Do You Have a Plan For Your Last 8,000 Days?

We are living longer and spending a longer period of time in retirement than ever before. As medical science has advanced, our year-round access to organic produce has increased and our lives have gotten less physical with technology, people continue to live longer and longer. This increased lifespan has had a profound effect on how we plan for retirement.


Time Spent in Retirement Over The Years
Year Retired Male Average Retirement Age % of Aged Population with a Pension Life Expectancy Male 65 years old Average Years Spent in Retirement
1965 65 45.7 78 13
1980 62.5 66 79 16.5
2000 62.5 42 81 18.5
2017 63.5 30 84.3 20.8

*Sources: Center for Retirement Research Boston College,,,

*Population with a pension includes both government and private sector


It used to be that one would retire, live for a few years, and pass away. It was a short, quiet and simple ride off into the sunset. With longer lifespans, retirement has become an entirely new life stage. The MIT Agelab has come up with a concept they call “A Life in 8,000 Day Parts”. They break down a life into equal 8,000 day (22 year) segments that correspond to one’s main concerns, goals, and general direction.

  • Birth to college graduation at age 22
  • College graduation to a midlife crisis at about age 44
  • Midlife to retirement at age 66
  • 8,000 days from your retirement party forward

With retirement as an entire quarter of the average person’s life, we have to take a hard look at what that means for our planning. As financial advisors, serving individuals in the Portland / Vancouver Metro area, we have to help our clients figure out how they’re going to navigate the challenges that will come with decades of voluntary unemployment.

We have to walk with someone through:

  • The human aspect of retirement planning- what will give their life meaning and purpose during their retirement years?
  • The financial aspect of retirement planning- how do we create a plan that will provide sustainable income?
  • Life decisions along the way- should you downsize, simplify your portfolio, or move closer to family?
  • What if there are higher taxes, medical costs, or inflation?
  • What if one spouse passes away? How will that affect the surviving spouse financially and personally?
  • What if there is a cognitive decline or need for long term care?

More so than ever before, retirement is full of choices and decisions. That’s why it’s so critical to work with someone who has helped retirees navigate their final stage of life. Make sure you have a plan for your 8, 9 or even 10 thousand final days of life!