What Factors Go Into This Life Expectancy Calculator?
No one knows exactly how long they’ll live. This huge variable can make retirement planning challenging.
Your life expectancy is important. It is used in the financial world to calculate everything from your life insurance premiums to your Social Security benefits. It’s also key in calculating how much money you need to save for retirement.
Federal agency databases offer a rough estimate of life expectancy based on gender, national averages and other factors.
For example in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that men in the U.S. have an average life expectancy at 75.1 years, and women are estimated to live 80.5 years.
Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration offers a simple estimate of your life expectancy after retirement. It tends to be longer than CDC life expectancy estimates.
However, neither the Social Security calculator nor CDC estimates consider personal factors such as your health, lifestyle and family history — all of which can increase or decrease your life expectancy.
The Annuity.org Life Expectancy Calculator combines data from the CDC and the SSA with other national databases to provide a more holistic estimate. It also considers personal factors such as your current age, gender, race, lifestyle and family medical history.
- Alcohol consumption
- Body mass index (BMI)
- General health
- Smoking status
By integrating these variables with national and global databases, our calculator provides a more individualized look at your life expectancy. This number gives you a clearer idea of how long you may live and can assist you in making important retirement planning decisions.
How Can You Tailor Your Retirement Strategy Based on Your Life Expectancy?
Life expectancy is a major factor in retirement planning. After all, it’s important to estimate how long your money needs to last. Planning for 15 years in retirement looks very different from planning for 30 years or longer.
Considering your life expectancy can help you adapt your savings plan, choose when to claim Social Security and create a more accurate retirement budget.
- Determining When to Take Social Security
- You can collect Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The age you choose to start drawing Social Security directly impacts your monthly benefit amount. If you have a longer life expectancy, you might consider waiting until age 70 to maximize your lifetime income.
- Create a More Realistic Retirement Budget
- Estimating your life expectancy makes it easier to create a retirement budget. You will have a clearer picture of how long your retirement will last, and thus, how many years of expenses you can expect and need to budget for.
- Explore Your Lifetime Income Options
- Living longer has its perks — but it comes with financial risks. Exploring sources of lifetime income besides Social Security — such as pensions and annuities — can help you plan a secure retirement, which may last 25 year or more after you stop working.
- Identify a Comfortable Draw-Down Strategy
- Knowing how much money to withdraw each year from your savings and retirement accounts is tricky. Withdraw too much, and you may run out of money early. Knowing your life expectancy can help inform the percentage of your savings you withdraw each year in retirement.
- Plan for Charitable Giving and Inheritance
- You may want to leave money behind to your favorite charity or your grandkids after you pass away. But your life expectancy plays an important role in this decision. If you expect to live to 95 or 100, you may need more money for yourself. Or you may consider making smaller, regular gifts instead of one large endowment.
About This Life Expectancy Calculator
This calculator is designed to provide an estimate of your life expectancy.
It is intended to give you a ballpark and get you thinking about your financial planning options.
However, it should not be taken as medical or financial advice. After all, life expectancy is an inexact science. Even the most complex calculator can’t account for everything.
Instead, we hope you use this tool to aid important discussions with financial and health care professionals.
Gaining insight into your longevity can give you a clearer picture of what to expect in the future.
We encourage you to use the results from this calculator as a conversation starter with trusted professionals who can help you tailor your financial strategies accordingly.
5 Cited Research Articles
Annuity.org writers adhere to strict sourcing guidelines and use only credible sources of information, including authoritative financial publications, academic organizations, peer-reviewed journals, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports, court records and interviews with qualified experts. You can read more about our commitment to accuracy, fairness and transparency in our editorial guidelines.
- Carlson, B. (2021, August 24). Why The Decline In Life Expectancy Shouldn’t Affect Your Retirement Plans. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobcarlson/2021/08/24/why-the-decline-in-life-expectancy-shouldnt-affect-your-retirement-plans/?sh=2a42e8cb756d
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February). Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for January Through June 2020. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/vsrr/VSRR10-508.pdf
- Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. (2021, May 13). Life Expectancy at 65 (Indicator). Retrieved from https://data.oecd.org/healthstat/life-expectancy-at-65.htm#indicator-chart
- Social Security Administration. (2021, May 13). Retirement & Survivors Benefits: Life Expectancy Calculator. Retrieved from https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/longevity.cgi
- Weston, L. (2020, December 2). This is one of the most important and difficult calculations in retirement planning. Retrieved from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-one-of-the-most-important-and-difficult-calculations-in-retirement-planning-2020-11-20