Iowans are living longer, creating concern about paying for retirement

IOWA CITY — Iowa’s average life expectancy is now in the 80s, according to a University of Iowa study. The report also finds Iowa has the nation’s highest percentage of residents over age 80, and predicts by 2030, those Iowans 65 and older could outnumber people 18 and younger.

Brian Kaskie, a UI professor of health policy, tells KCRG TV the trend could lead to problems down the line, because as more Iowans retire, there are fewer people to fill their jobs. Kaskie says, “It’s a really interesting phenomenon where as people are living longer, engaged healthy lives, we’re also strained to continue supporting them because that replacement group isn’t coming up.”

This could result in older Iowans postponing their retirement to combat the worker shortage. Others may need to keep working out of necessity, he says, as a longer life expectancy can also mean people needing to save more for a longer retirement. “The first question is, ‘Have I saved enough?’ and most people haven’t,” Kaskie says.

People have been getting access to good health care, they’ve had good jobs, and they’ve been able to live longer lives. Kaskie says these changes are thanks to resources Iowa has to offer that have made it a good place to grow older. He says scattered across Iowa are age-friendly areas that are especially accommodating for older Iowans. These areas have an abundance of resources, including accessible healthcare facilities.