Demographers and actuaries make the following distinction between life expectancy and longevity: Life expectancy refers to the average number of years someone will live from a given age, whereas longevity refers to how long he or she might live if everything goes well, typically expressed as the probability of living beyond a certain age such as 85, 90 or even 100.
A growing body of evidence shows that many people are ignorant of their so-called longevity risk—the probability of living a very long time—and the complications that presents.
Drs. Hurwitz and Mitchell note that retirement calculators provide information about average life expectancy, but not longevity. They have found that about five times as many Census Bureau publications relate to life expectancy as longevity. Thus, people who have planned appropriately for their life expectancy might miss how likely they are to live longer.
People can look up their longevity risk with an online Longevity Illustrator maintained by the American Academy of Actuaries and Society of Actuaries, based off the latest mortality data from the Social Security Administration.
Author(s): Josh Zumbrun
Publication Date: 10 Feb 2023
Publication Site: WSJ