We Live Way Longer Than We Expect

And that could be bad news post-retirement: study
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2014 8:54 AM CST
Updated Nov 16, 2014 6:58 AM CST
We Live Way Longer Than We Expect
In this Oct. 9, 2013, file photo, an elderly couple sits on a bench in central Sydney.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

How long do you think you'll live? New research suggests you can tack a few more years on to whatever number you came up with. In 1992, University of Michigan researchers asked 26,000 Americans between the ages of 51 and 61 if they thought they would make it to 75. Some 22 years later, researchers with the Brookings Institution crunched the data and found people tend to underestimate how many years they have left. Of those born between 1931 and 1934, a full 49% who said they wouldn't see 75 were wrong. In fact, almost all that group's respondents, except those who gave themselves 90% or better odds of making it to 75, turned out to have been overly pessimistic, the Wall Street Journal reports.

It's more than just an interesting stat: With the dwindling state of Social Security, researchers worry people won't save enough money to cover the possibility that they'll live longer than they expect, Phys.org reports. "Individuals do not fully understand the longevity risk they face," the authors explain. A longevity annuity could be a solution: An individual hands over a chunk of cash and begins receiving payments after a set number of years. The researchers outline what $100,000 spent on an annuity by a 60-year-old male could result in: $1,052 monthly payments beginning at 70, or $2,539 payments if the purchaser waited until 80 to collect. (Your nose may offer a clue to your longevity.)

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