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Personal Life Expectancy
Old 08-17-2008, 07:46 AM   #1
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Personal Life Expectancy

Many retirement "experts" (often financial advisors in disguise) recommend planning for a retirement that provides income until age 90+. Yet, the average life expectancy is age 78. After reading an article that portends financial catastrophe from the depletion of social security because of baby boomers living into their 90's, I flip to an article that moans about the relentless scourge of diabetes and heart disease brought on by rising obesity rates, poor diet and sedentary lifestyle. After all, the article warns, two-thirds of American are overweight and one-third of those are morbidly obese, and that by 2040 we'll ALL be overweight.

Medical experts are quick to alert us that diabetes, heart disease, and obesity tend to shorten lifespans ('cause, you know, we couldn't figure that out on our own...). Wouldn't that mean two-thirds of Americans will see their lifespans shortened because of obesity, diabetes and heart disease? So, where are all these people living into their 90's?

According to a life-expectancy test I recently took on the Blue Zone website, I will likely live to 105. The life-expectancy test on the MSN retirement page puts me at 102. I'm 50 now, so I'm halfway there. DH is 57 and refuses to take the tests, but both his parents are alive and well in their 80's. So, maybe we are going to contribute to the coming social security tsunami that will destroy the financial fabric of our country. Heh. Personally, I doubt it. DH and I will live until we die, and each year is good.

Anyway, just my musings on a Sunday morning. What's your personal life expectancy?
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:08 AM   #2
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I'd like to help bankrupt the County and SS and be a leech on society until age 90+ but based on family history I expect to kick the bucket at about 80-85.
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:15 AM   #3
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What's your personal life expectancy?
Both parents made it to 90. One sibling died at 71, another at 77. Bottom line, I have no idea...
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:21 AM   #4
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There's longevity (for non-smokers) on both sides of my family, so I'm planning retirement to mid-90's at least. Unfortunately that means I need to work longer, which I am convinced is shortening my left expectancy. Catch 22.
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Old 08-17-2008, 08:37 AM   #5
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There are many indications that I'll be among those who drain the system. Parents are both 87 years old and in relatively good health, still living in their own home. I have an occasional drink, don't smoke. I excercise regularly and am within about 5 pounds of my ideal weight. Socially, I have lots of friends and family nearby (and we all get along great.) Probably the greatest threat to my longevity is the possibility that I'll some day resume my obsession with piloting light aircraft
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:54 AM   #6
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My longevity is all over the place Mom still alive and relatively healthy at 93 . Dad died at 69 and brother died at 53 .
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:28 AM   #7
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Interesting musings, LadyPatriot. They can create charts of the trends but figuring how that applies to an individual, not so easy. Your DH makes a lot of sense not playing the numbers games, refusing to take the tests. In your post, the word shorten jumps out, maybe because you bolded it. For an individual, how can you shorten an unknown number?

For practical purposes I use the number 74, but, of course, for financial planning, it's the great unknown. I like your calling retirement experts, financial advisors in disguise.

Calling it musings on a Sunday morning leads me to, well, muse. If we can't predict the number going forward, can we understand our past numbers? I believe I may be on borrowed time, if so, how long? Do I take the year 2003 when the medical profession reversed a fatal trend? or maybe 1973 when that semi nearly creamed me. Going as far back as I can with the numbers, I muse about the astronomical odds against conception, oops, such talk creeps out at least one of our members.

On to coffee and defrosting the refrigerator. Such are Sunday mornings among the living.
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:42 AM   #8
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I believe there is a strong correlation between wealth and life expectancy. Those who are broke are bringing down the average. Saving money for a long life might be a self fulfilling prophesy - but correlation != causation.

Also, as you get older, your life expectancy increases as you dodge those fatal pitfalls ( childhood disease, crashing your mid life crises sports car, etc.).

Actuarial Life Table
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:56 AM   #9
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I believe there is a strong correlation between wealth and life expectancy. Those who are broke are bringing down the average....
Actuarial Life Table
--

Just as I suspected, poor people are evil!

You must be right because a couple of exceptions to the rule pop to mind: of very rich people throwing their fortune at trying to save a life, to no avail. You can't be too rich, or too thin; the thin live longer if you believe strangers you meet at the cafe.
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:14 AM   #10
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84.6 + or - 0.01 roughly speaking.



heh heh heh - the IRS knows.
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Old 08-17-2008, 12:39 PM   #11
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Probably the greatest threat to my longevity is the possibility that I'll some day resume my obsession with piloting light aircraft
Yeah, I have that issue too. And the job I just started makes that a very realistic possibility. If I don't get a motorcycle first.
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Old 08-17-2008, 12:56 PM   #12
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--

Just as I suspected, poor people are evil!

You must be right because a couple of exceptions to the rule pop to mind: of very rich people throwing their fortune at trying to save a life, to no avail. You can't be too rich, or too thin; the thin live longer if you believe strangers you meet at the cafe.
No way! The working poor pay into SS for a long time and then don't pull anything out! They are our heroes!
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Old 08-17-2008, 01:49 PM   #13
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Many retirement "experts" (often financial advisors in disguise) recommend planning for a retirement that provides income until age 90+. Yet, the average life expectancy is age 78.
I think the "average lifespan" people like to throw around is for someone being born today. As you get older, that lifespan curve gets adjusted upwards. After all, if you are age 78, the chance of your living to age 78 is already 100%.

