How Long Will I Live?

Published January 17, 2018
We aren’t fortune tellers, but with good data we can make predictions for the future. Here we answer the question “how long will I live?” by analyzing data.
  • The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study from the 1990s looked to identify behaviors that affected one’s life expectancy.
  • Two key drivers of how long someone will live: smoking and outlook on one’s health.
  • Answer the question ‘how long will I live?’ by using the longevity calculator.

In tackling the subject, “How Long Will I Live?”, I should start by saying that I’m no health expert. But what I lack in medical knowledge, I am able to make up for with data. Analyzing data is a great way to see what factors actually answer this age old question and take the subjectivity out of it.

In the 1990s, the NIH and AARP partnered to conduct a study that spanned a decade and was meant to gauge what factors in someone’s life were most predictive of answering the question “how long will I live?” The NIH and AARP data is a great example of a longitudinal study. It had a large sample size, asked detailed questions of participants, and then went back a decade later to figure which subjects were still alive and which were not. Then, the data that had been provided by participants about their lifestyles was regressed to determine which variables were most predictive of someone’s longevity expectations.

That is the data behind the Longevity Calculator on our website that was created by Wharton statistics professor and Amazon data scientist Dean Foster.
Here are three critical components that help statisticians answer the question, “how long will I live?” (Really they’re answering the question, “how long am I likely to live?”)

Take the longevity calculator test to find out how long you might live.

Here are four critical components that help statisticians answer the question, “how long will I live?” explored via an example using the longevity calculator (Really they’re answering the question, “how long am I likely to live?”)

How Long Will I Live: Health Outlook

How you assess your overall health is more subjective than other aspects of the study, but the difference between someone who says they’re in poor health and someone who says they’re in great health was correlated with 13.4 extra years of living! Your own perception of your health really matters.

how-long-will-i-live-attitude-health

How Long Will I Live: Smoking

In this example, the respondent was a non-smoker and was expected to live to 97.3. Contrast that with a heavy smoker who still smokes and it accounts for a 13.5 year swing!

how-long-will-i-live-smoking

How Long Will I Live: Exercise

Our longevity tool tells us that exercising once or twice a week, as opposed to never or rarely exercising, certainly adds at least a year or two to your life. Further exercise, however, say three or more times per week, doesn’t seem to significantly further increase one’s lifespan, for males or females.

How Long Will I Live: Alcohol

Although the overall impact isn’t as pronounced as with smoking or how you assess your own health, drinking some alcohol correlates to longer life expectancies compared to abstaining or drinking a lot. It’s an unexpected result, perhaps driven by the correlation between drinking and socializing, like the French paradox!

how-long-will-i-live-drinking

How Long Will I Live: Retirement

Use the results from the longevity calculator to refine your retirement planning. Namely, are you planning for a long enough retirement? If your life expectancy winds up being higher than you anticipated, consider a couple of strategies:

  1. Delay claiming Social Security until age 70
  2. Make sure some of your retirement savings are guaranteed to last forever, such as via a Personal Pension or an income annuity

How Can I Start a Personal Pension?

A Personal Pension is a contract between you and top rated insurance companies. By making contributions to your Personal Pension over time, you develop a portfolio of guaranteed annuity income available in retirement. Blueprint Income offers a Personal Pension account with the lowest minimum, $5,000. After opening an account, you can make subsequent contributions of as little as $100, each of which will increase your pension check.

Here you can see what contributing to a Personal Pension will guarantee you in retirement income. After just a few years in retirement, you’ll have recouped your initial investment, and the rest will be profit.

You can continue with the enrollment process on your own or fill out the information to have one of our specialists follow up with you by starting with the Personal Pension Builder, where you’ll be able to set a goal for how to grow your pension over time. Note that all future contributions are optional, but it’s always great to have a goal.

How Can I Purchase an ImmediateAnnuity/Longevity Annuity/QLAC?

At Blueprint Income, we offer annuities from more than 15 top rated insurance companies. Click below to get real-time personalized quotes.

get-a-free-online-quote-now

From there, you’ll get access to our annuity guides and team of specialists to help you analyze your retirement finances and walk you through the application process.

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Matt Carey

Matt Carey

Financial Planning Professional

Matt Carey is the co-founder and CEO of Blueprint Income. He believes in the power of technology to make retirement simpler. Matt is a regular contributor to Forbes.com and has been quoted in both the New York Times and Morningstar.