When people think about their life expectancy, most people remember a number from the US Life Tables. They often remember “life expectancy is 76.1 years for a man and 81.1 years for a woman. That is true for a hypothetical baby born in 2019 and estimating forward using current mortality rates. But you are not a newborn.
Take a closer look at Table A in the above link or in the table below. If you have survived to the age below, your life expectancy is
Average US Life Expectancy
|Current age||Average life expectancy males||Average life expectancy females|
If you are healthy, this number is often much too low because the US Life Tables include everyone that age group except prisoners. Those life expectancies include both vegetarian marathoners and patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer all lumped and averaged together.
To get a more accurate number, we have to think like a life insurance underwriter or actuary. I like these calculators from major life insurers:
Blueprint Income (they sell annuities, so their numbers are a tad higher than life insurers
Just to get started, I input data for a healthy (but not perfect) 70-year old male and female and got the following life expectancies:
|Calculator||Life expectancy male||Life expectancy female|
|US Life Tables (above)||84.5||86.7|
|Blueprint Income (annuity seller)||95||98|
The life insurance based calculators add almost ten years to the life expectancy of a healthy 70-year old. That is about right. Do remember, this is an average number: half of the people at the starting age will have died by this age and half will live longer.
For comparison, a white male age 70 who does not exercise, weighs 280, and has diabetes will live only to age 80, or 5 years less than average.
In later posts, we will write about what it takes to increase your chances of aging successfully.
Remember, our goal is to age successfully for as long as possible and to compress as much as possible our end-of-life morbidity (dependence on others for daily cares).