Why Thanksgiving Is A Longevity Planning Wake-Up Call For Millennials & Gen X

by Joseph F. Coughlin

Thanksgiving dinner raises so many questions and spirited discussions. Among the most hotly debated conversations is which is better – canned cranberry jelly or fresh? Hold on to that for a moment.

Thanksgiving is also a day that refocuses our attention. As we gaze across the table, past the turkey and cranberry jelly, our attention turns to how loved ones, particularly our aging parents, are doing. Suddenly small changes in their behavior or appearance, otherwise crowded out by the daily din of life, become questions on the car ride home from Thanksgiving day.

In my recent Forbes article, I identify three questions that Millennial and Gen X’er adult children are likely to confront over Thanksgiving.

There is also a fourth question. How does our parents’ aging inform how we envision our older future self – and what impact might it have on how we prepare for our own longevity?

Rather than today’s approach to retirement planning that tends to be laser focused on finance, individuals, families, and financial professionals should transition to what I have dubbed as ‘longevity planning.’ Longevity planning is a comprehensive approach to preparing to live longer, better. This approach certainly includes finance, but also addresses other practical considerations such as where we live, how we remain mobile, and what we will do in that nearly one-third of adult life known today as simply – retirement.

  • Share
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Get Involved

Interested in this area of study? See how you can participate in AgeLab research or become a volunteer.


About the Author

Photo of Joseph F. Coughlin
Joseph F. Coughlin

Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD is Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. He teaches in MIT's Department of Urban Studies & Planning and the Sloan School's Advanced Management Program. Coughlin conducts research on the impact of global demographic change and technology trends on consumer behavior and business strategy. He advises a wide variety of global firms in financial services, healthcare, leisure and travel, luxury goods, real estate, retail, technology, and transportation.

More From the Blog

2020 OMEGA Summit Brings Together Students, Aging Professionals, Past Scholarship Winners

October 30, 2020

2020 Summer Interns Work on OMEGA, Lifestyle Leaders, C3 Project

August 26, 2020

2021 Spring Speaker Series Begins with Presentation from Dr. Catherine García on Social Determinants of Health

March 23, 2021