If you're old enough to be thinking about retirement, chances are your life expectancy is already somewhat higher than the average. If there are any statisticians on the board, maybe they can explain why it works this way. It's sure confusing to me :confused:
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:16 PM   #14
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Yeah, I have that issue too. And the job I just started makes that a very realistic possibility. If I don't get a motorcycle first.
I've got a motorcycle now....it seems the older I get, the more chances I take.....

Hmmm, maybe my SWR can be higher than 4%.

Full speed ahead!!!!!
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Old 08-17-2008, 05:27 PM   #15
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DH's mom is already 84. Has had 2 knee replacements, is pre-diabetic, suffers from edema and now arthritis in the shoulders, but I would not be surprised at all if she lasts another 10 years and that our generation may easily last to 100+ (though to me that would be horrifying). The oldest 'cohort' in his family are women already in their nineties.

In the actuarial statistics you have to consider not only infant mortality but also the mortality of younger folk.. if average US lifespan is 78 that's also because many more men (usually minorities) die young than where I live (Italy). That skews the overall mortality rate downwards.

DroopyDog.. it's not as hard as you make it out to be.. imagine a time hundreds of years ago when families would have 5-10 children, many of whom succumbed to diseases like smallpox, influenza, whooping cough, and so on. Maybe the average mortality then was in the range of 40-50 years.. BUT if you survived childhood and additionally, for most women, childbearing.. (or for men, warfare) and you had already gotten to, say, 50.. your chances were then pretty good of living to 60, 70, and beyond.

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As you get older, that lifespan curve gets adjusted upwards. After all, if you are age 78, the chance of your living to age 78 is already 100%
It sounds like you already pretty much "get it".
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Old 08-17-2008, 09:06 PM   #16
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DroopyDog.. it's not as hard as you make it out to be.. imagine a time hundreds of years ago when families would have 5-10 children, many of whom succumbed to diseases like smallpox, influenza, whooping cough, and so on. Maybe the average mortality then was in the range of 40-50 years.. BUT if you survived childhood and additionally, for most women, childbearing.. (or for men, warfare) and you had already gotten to, say, 50.. your chances were then pretty good of living to 60, 70, and beyond.

It sounds like you already pretty much "get it".
Grazie la delfina! I think I do understand it intuitively, but if I try to think of how to explain it in terms of math and numbers I get lost quickly.

Just for fun, I tried plugging in different ages on one of those online life expectancy calculators. For the exact same health/behavior characteristics, a 20-year old had a life expectancy of around 79, a 50-year old around 83, and a 78-year old around 89! So, as you said, the older you get, the older you're likely to get!
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Old 08-17-2008, 10:44 PM   #17
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I think the "average lifespan" people like to throw around is for someone being born today. As you get older, that lifespan curve gets adjusted upwards. After all, if you are age 78, the chance of your living to age 78 is already 100%.

If you're old enough to be thinking about retirement, chances are your life expectancy is already somewhat higher than the average. If there are any statisticians on the board, maybe they can explain why it works this way. It's sure confusing to me :confused:
Looks like you understand it very well. If you want more meaningful numbers, look at expected lifespan at age x, x+1, etc. And even these numbers depend on what tables you use. Annuity tables give you an estimate that is quite a bit longer than life tables. (The tables that insurance companies use to quote life insurance rates.)
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:22 AM   #18
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If you had asked me or my parents 20 years ago what their best guess personal life expectancies would be, we all probably would have agreed that my Dad would make it to about 65 if he was lucky and my Mom was pretty much guaranteed 90.

Now Dad is 72 and has some health issues but is still going strong for now. Mom is 69 and has a disease that makes it unlikely she'll see 75.

So I guess I would say I'll plan on 80 +- 30 years, which is a pretty useless number.

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Old 08-18-2008, 01:37 PM   #19
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Life expectancy at 66 is about 86. I expect to reach 90 but not a lot longer. I did a poll here on life expectancy but it appears it is not correlated with early retirement and wealth. This makes some sense as the strongest factor in longevity is genetics, but one sees a fairly wide range of risk taking behaviors exhibited in the same families.
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:17 PM   #20
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If you had asked me or my parents 20 years ago what their best guess personal life expectancies would be, we all probably would have agreed that my Dad would make it to about 65 if he was lucky and my Mom was pretty much guaranteed 90.

Now Dad is 72 and has some health issues but is still going strong for now. Mom is 69 and has a disease that makes it unlikely she'll see 75.

So I guess I would say I'll plan on 80 +- 30 years, which is a pretty useless number.

2Cor521
That's an interesting observation, 2Cor521. My siblings and I were sure that Mom would outlive Dad -- family history, health experiences and lifestyle all pointed that way. In fact, Dad outlived Mom by 7 years. Parents of a friend of mine were the same way -- they were sure Mom would outlive Dad, and the opposite happened.

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