How Long Will You Live?
Life Expectancy Calculators Consider Many Factors
Your estimated life expectancy impacts many retirement planning decisions. Financial planners use life expectancy to make recommendations on when to start taking your Social Security payments and to help determine whether an annuity makes sense for you.
Insurance companies estimate policyholder life expectancies so they can make smart financial decisions on the types of insurance they issue—and whom they issue it to.
You can use life expectancy calculators to estimate your own, and a spouse's, life expectancy. This can improve your retirement planning decisions substantially. Following are four resources to help you come up with some life expectancy estimates. The life expectancy tables and calculators below are listed in order of the simplest to the most advanced methods of estimating life expectancy.
Easiest Life Expectancy Calculator
If you want a quick, easy estimate, simply look up your current age by using the online life expectancy calculator from the Social Security Administration.
The periodic life table will estimate your remaining years of life expectancy and help you calculate whether you should take social security early (at age 62), or hold off until age 70 to receive more each month.
For example, If you are single and think you are likely to live fewer years than average, taking social security at age 62 probably makes sense for you. If you're married, think you or your spouse might live into your 80s or 90s, or are single and super-healthy, you'll want to delay payments, because you could end up getting over $1,000 more each month.
This table does not account for health or financial status. Because it also does not consider many other factors, such as job stress, this calculator will give a rougher answer than one that asks you several questions about your lifestyle.
Time required: 1 to 2 minutes.
Calculate the Odds
If you and your spouse are over age 50, this life expectancy calculator from Financial Architects will show you what the probability is that either you or your spouse, or both of you, will live to a particular age. You will need to enable editing on the Excel spreadsheet labeled Joint Life Probability to customize the results.
A drop-down menu will allow you to switch from white-collar to blue-collar data. White-collar folks have a higher estimated life expectancy, because working at a desk is less physically taxing than, say, working in a factory or being a firefighter. Keep that in mind when doing your planning work.
Time required: 5 to 10 minutes.
Joint Life Expectancy Based on Health and Lifestyle Factors
Your lifestyle has an impact on life expectancy. Use this Life Expectancy Calculator to see how. It it will ask for basic data on you and your spouse, such as height, weight, blood pressure, and smoking habits.
This tool will tell you the probability that one or both of you will live past a particular age and who may be expected to live longer.
Time required: 5 to 10 minutes to enter data for two.
Extend Your Longevity? This Tool Offers Personalized Tips
If you are a healthy, active person who wants to live as long as possible, assuming you stay healthy, then this Living to 100 calculator is perfect for you.
This site will sort through your answers to about 40 questions and offer personalized suggestions, along with a to-do list for you and your physician, all designed to help you extend your stay on planet Earth.
With this tool, you may even learn new ways to make meaningful changes to your life.
Time required: 10 to 20 minutes.
Look Beyond the Probabilities
Insurance companies use what is called an "actuarial method of determining life expectancy." It works well if you are looking at a large population of people.
Knowing the probability of being alive is useful, but it is best to make some financial planning decisions that will help you protect your income later in life, no matter what. Your future eighty-five-year-old self will thank you.