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Summary: The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Andrew Scott and Lynda Gratton

  • The 100-Year Life makes the case that we need to rethink careers, retirement, and life stages to navigate an age of longevity.
  • Prepare for multi-stage lives and 100-year lifespans with Andrew Scott and Lynda Gratton’s thought-provoking book The 100-Year Life.

The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity” explores how you can plan to make the most out of your life in a time when people live longer than ever before, and how society and business will need to adapt to accommodate an aging population. In this book summary, you’ll learn how restructuring your life into multiple stages can help you make the most of a longer life.

Learn how to restructure your education, finances, and career for a longer life.


  • Are worried about saving for retirement
  • Want to know how living longer will impact your life
  • Are curious about what policies need to change to accommodate longer lives


Celebrating a 100th birthday used to be a rare occurrence. But as of 2016, half the children born in the West have a life expectancy of 105 years. These extra years will likely be healthy, as morbidity rates are predicted to decrease in many parts of the world. Yet, the gift of a long life brings unexpected complications. In this well-researched, comprehensive if academic overview, London Business School professors Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott address some of these issues, including supporting yourself during an extended retirement, maintaining beneficial relationships, staying healthy, and periodically updating your skills and knowledge. While end-of-chapter summaries or bullet points might have been helpful, We find that this in-depth analysis will help everyone hoping to spend an extra decade or two on Earth and anyone seeking to hire them, invest in them or sell to them.

Book Summary: The 100-Year Life - Living and Working in an Age of Longevity


  • As of 2016, children born in the West have a 50% chance of living to age 105.
  • The “compression of morbidity” means people stay healthier later into their life spans.
  • To create the necessary options for longer lives, people must replace the model of a “three-stage” life – education, work and retirement – with a “multistage” life.
  • New life stages will emerge, including “the Explorer, the Independent Producer and the Portfolio.”
  • Making a multistage life work will require flexibility and a changed use of time.
  • Careers using “uniquely human skills” are less vulnerable to technological substitution.
  • Foresighted companies will redesign policies to promote increased employee longevity.
  • A rich, fulfilling life requires intangible assets like relationships, happiness and health.
  • These intangible advantages can be “productive assets, vitality assets” or “transformational assets.”
  • Long-range financial planning requires both “efficacy” – belief in your assessment abilities – and “agency” – the self-control to follow a savings plan.


Children born today have a 50% chance of living past 105. The lengthening of lives and normalization of living past 100 aren’t issues to think about in the future; they’re happening right now. As people are living longer, pensions aren’t stretching as far, leaving people with the unenviable options of either working longer or making do with less.

The solution is to break away from the dated idea of a three-stage life — education, work, retirement — and instead restructure life into multiple stages comprised of different careers, breaks, and transitions.

As people increasingly live longer, be prepared to adapt to these changes:

  • Working into your 70s and 80s. People are going to work longer to fund longer lives.
  • The creation of new jobs and skills. The quickly changing job market means people will need to invest in learning and developing new skills to keep working.
  • Less emphasis on finance. Money is important to a longer life but so are family, friendships, happiness, and mental health.
  • Normalization of transitions. A multistage life means going through big transitions more frequently.
  • The end of lockstep. The multistage life gets rid of the predictability of everyone following the same sequence.
  • Staying younger longer. Age will become less of an issue as more stages of life emerge.
  • Transforming relationships. As people transition through multistage lives, relationships will evolve to support the associated changes.
  • Reversal of generational isolationism. Getting rid of the three-stage life structure will reduce generational divides.
  • More experimentation. No one really knows how to best support longer lives; there will be a lot of experimentation to come.
  • Challenges for human resources. Companies are likely to be uncomfortable with the flexibility of a multistage life and may be resistant to change.
  • Need for governmental change. Governments will have to adjust their agendas to reflect changing social norms.

Living: The Gift of a Long Life

Think about all the 8-year-olds you know; half of them are likely to live several years past 100. Now think about how many 100-year-olds you’ve known — probably very few. But by 2107, living over a century will no longer be an anomaly but the norm, thanks to a steady increase of two years in life expectancy for each decade over the past 200 years.

