Executive summary

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Many wealthy individuals will never stop working. Higher life expectancies and financial pressures are prompting a general reassessment of 'traditional' retirement by the population at large. Wealthy individuals' attitudes have already shifted. Most want to keep on working in some form, even if they have little financial need to do so. These 'Nevertirees' are very actively engaged in what we would traditionally regard as their retirement years; continuing to work, starting businesses and taking on new projects. For many, their work is their passion, and to stop would be unthinkable.

The problem of unpredictability 2 of 8 The Age Illusion

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Unpredictability is a fact of life. Wealthy individuals are generally confident they can predict the amount of money needed to maintain their lifestyle in retirement - perhaps wrongly, given how difficult it is for someone to predict how long they will live.

However, wealthy individuals are less confident they can predict many other factors, such as their personal health or rates of return on investments. Succession issues add a further level of complexity to planning for later life.

Planning for your later years is challenging but essential. Worries about the difficulties of funding a conventional retirement - and succession - are encouraging many wealthy people to look at the later stages of life in different ways. But whether they plan to keep on working or take a conventional retirement, a clear-headed assessment of financial needs and how to fund them is essential. Whatever the circumstances, the focus is likely to remain on careful planning, rather than a radical change in the way in which we plan for and fund later life.

Attitudes will continue to change. The older, working wealthy are economically productive, paying taxes, creating jobs and growing their wealth: as such, they should be regarded as a valuable resource. But attitudes and expectations toward them may not yet have caught up with reality. The corporate sector will gain from their experience at the board level, but may worry about how to get individuals eventually to step down.