What Can You Learn From a Life Expectancy Calculator?
- The Social Security life expectancy calculator helps you estimate the right amount of retirement savings. Get the facts about how it works and what to consider.
The Social Security Administration has a life expectancy calculator to estimate the number of years you'll live after retirement based on your age and gender. While this tool can help you plan for retirement, it doesn't account for the many other factors that affect life expectancy.
What Does the Life Expectancy Calculator Say?
The SSA life expectancy calculator indicates that women live until about age 87 while men have a life expectancy of 84 to 85 years old. These numbers don't account for causes of death such as chronic disease, however. According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy in the United States is 80.2 years for women and 74.5 years for men.
What Factors Affect Life Expectancy?
Although the SSA calculator considers only age and gender, many other factors affect how long a person can expect to live, including:
- Race and ethnicity
- Overall health
- Education level
- Body mass index
- Level of alcohol consumption
- Whether you smoke or use tobacco
You can take steps to extend your life expectancy by:
- Losing weight if you're overweight or obese. Talk to your health care provider if you have trouble maintaining a healthy weight even with a nutritious diet and regular exercise.
- Reducing your stress Get plenty of sleep, participate in relaxing activities, such as yoga or meditation, and spend time with loved ones.
- Limiting alcohol use. Drinking only in moderation can reduce your risk of alcohol-related illnesses.
- Staying mentally active. Do things you enjoy, and spend time on things that challenge your brain, whether that's learning a new hobby or doing a daily crossword puzzle.
- Seeing your healthcare provider regularly. They can help you manage small medical problems that can become serious without treatment.
- Quitting if you use tobacco. This habit increases your risk for heart problems, cancer and other diseases.
Why Is Understanding Your Life Expectancy Important for Retirement?
You'll have to recalculate your budget and possibly adjust your mindset about money when you're no longer earning a regular paycheck. It's important to save enough before you retire to cover your financial needs for the rest of your life, including significant expenses, such as medical bills and long-term care. Once you understand your life expectancy, you can set a target for your net worth at retirement age.
You can make the most of your retirement funds by figuring out the amount of tax you'll owe during retirement, which varies based on the type of retirement account you have. For example, if you have a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on the funds when you set them aside, and you won't need to pay income tax on the withdrawals during retirement. On the other hand, a traditional IRA saves you money on income tax when you put funds in the account, but you'll need to pay the tax when you withdraw the money after you retire.