Stats to Die For

Jonathan Clements

I JUST FINISHED reading the Society of Actuaries’ summary of key findings from its “2011 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey Report.” From this, you might conclude two things. One, I’m way behind on my reading. Two, I don’t have a very exciting life. Both may be true. Still, I found the report fascinating. Here are three excerpts.

First, according to the report, “the two major factors in determining longevity are genetics and lifestyle choices. Studies have shown that genetics account for 20 to 30 percent of life expectancy until about age 80. However, after that age it becomes close to 100 percent.”

Second, “recent studies have shown that in the poorest part of the United States, life expectancy at birth is as low as in countries like Panama or Pakistan, a full 15 years behind the wealthiest and healthiest regions of the nation, where it rivals that of world leaders, Switzerland and Japan.”

Finally, “one actuarial research study predicts that for a healthy male age 65, 80 percent of his remaining lifetime will be spent non-disabled, 10 percent in mild to moderate disability, and another 10 percent in severe disability. For females, the corresponding disability percentages are considerably higher, with 70 percent in healthy status and approximately 15 percent in each of the two stages of disability.”

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