Anxiety and mood disorders in later life are the focus of an increasing amount of intervention research, however basic mechanisms and paradigms explaining etiology and maintenance warrant further exploration. Research on future-oriented thought patterns associated with anxiety and depression in this age group may prove useful, as these disorders are both characterized by a tendency to generate and fixate on threat-related future scenarios that may or may not materialize. Additionally, depression is associated with a reduced expectancy of positive future events. In this paper, we review the literature relevant to future thinking in anxiety and depression in older adults. We focus on the mental construction and anticipation of negative future events, and their underlying neurocognitive mechanisms. We then consider clinical and research implications of anxious and depressive future-oriented thought patterns for older adults. We believe that more research investigating future-oriented thought patterns associated with emotional disorders in later life could improve conceptualization, measurement, and perhaps potential treatments for late-life anxiety and depression.