The decline in infant mortality in developed countries and improvements in treating chronic diseases that impact the middle-aged population, particularly cancer and cardiovascular diseases, have contributed to increased life expectancy. Other factors, such as better nutrition, education, and technology, have also contributed to people living longer. While people in developing countries still have a lower life expectancy than those in the developed world, they are also seeing the benefits of improved health and are living longer compared to previous generations. Richer countries are experiencing the benefits first, but thanks to globalization, the rest of the world isn’t far behind.

There is considerable debate about whether there is a natural limit to the length of human life. Many predict that the increase in longevity will slow down when averages reach age 110 to 120, but no one knows for sure. Experts do agree, however, that a 100-year-life will soon become the norm. Most researchers also agree that people will be healthier for longer.

Financing: Working Longer

While money isn’t everything, it is important when it comes to dealing with a longer life. The longer you live, the more money you will need, which means working longer or saving more along the way. This is a grim thought for most people, but stepping outside the traditional three-stage life ensures that you can do this in a way that maintains your nonfinancial assets.

Consider Jack, who was born in 1945 and lives the three-stage life. His life expectancy is around 70. The three-stage life model worked well for his generation and is now being passed on to the next. Jimmy was born in 1971 and has a life expectancy of 85. Now in his mid-40s, he also followed the three-stage life but is starting to realize that it’s not going to work for him. He needs to be prepared to change to make a longer life feel more like a gift than a curse. Jane was born in 1998 and will likely live to be over 100. Her generation is aware that the three-stage strategy won’t work for them, so they’ve been designing something different from the start.

When planning how long you’ll have to work and how much you need to save, you’ll have to think about how big of a pension you want, how fast your income will grow, what returns you’ll get from your savings, and when you’d like to retire. To demonstrate the impact of longevity, assume that Jack, Jimmy, and Jane all want to retire by 65 with an annual pension equal to half of their final salary and that they will all see an average 3% return on their investments and a steady income growth of 4% over inflation per year.

Jack entered the workforce during the economic “golden age,” had a successful career with a few bumps along the way, and had a traditional family structure, with him as the main breadwinner and his wife looking after the children. He retired at 62 and died at 70. His finances looked good at the end of his life: His income came from a combination of a state pension, a company pension, and private savings. With the state and company pensions, he had to plan to save 20% of his final salary to reach his 50% final salary goal. Since he worked for 42 years and was retired for eight, he had five years of work to fund each year of retirement.

However, the growing unsustainability of state pensions means that Jimmy faces a different situation. Falling birth rates and longer life spans have revealed that pay-as-you-go state pension schemes are unsustainable. This has led to a rise in the retirement age. Company pensions are also becoming a thing of the past. This means that Jimmy and Jane have to fund much more of their pensions themselves than Jack did.

Unlike Jack, Jimmy does not get a company pension, but he will still receive 10% of his final salary from a state pension. Whereas Jack had to save 4.3% of his income each year, Jimmy will have to save 17.2% to retire at the same age because he plans to work 44 years and be retired for 20. Saving 17.2% every year just for your pension is a difficult goal. Jimmy’s options are either to work longer or retire with a smaller pension. It’s likely that Jimmy will have to work into his early 70s to afford a decent pension.

Jane has a life expectancy 15 years longer than Jimmy’s, which means that with the traditional three-stage model, she will have to save 25% of her salary each year for her pension to retire by 65. With state pensions in decline, it is possible that Jane will need to save 31% herself. This means the three-stage life with 35 years of retirement isn’t an option for Jane. Moving away from that model opens up more appealing options that are fun and energizing.

Working: The Employment Landscape

Living longer means working longer in an employment landscape that will dramatically shift over the course of your working life. This is something you’ll need to prepare for, although you can’t predict the future. People who are 100 years old now never could have imagined the changes that took place after they entered the workforce at age 20.

New employment ecosystems will emerge. A shift toward small businesses and startups is already occurring. Self-employment has become a viable option at certain stages of life. The sharing economy is also on the rise. These work ecosystems and the flexibility they create allow people to blend work and leisure.

