Expert Interview with Michael Nuschke on the Future of Retirement for

What is the future of your retirement?
What is the future of your retirement?

Financial planner Michael Nuschke quotes hockey great Wayne Gretzky when asked what we can do to better prepare for the future of retirement:

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”

The Retirement Futurist has made it his job to study and understand how rapidly changing technology, advances in medicine and the resulting increased lifespans will impact the future of how we retire, and he writes about his discoveries on his blog, Retirement Singularity.

“Everyone will benefit by becoming a bit of a futurist,” Michael says. “We live in interesting times!”

Here, Michael shares why he started his site and what we can all do to better prepare for growing old. Read on:

What is your professional background / area of expertise? How did you become a Retirement Futurist (and what is a Retirement Futurist)?

BA from McGill University (in Montreal)…then carpenter, stock broker, fee-only financial planner, then financial planning advisor since 1987. Currently focus on retirement and investment planning in my practice – while developing my financial futurist position.

As far as I know, I created the title “Retirement Futurist.” My focus is in providing perspective and advice on the implications of advancing technology and medicine to the area of retirement planning. Nearly all plannFuture of retirementers use linear assumptions – but we are now living in an exponential world in many important ways.

Tell us about Retirement Singularity…when and why did you start your site? Who should be reading it?

I started the blog in January 2011. I’ve had a real passion about the future and the impacts of advancing technology. My profession, meanwhile, was as an investment and financial planning advisor. These were for me two different worlds – but then as technological change started to noticeably accelerate, I realized they are not separate. I am advising people on their financial futures — so I thought I’d better take my understanding of where we are headed seriously! is directed at individuals who are wondering about retirement, or are nearing retirement or are already retired. It is about the future of the relatively recent notion of “retirement” in an accelerating-change environment.

What do you think the average American would find most surprising or shocking when it comes to the future of older Americans?

Two main areas of “Future Shock,” to borrow Toffler’s term: an acceleration in healthy life extension and technological disruption. I believe there is a strong likelihood that if we are around in decent/OK health in 20 years, we will have the option to be around indefinitely. Meanwhile, technology will at first cause much disruption (technological unemployment, pension underfunding, economic disturbances) finally resolving into a world of abundance – you will print (future of 3D printing) your clothes, food, medications in a world of essentially free energy and resources (from solar, nanotech fabrication), etc.

Why do you think we often stick our head in the sand when it comes to planning our retirement or addressing the reality of longer lifespans?

This is different for different people, but it is a combination of fear of aging-death, thinking linearly (i.e., unable to see how progress is accelerating), a negative view of human nature, cultural religious preconceptions over things like “defeating aging is unnatural.”

What are the broad implications of increased lifespans for both individuals and their families and society as a whole?

Individuals need to rethink their preconceptions of how their life will unfold in light of these coming (or already here!) changes. There are books written about how this will change families and society (see Sonia Arrisson’s 100+ or Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near)

Overall, once we grasp the significance, the importance of staying healthy becomes highlighted. Also, the importance of not destroying the Earth is even more poignant, given not only will our children be around in 100 years, but so may we!

What do you think retirement will look for the next generation?

Retirement, if the word survives at all, will initially be more like a mini-retirement or break between life stages. This whole area will continue to evolve so the “next generation” is hard to define if they live 120+ or indefinitely. It is more what will humanity look like beyond 30 years or so.

What can today’s young adults do to prepare better for longer lifespans? How should we change our thinking about working, retiring and saving money?

Invest in yourself and your ability to create an income, livelihood, business. Focus on optimizing health and developing critical thinking and creativity (yes, these can be developed!). The ability to adapt will be key. Start tracking the changes coming in key areas of your life to get a sense of how change is accelerating. Get prepared to ride the wave of change versus getting swamped.

How have you approached getting older in your own life? What plans have you made? How do you think the way you’ve approached the next phase of your life differs from that of your peers?

I am developing the Retirement Singularity area so that my passion is the same as my livelihood (speaking, books, trainings). I also spend several months each year in Mexico; I regularly meditate and am proactive about staying healthy.

Follow Michael on Facebook.

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