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  • Writer's pictureSteve Coker, CFP

How Long am I Going to Live?

We simply do not know how long we are going to live. That is one of the difficulties of retirement planning.  According to the CDC, a 65-year-old American has a life expectancy of 19.7 years, which means that a 65-year-old retiree should be planning to live to at least 85. But this statistic can be deceiving.  In truth, most retirees should plan on living even longer.  Here are some details to consider as you consider your own life expectancy.

The first thing to remember is that 85 years is an average. That would mean that roughly half of Americans actually live longer than 85 years. It is also important to note that women have a longer life expectancy than men, and that a married couple aged 65 has a 90% chance that at least one spouse will live to age 85 and a 73% chance that at least one spouse will live to age 90. That means that planning for retirement income through age 90 becomes a very realistic, highly probable expectation. Here is a highly informative chart from JP Morgan.

An even bigger issue is that this number is relevant to individuals at the beginning of their lives.

Interestingly your life expectancy increases each year that you stay alive. This makes sense as the outliers who pass away younger are no longer part of the sample and are no longer dragging down the average. While is difficult to predict exactly how long we will live, it is important to recognize that you may live longer than you expect.  Therefore, it is important to have a financial plan that lasts for your lifetime.


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