Dmitry Kaminskiy is General Partner of Deep Knowledge Group.
Aging populations, extended healthy longevity, and the industrialization of longevity are becoming key drivers of private wealth migration. Older adults represent a dynamic emerging market and human capital resource through their growing numbers — a multitrillion market of 1 billion people. Over the past 100 years, the financial industry largely excluded citizens of this “7th continent”. As increasing numbers of high-net-worth individuals and middle-class individuals age into this bracket, many are adopting the mantra ‘health is the new wealth’. Within the next decade, the tax and wealth preservation havens of today will transform into the longevity and WealthTech havens of tomorrow.
Countries offering incentives to help citizens and corporations save and manage their wealth more competitively already attract economic migration and relocation. But as the ‘health as the new wealth’ paradigm gains traction, we will see the ascendance of countries and cities that promote both individual and institutional migration and relocation on the basis of prioritizing health and wealth simultaneously.
Five years from now I expect to see a new normal of small, technocratic nations that selectively promote both personal and institutional citizenship to individuals, companies, and investors committed to advancing longevity-related technologies in exchange for access to some of the world’s most sophisticated and progressive BioTech, healthcare, life insurance, MedTech, HealthTech, Longevity FinTech, AgeTech, and WealthTech ecosystems. These products and services will enable the simultaneous maintenance of ‘healthspan’ (extended periods of healthy life in which individuals are free from age-related diseases for as long as possible) and ‘wealthspan’ (extended periods of financial wellness and stability), ensuring the highest possible quality of life, social activity, mental wellness, and overall functionality.
For years, financial corporations have been integrating these concepts into their strategies as their clients know they will require a far longer horizon of financial planning and specifically designed financial products. Now, politicians are catching up. In the next few years, a handful of ‘smart states’ will emerge as global competitors in the development of unified longevity industry ecosystems, offering their citizenry access to the best longevity tech-ecosystems and wealth-optimizing products and services available, guaranteed by the state rather than by private corporations.
70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. Yet despite the threat of global aging staring them in the face, many leading global cities have so far remained insulated from the aging trend. Most have a much younger demographic profile compared to their respective national averages. But by 2030, there will be a high proportion of elderly in over 30% of the OECD's top 100 largest cities.
Municipalities, and particularly cities, will be affected by the consequences of aging populations. In particular they will see a decrease in tax revenues and an increase in expenditure on public goods demanded by the elderly. The point at which these municipalities become longevity hubs draws closer every year.
Today, we see the development of age-friendly cities and towns that fulfill urban planning guidelines for supporting aging populations. However, governments must also be held responsible for driving forward other sectors of the longevity industry. Financial reforms and developing and supporting additional technological synergies such as integrating big data and healthcare are necessary steps for further industry growth.
When this happens, age-friendly cities will be superseded by longevity-friendly cities and longevity valleys — areas combining all facets of the longevity industry that empower elderly and middle-aged inhabitants physically, mentally, socially, and financially. Whereas age-friendly cities are good places to retire to, longevity-friendly cities will be ideal locations to remain professionally, mentally, socially, and economically active for as long as possible. The longevity hubs of today (where industrialization is a major component of economic vision) are likely candidates for longevity valleys of tomorrow and stand to reap the benefits of residence planning.
The following are some cities with the potential to become the longevity hubs of tomorrow:
Switzerland may well be the next leader in longevity. Given the country’s status as an international BioTech epicenter, combined with its reputation for being one of the most progressive countries in terms of its financial and FinTech sectors, its prospects for leading the world in the development of its longevity financial industry are extremely strong. As Switzerland endeavors to become the first longevity finance state by 2025, longevity city hubs are emerging across the country.
Among Swiss longevity centers, Geneva has great potential to soon become the first municipal longevity finance hub. The city has several initiatives aimed at preserving healthy longevity and preventing the undesired consequences of increased life expectancy.
Manchester is the first UK municipality to establish its own municipal Healthy Ageing Industrial Strategy, which is one of the key factors contributing to it becoming a progressive and financially stable longevity hub.
India is developing very progressive BioTech and financial ecosystems and has a high chance of becoming a world leader in the global longevity industry, with Gujarat a strong competitor to be the world’s first longevity finance hub in the coming years.
