Navigating the Longevity Economy: Financial Resilience for an Ageing World 

How employers, policymakers, and society must adapt to meet the needs of individuals throughout their longer lives

A collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

Over the past 4 years, Mercer (Marsh McLennan) has worked with The World Economic Forum’s Longevity Economy Initiative to convene leaders across business, government, and civil society. The goal of this initiative is to bring alignment across sectors to address the demographic and financial challenges of global ageing and to support individuals to be resilient in their longer lives.

As part of this initiative, we drove the development of longevity economy principles, in collaboration with over 35 leading organisations. These principles are designed to create a common language and framework to bring together the many core factors that employers, policymakers, and society need to consider to help people age well.

Increasing lifespans require changes to ensure that we have corresponding increases in time spent in good health and wealth. This means employers will need to create an inclusive environment for all generations, with education and reskilling opportunities available for all workers in the multigenerational workforce, not only for young and new employees. Finding purpose is essential to remaining happy and healthy in a longer life, and a continued focus on equality is vital, particularly to support those from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Six principles for the longevity economy

Nearly 40% globally face financial instability after unplanned career interruptions, including career breaks, illness or unexpected retirement. Public-private collaboration is crucial to support individuals navigating these challenges.*

Only 33% of the global population is deemed financially literate, contributing to wealth inequalities, strongly correlated with life expectancy inequalities. Comprehensive, impartial financial education empowers individuals to make informed financial decisions.*

Around one-fifth of life is expected to be lived with illness, and 80% of adults in developing countries are concerned with the cost of medical expenses. Equitable access to health services can facilitate well-being for both the individual and broader society.

Internationally, up to 25% of individuals aged 55 and older wish to work in old age but face barriers in finding opportunities. Demographic shifts and technology innovations require jobs and skill-building to adapt and evolve, enabling individuals to extend their working years as desired.*

Social connection is integral to healthy longevity. Socially isolated older adults have a higher risk of poor health and earlier death. Intentional design of systems and environments for social connection can mitigate these impacts.

Benefits of longevity are not distributed equitably. Advocacy for pay and pension equity, as well as support for informal caregivers, are some of the crucial elements to ensure that financial security and the benefits of longevity can be more accessible to all.

Longevity economy principles: The foundation for a financially resilient future

The six principles outlined in this report provide a holistic framework on how governments and employers can enable a financially resilient future for an ageing world. 

Mercer colleagues leading this initiative

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