A new series called “Let’s Talk Longevity” kicked of with a conversation (sort of debate) between Drs. Aubrey De Grey and Charles Brenner, centering around the possibility of achieving “Longevity Escape Velocity” (LEV).
De Grey’s position imagines the possibility (50% chance in next few decades) of a “Methusalarity” a moment in which we begin to reverse some aspects of “aging” , primarily via “damage repair” at such a rate that we are able to repair damage in the body as fast as or faster than that damage is occurring. More concretely defined, it can be thought of as 20-30 years more of expected healthy life at age 60 when anti aging therapies begin.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, pressed House leaders Tuesday to pass the Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust Act, H.R. 5723, which adopts the consumer price Index for the elderly as the basis of the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and applies the payroll tax to annual wages above $400,000.
“I wish to indicate our strong support for H.R. 5723 – Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust and encourage its prompt floor consideration this Congress,” Jayapal told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday in a letter.
The bill, Jayapal wrote, “increases benefits across the board at a time of higher inflation, protects low-income seniors, widows and widowers, ends wait-times for those with disabilities needing support and more. Crucially, it is paid for by making millionaires and billionaires pay the same rate as everyone else by ensuring the payroll tax is applied to wages above $400,000.”
She urged Pelosi to move the bill to a vote in the House “as soon as possible.”
A book to educate labor people to argue for keeping their underfunded defined benefit plans with sprinklings of propaganda.
Yet pension plans cost governments less than 401(k)s for the same benefit amount. Most public pension plans are in sound financial shape despite media focus on the few that are not. (page 10)
At one point, I commented to a pension attorney that I didn’t think there were more than twenty-five people in the state who understood how the state employee pension plan worked. He agreed and then added that there were a lot more people who thought they did, especially politicians who were proposing reforms to it. (page 16)
Unless your doctor has told you you’re about to die, receiving a lump sum payment is almost always a terrible idea. (page 110)
If you claim Social Security at age 70 instead of 62 the sum total of your accrued benefits will be 17% higher if you make it to age 82 (which is the male life expectancy at 62). And remember that’s low risk, inflation-indexed income; there’s no better deal on the market.
Of course, delaying benefits means fewer years collecting them, but if you end up living to your early 80s you’ll come out ahead. The figure below plots how much you’ll get from Social Security (inflation-adjusted and discounted using today’s TIPS curve) at each age depending on when you retire.
And if you already claimed Social Security you can still change your mind and get higher benefits.
But if you are already retired (or resolved on it this year) and the market is down, it may seem like delaying Social Security isn’t an option. After all, you still need to eat.
The American Academy of Actuaries presents this summary of select significant regulatory and legislative developments in 2021 at the state, federal, and international levels of interest to the U.S. actuarial profession as a service to its members.
The Academy focused on key policy debates in 2021 regarding pensions and retirement, health, life, and property and casualty insurance, and risk management and financial reporting.
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing ever-changing cyber risk concerns, and analyzing the implications and actuarial impacts of data science modeling continued to be a focus in 2021.
Practice councils monitored and responded to numerous legislative developments at the state, federal, and international level. The Academy also increased its focus on the varied impacts of climate risk and public policy initiatives related to racial equity and unfair discrimination in 2021.
The Academy continues to track the progress of legislative and regulatory developments on actuarially relevant issues that have carried over into the 2022 calendar year.
The American Academy of Actuaries has released a new public policy paper and issue brief cautioning that clarification may be needed regarding estimated life expectancy showing significant decreases in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Reports of considerable decreases in life expectancy driven by COVID-19 may certainly garner attention, but they can potentially be misleading when based on a technical measure that assumes heightened pandemic mortality will persist indefinitely,” said Academy Senior Pension Fellow Linda K. Stone. “Service to the public is core to the American Academy of Actuaries’ mission, and we would be remiss not to share the actuarial profession’s expertise to help the public interpret such reports.”
The Academy’s new Essential Elements paper,Clarifying Misunderstanding of Life Expectancy and COVID-19, which is based on a December 2021 issue brief developed by the Academy’s Pension Committee, Interpreting Pandemic-Related Decreases in Life Expectancy, cites the potential of confusion arising from recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates of significant life expectancy decreases primarily due to COVID-19. The CDC used a measurement known as “period life expectancy” to estimate life expectancy changes in 2020, publishing in July 2021 a preliminary estimate of a 1.5-year year-over-year decrease, and in December 2021 a final estimate of a 1.8-year decrease. However, the CDC’s methodology and the estimated decreases assume that the heightened mortality of the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020 year will persist indefinitely—an unlikely scenario.