Additionally, people are moving to cities in droves. This trend is motivated by a desire to be near the economic action, in innovative cities full of highly skilled people.

With new technologies, some jobs will be lost while others will be created. It’s easy to see the jobs that are about to be lost, but more challenging is to imagine what jobs will be created in the future. As such developments take place, it’s likely that Jane will have trouble finding a single job she can stick with for 60 years. Because it’s still uncertain how technology will change the labor landscape, Jane’s best bet is to pursue a career in a field where humans have an absolute or comparative advantage over machines. In the face of such uncertainty, Jane will have to be more flexible and may have to reinvest in the future more than Jimmy or Jack did.

Intangibles: Focusing on the Priceless

With longer life spans, people will spend more years working and be required to save more. But while finances are important, intangible assets are priceless. Family, friends, skills, and good health are all as important as financial assets when it comes to leading a full life.

All assets require mindful investment and maintenance. If you don’t invest in your relationships with other people, you’ll eventually lose them. Because intangible assets don’t have a physical presence, they can be more difficult to measure, buy, sell, and substitute. But research has found that intangible assets lead to more life satisfaction than material acquisitions.

Striking the balance between intangible and financial assets is important when planning for a long life. Productive assets are the intangibles that will help you be successful and add to your income. Greater longevity will likely demand a shift in the acquisition of productive assets. Knowledge, for example, will be more useful to obtain throughout your life than all in one go at the beginning due to the technical advances and employment changes that are likely to occur during that time.

Vitality assets are those that relate to health and well-being. Just because you’re more likely to have a longer life doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be a healthy one, so vitality assets such as physical fitness and brain health will become increasingly important in the future.

Scenarios: Possible Selves

A long life leaves the door open for many diverse paths for your future self to choose from. The three-stage life was pretty predictable. With the multistage life, it will be more difficult to predict what jobs will be available and what education you will need for them.

Let’s pretend that Jimmy and Jane have lived out their lives to retirement. Jimmy got a job in information technology right out of college and steadily worked his way up the corporate ladder. At 39, he found himself unemployed, so he started working as a freelancer. He finally managed to find a new job at 41, but his work took a toll on his intangible assets. At 50, Jimmy began to realize that his skills were becoming obsolete in the rapidly changing IT world. When he turned 60, Jimmy began to worry about his future, because he didn’t have the financial investment to retire by 65. Jimmy finally retired at 71, but he had to live much more frugally than he initially planned.

Jimmy’s downfall was that he didn’t have an adequate savings history, leaving him financially unprepared, and he didn’t invest in intangible assets such as further education.

Jane, on the other hand, had many more options than Jimmy. Jane spent time developing her skills and networking, which put her in a position to start her own small business in her late 20s. In her mid-30s, she was contacted by a company that wanted to work with her. After starting a family in her late 30s, Jane was ready for a change. When she was 45, she resigned and turned her focus toward her family. When she wanted to return to the workforce, she invested in learning new skills to start a career as a search consultant. She worked successfully for several companies and built up her tangible assets. By the time she reached 70, she had used her connections to develop a portfolio that kept her busy but required fewer commitments. Jane finally retired at 85.

Stages: New Building Blocks

With longer lives ahead of us, new life stages are emerging. The “explorer” stage, the “independent producer” stage, and the “portfolio” stage are just a few of them. Life used to consist of being a child and being an adult. When the “teenager” and “retiree” stages emerged, society had to experiment and shift. The emergence of additional new life stages will demand the same of us.

Adding more stages to life creates opportunities for social experimentation because it offers people new choices. Unlike the traditional three stages, the new life stages are age-agnostic. Understandings of “living a longer life” often focus on being older longer but don’t consider being younger longer. “Juvenescence” is about elongating adolescence. It means more time for education and discovery without having to focus on other commitments. This plasticity and openness to opportunities continue for those who elongate adolescence, making it easier for them to explore and reinvent.

Money: Financing a Long Life

Long-term financial planning is already unpleasant, so the prospect of doing it for a longer life will probably be unappealing to many. But it’s absolutely necessary if you want to avoid finding yourself without sufficient funds to sustain your future. Successful financial planning depends on both efficacy and agency.

