Provided by RBC Wealth Management and Brian Kroneberger, CFP®

When creating a long-term investment strategy, you need to think about your goals, circumstances, risk tolerance and liquidity needs. But you should also place considerable weight on one other factor: your projected longevity.

Your estimated life span can help determine how much you need to save and invest, how much you can afford to withdraw each year from your retirement accounts, how much insurance to carry, and how much you may be able to leave to your family.

Of course, none of us can say for sure how long we will live. We might look at our family history of longevity and our own health status for clues. But a growing body of evidence suggests a lot of us are actually underestimating how long we are going to be around.

Life spans are going up

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, a 65-year-old man is expected to live another 17.9 years (to age 82.9). And a 65-year-old woman can anticipate living another 20.5 years (to age 85.5). These numbers have been repeatedly revised upward in recent years, indicating a clear trend toward greater longevity. For further proof, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the population of U.S. centenarians (those reaching 100 years of age) has grown by 44 percent since the year 2000.

Given these facts, you might want to review your portfolio to determine if it is well-positioned to help sustain you for a longer lifetime than you may once have envisioned – keeping in mind that investing successfully for longevity is more than a matter of how much you invest. You may also want to reevaluate how you are investing.

During your retirement years, when you rely on some of your investments for income, you need growth potential in your portfolio as well. Growth may help you prepare for a longer time horizon.

Costs are going up too

Inflation has been low for several years, although that could change in the future. Even at a relatively low 3 percent inflation rate, prices double roughly every 25 years. Depending on your personal needs, your spending may go up over time. For example, you may pay for more doctor’s office visits and prescriptions to help you stay healthy as you get older.

To help your purchasing power keep up with inflation, it may be practical to diversify conservative portfolios heavy on fixed income allocations by reallocating a portion toward conservative equity investments that may provide the growth you need for a longer retirement.

By planning for greater longevity, you can help yourself feel more confident about your ability to enjoy a long and happy retirement.