A Life Expectancy Calculator in Retirement Planning?

A life expectancy calculator is used in retirement planning when you get to the stage where you want to use your retirement income planner to predict your estimated retirement income.

This type of calculator can never claim to be accurate because of the infinite number of parameters that influence your longevity. These calculators use recent actuarial data from insurance companies to make an estimate of your life expectancy. It is very much a statistical estimate, but it is really all we have.

The prudent thing to do is to use one of these calculators to estimate your life expectancy, but to add another five years. Use this figure in your retirement income planner.

The ideal is to have adequate retirement income also in the worst case scenario where you outlive your life expectancy by ten years. Your retirement planner should have a 'what if' facility to play around with scenarios.

The most basic life expectancy calculator I found is offered by the US Government on their Social Security Online Web site. Click here to open the page in a new window. Return to this discussion when you have done the estimate.

I played with several of these calculators. Each calculator has a different angle of approach. Therefore each estimate differs from the other. But generally the estimate is within the US Government estimate plus five years.

Probably the most accurate calculator involving some of the most important parameters is the calculator offered by Dr Thomas Perls, founder and director of the New England Centenarian Study.

For retirement income planner purposes I still recommend that you add five years to the resulting estimate. The page opens in a new window.

The calculator draws on the actuarial data for specific countries and even drills down to communities. You need to answer quite a lot of questions. Do answer them truthfully! You are not out to impress anybody but merely to determine your life expectancy.

You can click on the 'Back one Page' button of your browser to make adjustments to your answers before you recalculate your life expectancy.

Feedback is offered on how you can extend your life expectancy.

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