Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Your Life Expectancy, Calculated Online

A blog entry, dated May 12, 2008, entitled "I'm going to live to be 97: How about you?", by Rita R. Robison, posted on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, highlighted a Life Expectancy Calculator available on The Spirit of Now website, hosted by Peter Russell.

It calculates your current virtual age, which will differ from your current actual age, and then projects your remaining life expectancy.

Your Virtual Age is a reflection of your health and vitality. The lower your Virtual Age the better shape you are in.

It is used to calculate the
Life Expectancy of someone of your current physical age.
In her blog posting, Rita announced that she would live to the age of 97. I used it too, but I am less pleased with the results.

Life Expectancy Calculator asks 34 questions, beginning with your actual age. Then you identify your gender (checking "male" immediately increased my virtual age by one year), your race, your weight/build, your educational level, personal habits, medical conditions, hereditary conditions, personal attitudes, and other risk factors.

After the interview, it calculated that I would live 10,500 more days, that is, to the age of 85.

But I wanted some confirmation about this. So I checked a second Life Expectancy Calculator (one provided by MSN-Money), which is text based. I didn't like it as much -- mainly because it gave me a life expectancy of 81 instead -- only four years over average.

So then I checked a third Life Expectancy Calculator, one provided by Living to 100. Its data entry questions were more detailed, asking, for example,
whether I often eat charred barbecued food, whether I floss every day, and how often I move a stool (all of which seem to be related in some way, I think). Although embarrassed by some of the questions, I liked its result the best: 86.

I finished my quest for longer life through the Life Expectancy Calculator provided on a webpage of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It was the most heady, requesting responses from referenced tables on fitness, food groups, and occupations. Because of this impressive statistical approach, but its allowance for me to respond "I don't know" often and tell it where I live, this last calculator appeared most authoritative. It confirmed that I will live to the age of 85.

But it also noted that, statistically, a quarter of people with scores like me will live to be 95, instead; and that is really hopeful.

For the time being
(and at least until I reach about 80, when I might reconsider), I'll plan on dying at 85.

If I do reconsider, and choose to live longer, that fourth calculator would allow me to review and then address specific health risks that I could improve, such as:

Sexual Partners

How long do you have left here? And what are you willing to change so you can stay here longer?

Me? I'll look into sleeping more.

Update: 06/12/08:

On June 10, 2008, Fortune Magazine posted an article on CNN Money entitled "
How long will you live?" by Geoff Colvin, who asserted:
In retirement planning, everything is based on one number: your guess about your lifespan.

It's harder to estimate than you may think -- and there's a greater chance than ever that you'll be wrong. * * *