Life expectancy investing

Nobody wants to run out of money. Whether or not you plan to leave anything to heirs, every investor needs to estimate their life expectancy to attempt to ensure that their assets will cover expenses.

Social Security provides actuarial tables but these are whole-population estimates that don’t take personal variables into account. According to Social Security, I have a remaining life expectancy of about 16 years, which means death at about age 85.

A Number That Should Guide Your Health Choices (It’s Not Your Age)

Life expectancy increasingly figures into calculations about whether screenings and treatments are appropriate. Here’s how to find out yours.
By Paula Span, The New York Times, July 23, 2023

Slowly, some medical associations and health advocacy groups have begun to shift their approaches, basing recommendations about tests and treatments on life expectancy rather than simply age…

A 75-year-old has an average life expectancy of 12 years. But when Dr. Eric Widera, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed census data from 2019, he found enormous variation.

The data shows that the least healthy 75-year-olds, those in the lowest 10 percent, were likely to die in about three years. Those in the top 10 percent would probably live for another 20 or so.

All these predictions are based on averages and can’t pinpoint life expectancy for individuals. But just as doctors constantly use risk calculators to decide, say, whether to prescribe drugs to prevent osteoporosis or heart disease, consumers can use online tools to get ballpark estimates… [end quote]

Here is the National Cancer Institute’s " Know Your Chances: Interactive Risk Charts." Risk charts present these basic facts by showing the chance of dying from a variety of cancer and other diseases over specific time frames. Because age, sex, race and smoking status are so important in determining your chances, the charts let you account for these factors. While there are other factors not accounted for here that make an important difference in your risk (e.g. family history of many diseases, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, a variety of occupational exposures, etc.), the numbers from the charts will get you into the right ballpark.

This is what they return for me.

I have already had bilateral breast cancer, but it was caught at Stage 1 and treated (apparently successfully) in 2015.

The NCI’s statistics show that I have a 76% chance of living past age 84. I am normal weight, blood pressure under 120/75 and work out every day. The odds of living past age 84 are higher than I expected. (If cancer doesn’t return – my nonsmoking mother died of lung cancer at age 72. But her older sister lived to age 92.) Higher education and higher net worth are not considered in this model but they also correlate with longer life expectancy.

Many METARs are senior age so it might be worthwhile to look at this.



I found the Rich, Broke, or Dead risk calculator to be very interesting:


Unless you know the yield of your assets the above is meaningless. Where do you get the yield number?

The Captain

It’s a shame that the article included the cardiovascular disease risk calculator…then I wouldn’t have had anything to criticise. Well, I might’ve had if I knew enough about other disease risk calculators and any shortcomings they might have.

The main problem with using the ASCVD risk calculator is that it ignores the long haul nature of the disease process…pretty much like using a 10 year yield on an investment and ingnoring the compounding effect over decades.

An exercise I oftentimes do to pi$$ myself off is put my details in (the last lipid profile before I had the Lp(a), Apo-b measured and did my CAC score…aka the REAL decisionmakers!) and current age 70) My risk comes out at borderline …and low borderline at that. Then, I substitute the age for 40 but lipids etc the same and I get a low 10 year risk. Here’s thing…and I didn’t even bother with 20…but, at 40, a 10 year low risk of events is meaningless if the disease process is already under way but you can understand how anyone getting a low risk score would imagine everything is hunky dory.

Not only am I channeling Peter Attia and his guests with insight in this field anda few otherresources I’veposted here…but also my own cardiologist.

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