Period life expectancy measures demonstrate fluctuations that reflect events that influenced mortality in this particular period.14 For example, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 resulted in a dramatic decrease in period life expectancy, which was more than offset by an increase in period life expectancy the next year. A male baby born in 1917 had a period life expectancy of 52.2 years, while a male baby born in 1918 had a period life expectancy of only 45.3 years—a reduction of almost 7 years.15 The following year, a male newborn had a period life expectancy of 54.2, an increase of almost 9 years over the period life expectancy calculated in 1918 for a newborn male. These changes are much larger than those seen thus far with COVID-19, demonstrating the relative severity of that earlier pandemic relative to the current one.
It is instructive to review the impact of calculating life expectancies on a cohort basis, rather than a period basis, for these three cohorts of male newborns in the late 1910s. Using mortality rates published by the SSA for years after 1917, for a cohort of 1917 male newborns, the average life span was 59.4; for the 1918 cohort, average life span was 60.0; and for 1919, it was 61.5. Even these differences are heavily influenced by the fact that the 1917 and 1918 cohorts had to survive the high rates of death during 1918, while the 1919 cohort did not.
If both period and cohort life expectancy are measured as of 1920 for each of these groups (the 3-year-old children who were born in 1917, 2-year-old children who were born in 1918 and 1-year-old children who were born in 1919), differences are observed in these measures as they narrow substantially because the high rates of mortality during 1918 have no effect on those who survived to 1920. This is summarized in the table below.
Basically, there are two life expectancy measures— period life expectancy and cohort life expectancy. Period life expectancy generally is based on the assumption that current rates of death continue indefinitely. Cohort life expectancy is more heavily influenced by long-term expectations. Period life expectancies can vary dramatically from one year to the next when there is a short-term increase in mortality.
Period life expectancy can be a useful metric for year-over-year comparisons in normal times but tends to exaggerate the effect of nonrecurring events. Cohort life expectancy is likely what most people envision when thinking about the concept of life expectancy because cohort life expectancy is an estimate of the actual number of years that a typical individual might be expected to live based on reasonable expectations for future conditions. For this reason, cohort life expectancy is the measure used by the Actuaries Longevity Illustrator that can help individuals estimate how long they might live.
Life expectancy at birth (LEB) in the U.S. has grown about 50% since 1900, with most of the increase going to upper income groups. (See “Differences in Life Expectancy by Income Level”; Contingencies;July/August 2016.)Depending on the data source and the methodology used to determine it, LEB in the U.S. is about 77 and 82 for males and females, respectively.
I’m a retiree, so I’m more interested in life expectancy at age 65 (LE65). (OK, fine, life expectancy at a somewhat higher age is more pertinent for me, but LE65 is the more common measurement.) LE65 in America is about 18.2 and 20.8 for males and females, again depending on the dataset and methodology.
LEB and LE65 in America are calculated from a dataset of 330 million lives. Another dataset of 7.5 billion lives provides a LEB of 68 and 72 for males and females, a significant difference from the LEB mentioned earlier. The 7.5-billion-life dataset was the world population rather than the U.S. population subset. A meaningful LEB requires homogeneity of the underlying dataset.
The research showed that the rate at which older workers left employment increased dramatically during the pandemic.
This was especially the case with women — an 8-percentage-point increase vs. 7 points for men; Asian Americans — a 13-point increase; those with less than a college degree — a 10-point increase; and workers with occupations that did not lend themselves to remote work.
There was one exception: Workers 70 and older were 5.9 percentage points more likely to leave the workforce and retire. The study noted that these workers were likely already receiving Social Security benefits, so claiming did not markedly increase.
Among all workers 55 and older, the monthly claiming rate for Social Security benefits remained constant between April 2019 and June 2021, the researchers found.
To help participants grow their balances, employer-sponsored DC plans are also incorporating behavioral finance concepts into plan design and architecture by automating systems.
“Now we see automatic enrollment, we see target dates, we see managed accounts that are becoming more complex and having more options as baked into defined contribution plans,” says Deb Dupont, assistant vice president for retirement plans research at the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. “All of these things make it much easier and in fact [a] more passive decision on the part of the participant.”
Legislation, including 2019’s Setting Up Every Community for Retirement Act, has also eased plan sponsors’ responsibilities when selecting an insurer to offer annuitization options for participants’ decumulation stage. The safe harbor has prompted sponsors to increasingly build lifetime income options into their plans to provide retirement income certainty. And prior to the SECURE Act, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 led to widespread adoption of qualified default investment alternatives, including target-date funds, which helped DC plans incorporate ideas from DB plans, Dupont adds.