When people talk about reaching retirement, they often talk about what their ‘number’ is. That is, how big their nest egg needs to be to make them fully financially independent and empowered to walk away from their job into early retirement.
The “other number” that people don’t talk so much about is life expectancy or lifespan. Clearly saving for retirement is a function of both what you have and how long you live at a certain spending rate.
I wrote a pretty detailed post on life expectancy a few years ago that includes a chart that broadly shows how long people – and couples – are expected to live. The one variable not included is your health. After my heart attack last year, you could say my attention to that important variable has gone up exponentially.
Related: Life Expectancy – What To Expect?
My MegaCorp boss, Don, recently sent me a link to a nifty life expectancy calculator from Northwestern Mutual Life. I thought it was pretty good and would share it with everyone here. It has 12 simple questions to give you a ballpark estimate of what you might expect.
I scored age 90 the first time I did it. I re-did it because one of the question asks about the cardiovascular health of your immediate relatives, but it didn’t ask about your own. I’m the only one in my family to have a heart problem, so I put myself down as “An immediate family member who had a cardiovascular issue before the age 55.”
That adjustment dropped my potential lifespan to 87.
That’s my Dad’s current age, so I considered that very good, since he playfully reminds me that I’ve had a heart attack and he hasn’t. He has long said he wants to ‘beat’ his great-grandfather who lived to 90 – so I guess I’ll make that my target too. I need to continue to watch my weight and eat better to get there.
Please try the lifespan calculator yourself. it’s simple and allows you to go back and play with the numbers. It’s an interesting input to your FIRE planning, but my boss noted that it doesn’t include the risk of COVID-19! 😉
Did you do better or worse than you thought?
Image Credit: Pixabay