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You Are Underestimating Longevity… and How Uncertain It Is

“Centenarians” are becoming more and more common. There are approximately 90,000 people in the U.S. who are over the age of 100, double the number in 2008. In stark contrast, headline life expectancy has fallen to 76 due to COVID-19 and other factors (technically, this is period life expectancy at birth). How should advisors make sense of these seemingly contradictory trends? How long should they plan for the clients to live?

How long should financial advisors plan for their clients to live?

Most financial advisors plan for their clients to live to 90 as a conservative estimate. But here is a longevity estimate for a healthy 65-year-old retired couple (Figure 1):

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