Technology is changing our lives in countless ways, including the length of time we have on this planet. Humanity is fast approaching a new vortex of artificial intelligence and data collection that will turn our “life spans” into “health spans.” Engineer, physician, and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis calls it the “Next Data-Driven Healthtech Revolution” that will make a hundred years old feel like just sixty. But watch out! Living that long may also put you in the poor house if you’re not prepared.
AI Health Revolution
Diamandis says, this health revolution is possible because of all the new devices, sensors, and “wearables” that collect information to feed the data-hungry AI system. His Singularity Hub reports that 122 million wearables shipped in 2018. If you are wearing some sort of an activity tracker or smartwatch on your wrist, you are one of them.
Another report by research firm Gartner is anticipating a surge in new wearable devices this year. As reported by Wearable Technology, Gartner is forecasting 225 million in wearable shipments worth about $42 billion in 2019. That will include about 74 million smartwatches worth about $16 billion. The company is predicting that by 2022, the top wearable devices will be “hearables” worn on the ear. Other categories of wearables include smart clothing, head-mounted displays, wristbands, and sports watches, according to Gartner. (1)
From “Sick Care” to “Health Care”
All these wearables will help advance this AI health revolution, either for do-it-yourself health monitoring, or for more advanced monitoring by healthcare professionals. The data from these wearables will help transform what Diamandis calls our current “sick care” system into a true “health care” system.
Diamandis says in a blog on longevity, “Most of us assume that we’re perfectly healthy, with nothing going on inside our bodies, until the day we travel to the hospital writhing in pain only to discover a serious or life-threatening condition. Chances are that your ailment didn’t materialize that morning.” He says, a retrospective and reactive approach to health care and suggests that wearables could alert you to a potential problem before it turns into a crisis. He also suggests, data on your genetics can give you a heads up on what you should be looking for. (2)
Diamandis is more than marginally invested in this quest for better health care. He’s the co-founder of Health Longevity, Inc. which it describes as a genomics-based, health intelligence company. Health Nucleus is the company’s research and health assessment center. It claims to be the first and only platform in the world that combines genetics, clinical imaging, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to come up with a complete and more accurate health assessment for individuals.
The baseline health assessment is not cheap at $5,500 and is probably not covered by your health insurance. But, this kind of screening has the potential to reduce future health care costs by preventing a health crisis in the first place. The website calls this approach “proactive, preventative, and personalized.”
Paying for Those Extra Years
This is fascinating information for people who wouldn’t mind adding a few healthy years to their lives. Or according to Diamandis, maybe another 40 good years. But if that happens, there’s another big elephant in the room that needs attention. How will you pay for those extra years? Of course, additional healthy years may also be additional productive years, but it remains to be seen whether people will want to work into their 80s and 90s.
What we do know is that living longer means you will need more money during your lifetime. Whether or not you are willing or able to work for an extended period of time, that’s probably not the most rock solid plan for financial longevity. And for younger folks who might turn into very old folks, there’s time to work on “plan b” or a plan for passive income that can support you for life.
It’s hard to go wrong with buy-and-hold real estate. If you buy a rental property, your tenants will pay the mortgage. If you buy wisely in markets where housing prices are still low but job growth is strong, you should also get a monthly cash flow. And when you sell your property down the road, you may enjoy a nice profit from years of appreciation. Or, you could pass that property on to your heirs so they can enjoy the same financial benefits as you.