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Longevity Risk Not a Topic of Discussion for Majority of Middle-Income Americans, New Study Says

CHICAGO, March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- One out of every four 65-year olds today will live past age 90.  Yet, for 87 percent of our country's middle-income Americans age 55 and older, the idea of one's own longevity is often not contemplated or discussed, according to a new study released by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center For A Secure Retirement ® (CSR).

The study, Longevity Risk and Reward for Middle-Income Americans, which surveyed 500 Americans ages 55 to 75 with an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000, found that middle-income Americans do not spend much time thinking about longevity. In fact, for most, longevity is not a topic of discussion.

Discussing Longevity with Others

  • Doctor (50%)
  • Spouse or partner (49%)
  • Children (34%)
  • Professional advisor (21%)
  • No one (15%)

Self Perception on Longevity
Despite their reluctance to discuss longevity, those surveyed accurately estimated average life expectancy for American adults.  On average, respondents with a median age of 65 said they think they will live to age 86, irrespective of gender, income or health.

When it comes to perception of common factors influencing longevity, two-thirds feel that their life expectancy is out of their control, saying that genetics (65%) is the determining factor in how long they will live as compared to their own actions, such as eating right (46%), exercising (44%) or smoking (37%).

Longevity Risk and Rewards
Living longer has its rewards.  Middle-income retirees say they are having experiences in retirement that they never imaged, such as travel, volunteering and community involvement.

However, longevity also comes with risk.  According to the study, the two primary concerns are declining health associated with age, and the ability to create a sustainable retirement income that may need to last 20 years or more.

"Considering longevity and the risks of outliving retirement savings is a first step in developing and achieving heath, income and even personal goals for a satisfying retirement," said Chris Campbell, vice president of marketing and business development at Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer.  "Discuss with loved ones or a professional advisor how life expectancy may affect decisions you make about your retirement years."

Two Decades Separate Wisdom and Old Age
Today's middle-income Americans, ages 55 to 75, find themselves in their "wisdom" years, but not yet in "old age."  Study respondents believe that wisdom comes with turning age 56, but old age does not really start until age 78.


Outlook on Future
When asked if their best years are ahead or behind them, the majority of middle-income retirees and pre-retirees are optimistic about the future.  Six in ten (60%) middle-income Americans age 55 and older say their best years are ahead of them.  Respondents attribute this to their positive attitude or outlook on life and freedom from work.

For the two-fifths (40%) of respondents that report that their best years are behind them, they attribute the realities of aging, their health and an overall negative outlook as the primary reason.

The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement's study Longevity Risk and Reward for Middle-Income Americans was conducted in November 2012 by the independent research firm The Boomer Project.  The full report can be viewed at

A nationwide sample of 500 Americans ages 55 to 75 who have an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000 participated in the Internet-based survey.

Responses were weighted to match U.S. Census data on the selected age segment. The margin of error was 4.47 percentage points at the 90% confidence level.

About the Center for a Secure Retirement
The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement is the Company's research and consumer education program.  Its studies and consumer awareness campaigns provide insight and practical advice for how everyday Americans can achieve financial security during retirement.  To learn more, visit

Established in 1879 in Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty Company focuses on the insurance needs of the retirement market.  The nationwide company, a subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: CNO), offers a broad portfolio of health and life insurance and annuities designed especially for retirees.  To learn more, visit

SOURCE: Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement
CONTACT: Jennifer Born, 312-296-7089,