of life no matter how long your retirement lasts. If you are one of the lucky ones to enjoy living for 100 years or longer, you’ll be ready!