I remember how surprised my family was when my great-grandmother lived to be 93, quite a bit older than family members before her.
But today, I'm shocked as I hear from friends visiting grandparents in their early-100s. While my own observations are anything but scientific, experts have said the average life expectancy has been increasing.
According to the Social Security Administration, on average, around one out of every four 65-year-olds today will live past age 90, and one out of 10 will live past age 95. That means more Americans will likely work past the traditional retirement age of 65, plus need to plan for a longer retirement, according to Marty Kurtz, certified financial planner and founder of the Planning Center.
Kurtz said longer life spans have already been affecting his clients' lives.
"I'll tell you a funny story," Kurtz said. "There's a woman who's been a client for many years and I see her in the morning. And in the afternoon, another client comes in. They're both 75 years old and have the same problem: Their mothers are driving them crazy."
He continued, "It used to be when you get to 75 or older, you think your parents won't be around anymore. And it's not that you don't want people to live as long as they can. But that's just not necessarily the case anymore."
Financial advisers have been at the forefront of the discussion surrounding longevity planning. Kurtz said longer life spans "put so much pressure on our money to last longer."
That means everything from personal savings to pension plans and Social Security will need to survive a longer retirement, he said. And with changes to pensions, or defined benefit plans, becoming more common, Kurtz said each individual needs to plan for retirement, more now than ever.
"Maybe when we're looking at the future, there might be five or six generations alive at the same time, when it used to be two," he said. "So that money used to be passed down, but that might not be coming anymore because parents are still using it. So money skills are something that are mandatory living skills for the next generation. You can't be bad with money anymore."
Here is Kurtz's advice for planning for a longer life.
Live within your means
Kurtz said the most important step is live within your means today. That includes making sure your income and expenses are sustainable.
He also advises paying off debt early, avoiding taking out loans on a new car or piece of furniture, and paying for big purchases in full when possible.
Live for tomorrow
Financial advisers stress it's important to start planning for retirement now, even if you're in the early stages of your career.
That means, pay yourself first by contributing to retirement and other savings accounts before spending on unnecessary items. It's also useful to take advantage of retirement plans and benefit matches offered by employers.
The earlier you save, the more investment growth you'll have over time. And by being aggressive when it comes to retirement planning and building up personal savings, you can worry less about needing money from other sources in the future.
Live for yourself
The key to longevity planning, Kurtz said, is imagine the life you want for yourself. While everyone is different, he advises clients to consider their values and how those play out during a long life.
He said people should consider where they want to live, the lifestyle they want, potential health care costs and family relationships.
Some may need to work longer than previous generations to afford the lifestyle they want after retirement. But either way, tackling longevity planning today will help ease worries about the future, he said.
Every person is different and lifestyles vary, so there's no "one-size-fits-all" approach to retirement planning. Talking to a financial adviser can help plan for the future, and there are also several online tools to help determine your life expectancy and retirement needs.