Your ‘Other Number’ – Lifespan

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.

Link: Northwestern Lifespan Calculator

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

6 thoughts on “Your ‘Other Number’ – Lifespan

  1. I got 87 too, if I was to lose some of the extra weight I am carrying around my midsection I would gain 3 more year to make it to 90.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – 87 is good, but 90 would be better. It’s fun that you can play with the inputs and see what makes the differences.


  2. I scored 91. Better than I thought, but equivalent to what my Financial Advisor told me based on their actuarial forecasts. I have two friends who are each 95. They tell me it’s not for the faint of heart, but better than the alternative. Though sense of humor does not factor into equation, laughter seems vital!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 91 sounds excellent! As Andy Rooney once said, “We don’t ask to get old, we just get old. And, if you are very lucky … you might get to be old too.” He died at 92.


  3. I got an 89 here…I guess I need to cut back on my two trips to our local brewery on some weeks! Those two pints are killing my score…and me…evidently! Lol…fat chance! I like my pints of IPA! Cheers!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was quite surprised that there was a 4 year difference between the first 2 alcohol choices. I checked the first box, but you still beat me by 2 years, so you are doing pretty good overall!


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