Many people trick themselves into believing that they can live on less money so that they don’t have to put away such a big chunk of their income today. They often fail to take into account crucial expenditures like health care.

Some people bank on selling their homes to fund retirement, but this doesn’t always happen. Additionally, relying solely on investments is a risky option. To do so successfully, you need to diversify your portfolio, reduce its risk level as you get closer to retirement, and seek secure income rather than risky investments during retirement.

When it comes to saving for a longer life, you need to exercise self-control and keep a strong connection with your future self. It’s more difficult to save for unknowable consumption in a far-off future, but you’ll be better off in the long run if you do.

Time: From Recreation to Re-creation

A longer life in the most basic sense means more time; the question is how to spend the extra time. Working hours have decreased over the past century thanks to legislative restrictions, so in general people are working less. Even so, many continue to feel time-deficient. Just because you’re not at work doesn’t mean you have more leisure time. Commutes, errands, and chores all drain your daily allotted time.

Working a standard 9-to-5 job and reserving leisure time only for weekends is not sustainable over a longer lifetime. People need more time to revitalize and retrain. The need for flexibility over a longer span of time will force companies to get creative about how they structure the workday and workweek.

Relationships: The Transformation of Personal Lives

Relationships also last longer and experience more change over the course of a longer life. Family roles have already changed drastically in the past 50 years as women have joined the workforce en masse and chosen to marry later.

Marriage has evolved from a structure comprised of two contrasting roles, breadwinner and household caretaker, to a more advantageous structure of risk pooling. Over a long life span, intimate partnerships will need to adapt. Partners will have to work together through different stages of each other’s lives.

Agenda for Change

While some changes are already happening, there is still a long way to go before we are truly prepared for longer lives. Living a long life surely impacts your sense of self. In the past, people had a solid understanding of who they were and who they could be based on the traditions and rituals of their ancestors. But with a multistage life, the door is open to endless options.

Education will become a bigger part of life. Educators will need to learn how to incorporate new methods and technologies into their teaching, be more inclusive of different ages, and rapidly develop specializations to keep up with new technology.

Corporations will have to redesign their policies to keep up with new generations of employees. They will need to acknowledge and support employee transitions, reframe work practices, consider the evolving relationship between family and work, change attitudes about age, and remain open to experimentation.

Government policy also needs to adjust to accommodate a longer-living population. This will involve reworking tax and benefits systems, the legal system, employment law, and other structures. Systems need to become more flexible as life stages become more flexible.


Live Long and Prosper

Children born in the US in 2016 can anticipate reaching their 100th birthdays. The last two centuries have seen an increase in life expectancy of two years per decade. Unforeseen or unfortunate circumstances aside, you will live longer than your parents and grandparents, and your children will live longer than you. For some, a long life is a burden. Others see it as a gift of endless possibility. In the future, people will continue to work into their eighth and ninth decades. The job market will change and evolve, requiring new skills and knowledge. While finances will play an obviously crucial role, nonfinancial assets such as relationships, health and happiness are equally important. People will move away from the traditional “three-stage” life of education, career and retirement toward a life of multiple stages. In such a “multistage” life, people may have several careers, undergo various transitions, and take breaks to recharge or learn new skills. These life transitions evoke flexibility, discovery, new perspectives, wider networks and new relationships.

“Millions of people can look forward to a long life, and this will create pressure on how they live and how society and businesses operate.”

“Re-creation will be more important than recreation,” as people invest in learning and skill development throughout their lives. A longer life journey will come with more forks in the road: times to choose among various options and take different directions. Rather than feeling elderly for a longer time, those enjoying a healthier 100-year life should extend their youthful mind-set, explore new options throughout their lives, stay flexible in their thinking and interact with people of all ages.

“The value of finding an optimal match – either over lifestyle, career or marriage – is greater with a long life and, of course, the costs of a bad match or a wrong early commitment are also greater.”

