6 Principles of Longevity Economics World Economic Forum Weighs In

In an era where global life expectancy continues to rise, birth rates fall and countries are shrinking demographically, the World Economic Forum’s new Principles of Longevity Economics are not only timely, they are essential. These principles are designed not only to orient the challenges ahead, but also to prepare to seize the opportunities presented by a new era of longevity and generational rebalancing. In the future society, both countries and companies will want to ensure three fundamental interrelated skills for their population and workforce: financial resilience, healthy aging and social inclusion.

Haleh Nazeri, head of the Longevity Economics Forum, is the driving force behind the principles. She notes during a 4-Quarter Lives podcast that there are two ways to address the Longevity Economy: one as a disaster to be managed, the other as an opportunity to be seized. She strongly promotes the latter. This longer lifespan gives us a chance to improve and renew the way we’ve run things in the past century, she says. Everything from our retirement and pension systems to the way we work and even the way we think about our health and friendships.

These road maps for the arrival of the second billion (the additional number of people over 60 in the world by 2050) are much-needed companions to an unprecedented human rebalancing. This demographic shift requires a reassessment of how we approach aging and longevity. The principles of the Longevity Economy provide a strategic framework, addressing key areas such as financial stability, health, education and social connections.

Innovating a new paradigm of aging (for every age)

Six principles to guide your strategic rethinking:

  1. Financial sustainability in major life events: Life is unpredictable. From career breaks to unexpected health issues, financial stability is crucial. WEF advocates robust social safety nets and innovative financial products to help individuals navigate these challenges. This requires cooperation between public policies and private sector innovations to prevent financial distress and promote stability. Martine Ferland, former CEO of Mercer points out that “the longevity economy is here, and organizations willing to stay ahead of this demographic shift will need to transform to support a dynamic, multigenerational workforce. Unlocking the potential of this transformation demographics is an integral way employers can support a healthier, more productive and vibrant future for our economies and societies.
  2. Incorporating financial literacy: The WEF says that only a third of people worldwide can be described as financially literate. This contributes to inequalities not only in wealth but also in life expectancy. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to managing finances. WEF emphasizes the need for universal access to financial education. By improving financial literacy, individuals can make informed decisions that increase their economic security and overall well-being. The model they cite is Singapore’s national MoneySense program, launched in 2003 to help people manage their money well. Most countries are not so prepared.
  3. Prioritizing prevention for healthy aging: A longer life should also mean a healthier life. The principles advocate shifting the focus of health care toward prevention and equal access to medical services. By promoting health maintenance tall treatment of the disease, societies can ensure that people not only live longer, but also enjoy a better quality of life. As Roy Gori, CEO of Manulife points out, “We know people are living longer, but not healthier lives. Health and wellness should be a global priority and we are committed to doing our part to help customers our people to live longer, healthier and better lives The principles of the Longevity Economy describe how companies like ours can contribute to scalable solutions, innovations and new ways of operating to contribute to a more sustainable future. stable.”
  4. Developing jobs and enabling lifelong skills building: A quarter of people aged 55 and over want to work in old age but face barriers to finding opportunities, notes WEF. In a world where careers are spanning decades, companies will want to integrate this workforce. Allowing people to work beyond retirement age and making it easier to return to work after career breaks. Continuous learning will become the essential tool to enable this. The WEF calls for work structures and education systems to adapt. Lifelong learning and skills development must become more continuous, enabling older workers to remain engaged and productive at any age and stage.
  5. Design in relation to social goals: Social isolation is a growing concern in the aging population. The principles emphasize the importance of fostering environments that foster social connections and a sense of purpose. This approach is vital for mental and physical health, ensuring that individuals feel valued and engaged in their communities. Marco La Marca, member of the European Commission’s cabinet, insists “we must create a society where everyone, regardless of age, can thrive and enjoy the benefits of demographic change. As we navigate this transition, we must embrace society and the economy of life.
  6. Addressing life expectancy inequalities: Inequalities in aging, whether based on gender, race or class, must be addressed. The WEF advocates targeted action to reduce these inequalities, ensuring that the benefits of longer life expectancy are accessible to all.

These six principles have received support from leading private and public sector organizations across various sectors. Over 35 institutions have signed, including Mercer, Manulife, BlackRock and the European Commission. These organizations are taking concrete actions such as designing age-inclusive employee value propositions and developing innovative financial products to support an aging population.

An Intersectorial, Public/Private Collaboration

A good complement to the WEFs guide is the 10-point Charter recently published by Frances Club Landoy, where the country’s leading CEOs came together to publish guidelines on how to proactively integrate and develop their workforce over 50. Academic institutions such as the Stanford Center on Longevity’s New Map of Life and MIT’s AgeLab, along with organizations such as the Global Coalition on Aging, are integrating these principles into their research and advocacy efforts. This multi-sectoral approach provides a comprehensive strategy that addresses various aspects of ageing.

The longevity economy is now upon us and is reshaping our world. Helping individuals be financially resilient for a longer life will require a collaborative effort from the public sector, the private sector and civil society, Nazeri notes. Work has begun, but must be accelerated in the coming years.

The WEF’s Lifetime Economy Principles provide a guide for navigating this new reality. By fostering financial resilience, promoting healthy aging and addressing inequalities, countries and companies can build a future where longer lives are synonymous with better lives.

Adapting to this new age of longevity will mean redesigning systems to support all generations. By working together, we can ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live healthy, financially secure and purposeful lives, no matter how long they live.

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