There’s no doubt about it, 21st century technology is advancing so quickly that the way the world will look — and how humans function — in just a few decades is beyond our own comprehension.
In fact, Ric Edelman, founder and executive chairman of Edelman Financial Services, one of the nation’s leading financial advising firms, says thanks to “exponential technologies” like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, 3D printing, robotics, bioinformatics, bionics, and nanotechnology, “everything you think about the future is probably wrong.”
That’s large in part because technology is stretching human life expectancy, he says. “The notion of retiring at 65 and living to 120, there’s no way you’re going to be able to afford a life of leisure for 50 or 60 years — and that means the notion of retirement is gone,” Edelman told Business Insider in a recent Facebook Live interview.
We will begin to exchange linear life patterns — we’re born, we go to school, join the workforce, retire, and eventually, die — for cyclical life patterns, where we “engage in learning, employment, and leisure, on a repeating cycle” for our entire lives, Edelman said.
But rest assured, working well into our 80s or 90s won’t be as “horrific” as it may seem, said Edelman, who’s the author of the new book “The Truth About Your Future: The Money Guide You Need Now, Later, and Much Later.” That’s because medical technology will keep us healthy longer and the shared economy will make it “easier than ever to earn a living.”
So rather than saving up enough money to retire at 65 and last for the next 20 years, he says, we’ll be saving for several short-term goals that will allow us to integrate leisure into our extended lifetimes. A trend will emerge where where people “retire early and often.”
“We call them sabbaticals right now, where you go off of work for a month, schoolteachers do it for three months every summer, but, in fact, most workers are now going to take sabbaticals that don’t last a few weeks, they will last a few years. So you’ll go to school, you’ll get a job and then you’ll take a couple of years off, go back to school and emerge with a totally new career,” he explained.
Ultimately, continually learning new skills will be essential to remaining viable in the professional world, he said.
“It’s going to be fun, and it’s going to be enjoyable, and it’s going to be beneficial for the community as well — what’s not to love?”
Watch Business Insider’s full interview with Ric Edelman below:
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.