The city Akita is an example of Japan’s commitment to developing longevity-focused communities. The country has 24 WHO age-friendly cities and communities, and in 2011, Akita became the ﬁrst Japanese member of the Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities, committing to applying the WHO’s age-friendly principles.
Hong Kong is a technocratic tiger economy with the highest life expectancy of any country, city, or territory in the world, competitive levels of Health-adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE), and a competitive HALE gap. Hong Kong also possesses a strong governmental commitment to fight agism via its Age-friendly Programme, an initiative focused on making the lives of older adults smoother and ensuring that they are integrated into society.
Because of its sophisticated financial system, open rule of law, English-speaking workforce, and connections around the world, it had a significant advantage over other regional rivals. In the most recent Global Financial Centers Index developed by the China Development Institute and the London-based think tank Z/Yen Partners, Hong Kong took 3rd place behind New York and London.
In 2013, the Seoul Metropolitan Government established the 2020 Aging Society Master Plan, setting “the realization of an age-friendly city” as its main policy goal, under the vision of a “healthy and lively city of citizens over age 100”. This was the first time that the concept of age-friendliness was mentioned in any plan.
One of the pillars of NEOM’s seven-pillar framework, which is entitled “Rejuvenated”, marks perhaps the first government-led smart city that prioritizes healthy human longevity as an explicit goal and asset. Meanwhile, it would appear that NEOM’s particular emphasis on what longevity means is also well placed (namely, proactive rather than reactionary) in that it acknowledges the need to “transform aging into healthy longevity” as well as the critical role that technology will play in achieving its goal.
The city-state of Monaco has one of the highest life expectancies in the world while being the second-smallest and second most densely populated country. Furthermore, this Western European country on the French Riviera has the highest per-capita concentration of millionaires and billionaires in the entire world.
Singapore is another tiger economy with a wide range of programs and initiatives in AgeTech. The comfort of its aging population is part of its national longevity agenda, with the market of products targeted at Singaporeans aged over 50 expected to triple by 2025. On top of that, the government has launched initiatives for enhancing the quality of life of its senior population via smart devices. Internet of Things devices such as smart homes and autonomous vehicles are set to improve the comfort of elderly people in Singapore.
By 2025, we will see the emergence of the first longevity valley, and by 2030, the first longevity state. The title of world’s first longevity finance valley by 2025 will go to that which exhibits superior mastery of the technocratic approach to governance at a municipal level. Over the next decade, the rise of definitive full-scope longevity industry hubs will lead to intense competition between cities and nations.
From the progress of longevity industrialization in particular regions, we see that Switzerland, the UK, Israel, the USA, Japan, Hong Kong, and other developed nations have the potential necessary to become the world’s first longevity states by 2030. Countries will seek to attract key longevity companies, entrepreneurs, scientists, and investors to bolster their local industry ecosystems. Increasing numbers of industry stakeholders will choose to relocate to take advantage of greater levels of governmental support and to access higher density, more efficient and more populous longevity industry supply chains, networks, and ecosystems.
To ensure the development of longevity industrialization to scale and the realization of its positive effects on citizens and national economies in a socially inclusive manner, the development of the longevity economy requires national industrial strategies to finalize the evolution of nations into longevity finance states.
Whereas the main drivers of longevity industrialization in 2022 are investors and private industry, by 2030, the main drivers will be governments. By then, their obligation to provide systematic, regular increases in population-level HALE and Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALY), and a reduction in Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY) will be apparent and will be considered a standard citizen right among the electorates in many countries. This will become a major electoral policy point, determining the fate of national and regional elections. Longevity will become a new political priority of the 21st century.
As longevity becomes a central issue in the public debate and influences the results of elections, the price of longevity medicine and AgeTech is expected to decrease. In 10 to 15 years, they will be affordable to most individuals, and it will be in governments’ interests to subsidize access.
In the eyes of governments, longevity is no longer a mere abstraction. The longevity era will be a new page in the history of humankind, in which older adults will hold the greatest levels of economic and political power. Instead of ignoring the needs of older adults and supercentenarians and focusing on the world’s younger demographic, governments and finance and tech corporations will strive to fulfill them.
The industrialization of longevity will be considered complete when longevity is acknowledged as an asset class in and of itself.