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The Life Expectancy calculator is a financial tool that uses personal factors to determine how long someone can expect to live. The factors that are used to determine life expectancy include the person's current age, how tall they are, how much they way, what their gender is, if they smoke, how much they drink, what their blood pressure is like and their family's medical history. These factors are analyzed and compared against the 1986-1992 Mortality Tables that were created by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.
Few like to contemplate their own mortality. But aside from being an exercise in philosophical contemplation, there are practical reasons for trying to predict how long you are likely to live. Retirement and financial planning are major ones. Regardless of how long you live, you're going to need money to pay your expenses for every one of those years – and the longer you live, the more you'll need.
Having a good idea of your life expectancy when you're young can help with retirement planning by giving you a financial target to shoot for. If you're older and approaching retirement, estimating how long you might live can help you figure how carefully you need to manage your financial resources and how much you'll have available to spend each year.
It can also serve as a guide to making decisions, such as how long to keep working or how much you can cut back, whether to stay in your current home or perhaps downsize to something less expensive, what sort of retirement investments you need to make and the like.
A person's life expectancy depends on a lot of factors. Some of these factors include how physically active the person is, how long their parents and grandparents lived, what their family's medical history looks like, if they smoke, if they drink, and if they are a man or a woman.
Here are the key factors affecting your life expectancy that the calculator looks at:
Your age: The older you are now, the greater your eventual life expectancy compared to a younger person who otherwise shares your profile. The reason being that if you've lived this long, you've managed to avoid some of the untimely causes of death that might still await a younger person.
Your height and weight: Overweight persons tend not to live as long as those who are more slender. Of course, how much you're overweight is related to how tall you are: a 6-foot tall person who weights 170 is a healthy weight; that same weight on a 5'2" frame is considered obese.
Smoking: This is one of the most detrimental things you can do to your health. Being a smoker can easily shave five years or more off your life expectancy.
Alcohol consumption: Moderate alcohol consumption, perhaps a drink or two a day, seems to actually improve life expectancy over nondrinkers. But going much beyond that can cause a significant reduction.
Driving history: Your driving record has an impact on your life expectancy, believe it or not. Drivers who get ticketed for speeding or other violations, or who have minor accidents, are more likely to get into serious wrecks than those with clean records.
Blood pressure: High blood pressure, particularly if left untreated, will reduce your life expectancy.
Family history: A lot of life expectancy is inherited, so if your family members lived to age 70 in good health, your odds of a living years beyond that are improved as well.
The calculator can not only predict how long you are likely to live, but can also serve as a guide to making changes that can help you live longer. Cutting back on alcohol or quitting smoking may add several years to your life, for example, as may obtaining treatment for high blood pressure.
No calculator can exactly predict how long you will live; what it does is give you statistical averages for people with your profile. Obviously, there can be quite a bit of fluctuation within a group; some smokers may die fairly young, for example, while a few will defy the odds and live to an advanced age. So you're always dealing in averages and estimates here.