Clearly, having a working partner eases the financial burden of a longer life, but making relationships work over decades takes commitment, mutual trust and planning. Both genders will need to modify their attitudes and behaviors. Partners must synchronize their transitions and stages. Different types of partnerships and family units will continue to gain popularity, including cohabitation and single parenting. Greater longevity will compel people to forge new paths and develop new ways of living.

Aging Gracefully

Beginning in the 1920s, child and infant mortality rates fell as science tackled the main infectious diseases, namely smallpox, tuberculosis and typhoid. The medical community turned its attention to afflictions of middle age, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Early diagnosis, new treatments, public education and government health care lessened the effects of these chronic issues. The next significant improvement will come from tackling diseases found in the elderly.

“There are real opportunities to move…to a way of living that is more flexible and more responsive.”

Many people fear of living longer with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but research shows that most people can anticipate being healthier longer into their life spans. The “compression of morbidity” – the “health-related quality of life before death” – helps maintain good health. Already people are beginning to experience some diseases of aging, such as diabetes and arthritis, later in life. Today’s elderly people enjoy a higher quality of continued participation in the “activities of daily living” or ADL, which include such self-care as bathing, dressing and eating. Healthier aging does depend on location. In some countries, morbidity rates have increased or remained the same.

Paying the Bills

The longer you live, the more money you’ll need, either by boosting your savings or working longer. This presents substantial challenges. The usual three-stage life of education, work and retirement worked for “Jack,” who was born in 1945 and died at age 70. Jack’s state and company pensions, supplemented by his 4.3% annual savings rate, paid for his short retirement. “Jimmy,” born in 1971, faces a life expectancy of 85. He has no pension, and his necessary projected savings rate is an unrealistic 17.2% per year. For “Jane,” born in 1998 with a life expectancy of 100, the necessary annual savings rate jumps to 31%, even if she works into her 80s. Viewing greater longevity through the lens of the three-stage life feels overwhelming, unrealistic and exhausting. An elongated work stage is grueling and depletes your nonfinancial assets, including health and relationships. Longevity is more appealing for a life of multiple stages.

Technology’s Effects

Tech advances render some jobs obsolete while creating new ones. Since 1979, the labor market has “hollowed out,” meaning that the number of high- and low-skill level jobs have increased, but the number of middle-range positions has dwindled. Technology replaced many medium-skill jobs and carved out more roles for skilled workers. The hollowing out of the middle will increase as computers take on more routine tasks, like driving or diagnosing medical conditions. However, technological progress and productivity will raise the overall standard of living, boosting consumerism and generating new industries. The future will feature entirely new sectors and jobs.

“Identity will be based more on what you do than on where you started, and the more roles you take, the less useful any one role will be in determining your identity.”

Jobs that require “uniquely human skills” are less vulnerable to technological replacement. David Autor’s article “Why Are There Still so Many Jobs?” identifies two sets of uniquely human traits. The first is complex problem solving built on experience and inductive reasoning. The second refers to roles based on interpersonal interactions. People born at the turn of the century should choose career paths with an “absolute advantage” – as in a job humans will always perform better than robots – or a “comparative advantage” – a job in which people and machines work together.

“Vitality Assets”

Family, friends, health and learning are the intangible but necessary ingredients of a rich, fulfilling life. These intangibles strengthen your tangible assets. For example, learning and acquiring skills boosts your earning potential. Intangible advantages can be “productive assets, vitality assets” or “transformational assets.” Productive assets like education and skill development build capabilities and career growth. Periods of learning may take place throughout a 100-year lifetime due either to the obsolescence of existing skills or the desire for new knowledge. Developing your “professional social capital” through collaborative relationships boosts your long-term creativity and productivity. Building your personal brand – that is, a good reputation – grows increasingly valuable as you fulfill your responsibilities, seek opportunities or enter new fields.

“Periods of work become more extensive, savings more central and, across the passage of time, major transformations occur in industries and jobs.”

Vitality assets include your mental and physical well-being, which you should proactively maintain and improve. Healthy eating habits, regular exercise, stress management and nurturing relationships are crucial for a long, happy life. The outdated three-stage life model creates many imbalances for people such as Jack who focus on work and career development for long periods of time and put their vitality assets on the back burner. For a more workable arrangement, look toward the multistage life with a longer education stage and a fragmented work stage as people shift between working and taking time to renew themselves and build fresh skills.

