Relax, you'll be a millionaire by 2050 - and other predictions for the future

Lynsey Barber
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2012 Olympic Games - Closing Ceremony
This time in 35 years we'll be millionaires (Source: BBC)

Sit back, take it easy and stop worrying about money - you'll be a millionaire by 2050.

Unfortunately, so will everyone else, making the millionaire milestone a little less special, but earnings will still grow at an annual rate of two per cent, doubling in real terms.

That's just one of the predictions for mid-century life in 2050 in a new research paper from the Adam Smith Institute president Madsen Pirie.

"Most of today's teenagers will live like millionaires," he said.

Retirement will become a thing of the past as people live longer and in better health. Instead of giving up work completely, people will "trade down to less demanding tasks" but remain economically active. A conservative estimate is that today's teens will live to 100 years of age, Pirie predicts.

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"It is quite wrong to suppose that most older people in future will depend on others to support them. Increased longevity will involve people being active and fitter until much later into their lives. Retirement as a concept will disappear, and people will look back in astonishment that people once thought of a working life of four decades followed by several decades of doing nothing," he said.

Millionaire status will largely be fuelled by pensions.

"People will pay into personal funds, as will their employers, with the state’s role being one of paying into funds on behalf of those unable to do so themselves," posits Pirie. "The funds will be handled by fund managers and, as they are invested in emergent technologies, will grow as the economy grows – something an unfunded system does not do.

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"Over the course of a lifetime, an extended lifetime, those funds will grow to the point where it will be the norm for them to exceed a million pounds. This will be the major factor in making many of today’s teenagers into millionaires over the course of their lives."

More people will be self-employed, opting for flexible working and holidays.

Offering a counterpoint to warnings by the likes of Stephen Hawking about the risks future technology poses, Pirie believes the world will be better for all.

"In short, the prophets of doom will be proved no less wrong in the future than they were in the past. The world will be a better place and people will live better lives, and the reason is that there is not and never will be a shortage of human creativity and ingenuity."

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