“The acquisition of new skills and new specialisms will become a lifelong endeavor.”

These transitions require transformational assets that build your ability to change throughout your life. Pursue three interrelated characteristics of transformation, starting with attaining self-knowledge through a frank assessment of your present self and what you might be like in the future. The second element is the ability to create diverse networks of people drawn from a wide social circle. The third is openness to new experiences and ideas plus the willingness to experiment and change your behaviors.

The Multistage Life

For most of history, people lived only two life stages: child and adult. The 20th century saw the emergence of two “age-located” stages: teenagers and retirees. As the three-stage life becomes unworkable, three new life stages will materialize: “the Explorer, the Independent Producer and the Portfolio.” A particular mind-set determines these stages, more than a particular age. Stanford literature professor Robert Pogue Harrison describes this mind-set as “juvenescence, the state of being youthful or growing young.” Maintaining a youthful mind-set enables people to experiment, play, change and grow.

“The gift of a longer life is ultimately the gift of time. In this long sweep of time, there is a chance to craft a purposeful and meaningful life.”

Explorers observe their surroundings, figure out their likes and dislikes through trial and error, and discover their natural talents. Throughout their lives, they examine their values and develop their identities. Amassing a range of experiences prepares Explorers to make choices that align with their values, interests and skill sets. Picking a suitable educational direction, finding a fulfilling job, working for a company that mirrors your values and falling in love with the right person affect the course of your life. Making the right choices takes on greater significance if you live a century or longer; the impact of poor choices lasts longer, too.

“As globalization and technology changed how people lived and worked… increasing longevity will do the same.”

People may choose to become Independent Producers at various times in their 100-year life. New forms of entrepreneurship will emerge as people leave traditional careers to engage in independent work such as producing a product, providing a service or pursuing an idea. Rather than trying to build a company to run or sell, independent producers exploit the opportunities of the moment. The Portfolio stage is not age-dependent, although people in their later years may find it an attractive option. People in the Portfolio stage engage in a combination of activities, such as working, volunteering, and pursuing their hobbies and interests.

The Language of Finance

Most people don’t understand the language and basics of finance. If you fail to provide for your future, you run the risk of depleting your resources too early. Adequate financial planning relies on “efficacy” – the belief in your ability to accurately assess your finances – and “agency” – the self-control to follow a savings plan. People face three common financial planning pitfalls: the belief that you can live on less than a 50% pension plus savings, assuming the equity you build in your home will support you in retirement and trying to outsmart market averages with a superior investment strategy. Develop financial literacy through research and study. Manage your portfolio by diversifying your risk instead of investing heavily in a few specific companies or your employer. Reduce risk as you near retirement age, and safeguard your income during retirement.

“The 100-year life…is not science fiction or some wild guess about the future, nor is it an upper limit only for a lucky few.”

Time is either the gift or the curse of living a longer life. In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that equally distributed prosperity would create greater leisure time for more and more people. Keynes was correct that prosperity begets leisure, but he miscalculated the massive increase of consumerism in the 20th century. People want more material possessions and will work longer hours to get them. Keynes failed to foresee that lower-skilled workers would gain a shorter work week, while higher-income earners would work longer than ever before.

“Following best-practice advice on healthy living is a cornerstone of making the most of the gift of longevity.”

Yet, even people working fewer hours feel “time-poor.” Outside work, they rush from one activity, chore or obligation to another. People may have more discretionary time but they feel they have less spare time. A multistage life requires flexibility and restructuring your time so you can work. The current three-stage life model makes it impossible to take time to retrain or renew. The Industrial Revolution standardized the work week and led to changes in government and society. Increased longevity will challenge existing societal constructs even more.

Redesigning Corporations

Some companies will resist meeting the demands of the longer-lived workforce, but businesses will need to redesign their policies in six areas:

  1. Expand the employer-employee relationship beyond tangible assets, and design jobs to enhance people’s intangible assets such as productivity or vitality.
  2. Support personal transitions by providing training, helping employees develop diverse networks and offering constructive feedback.
  3. Shift practices built on the perspective of a three-stage life to a multistage life model.
  4. Consider men’s and women’s varying needs at different stages in their lives, and provide flexibility in their hours, scheduling and deadlines.
  5. Shed policies, both written and unwritten, that promote ageism.
  6. To encourage people to take time for experimentation and renewal, stop penalizing applicants for time gaps in their résumés.


More than half of the children who are 8 years old today will live to be over 100. With each passing generation, living a 100-year life will become increasingly normal. As this happens, the traditional three-stage life of education, work, and retirement will no longer be feasible. A new, multistage model has already begun to replace this dated model.

To review, here are just a few of the developments the new multistage model will bring:

  • Working into your 70s and 80s. People will work longer to fund longer lives.
  • The creation of new jobs and skills. The quickly changing job market means people will need to invest in learning and developing new skills to keep working.
  • Less emphasis on finance. Money is important to a longer life, but so are family, friendships, happiness, and mental health.
  • Normalization of transitions. A multistage life means going through big transitions more frequently.
  • The end of lockstep. The multistage life gets rid of the predictability of everyone following the same sequence.
  • Staying younger longer. Age will become less of an issue as more stages of life emerge.
  • Transforming relationships. As people transition through multistage lives, relationships will evolve to support the associated changes.
  • Reversal of generational isolationism. Getting rid of the three-stage life structure will reduce generational divides.
  • More experimentation. No one really knows how to best support longer lives; there will be a lot of experimentation as people live longer.
  • Challenges for human resources. Companies are likely to be uncomfortable with the flexibility of multistage lives and may be resistant to change.
  • Need for governmental change. Governments will have to adjust their agendas to reflect changing social norms.

About the author

Lynda Gratton has been named one of the world’s top management thinkers twice by The Times of London. She is a professor of management practice at London Business School and director of the executive program Human Resource Strategy in Transforming Organizations. Gratton has written three other books.

Andrew Scott is a journalist, editor, author, and photographer whose work has appeared in publications around the world. He has written six books and was a contributing editor, writer, and subject consultant for The Encyclopedia of British Columbia.


Workplace cultural, Nonfiction, Business, Health, Economics, Self Help, Personal Development, Leadership, Psychology, Science, Aging Well & Rejuvenation, Business Life, Economic Conditions, Gerontology, Retirement, Retirement Planning, Personal Finance, Longevity

Table of Contents

Preface to the 2020 edition xiv
Introduction 1
1 Living: The gift of a long life 19
2 Financing: “Working for longer 33
3 Working: The employment landscape 57
4 Intangibles: Focusing on the priceless 85
5 Scenarios: Possible selves 127
6 Stages: New building blocks 167
7 Money: Financing a long life 201
8 Time: From recreation to re-creation 227
9 Relationships: The transformation of personal lives 247
Agenda for Change 281
Engaging with the 100-Year Life 319
Notes 321
Index 341


As life expectancies increase, The 100-Year Life makes the case that our notion of a three-stage life – education, work, retirement – is outdated. Authors Andrew Scott and Lynda Gratton argue that we need new mindsets and strategies to cope with an age of longevity. Blending economics, sociology and psychology, they examine how longer lifespans will impact our careers, finances, relationships, personal fulfillment and society overall.

Scott and Gratton encourage readers to embrace “multi-stage lives.” With more healthy years ahead, careers will last 60+ years, so stages of intensity should alternate with stages of exploration and reinvention. Education will be lifelong and retirement may never happen, or at least not as we imagine it today. Financial planning, relationships, elder care, and finding purpose all need rethinking as well.

While daunting, the 100-year life opens up possibilities for more time with loved ones, more careers, and more chances to follow passions. Scott and Gratton offer thoughtful proposals, from new educational models to financial products, to help societies and individuals navigate age longevity. Their book is realistic about the challenges ahead yet optimistic about the potential for longer, more meaningful lives.

The 100-Year Life provides an insightful preview of what the age of longevity means for our lifespans and lifestyles. Scott and Gratton give readers much to ponder on a personal and societal level as the 100-year life becomes the new normal.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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