Planning for Life

Some Sobering Statistics, Especially for Baby Boomers

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on November 24, 2015

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By Harry S. Margolis

For most people, putting off estate planning until they're older does not present a problem. The odds are that they'll be alive and healthy for the foreseeable future. But for Baby Boomers, these odds are changing rapidly.

I developed the following (somewhat morbid) table from Social Security Administration actuarial data (https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html) to reflect the chances of dying in any 10-year period. As you can see, it is quite small before age 50, especially for women, but then increases dramatically, essentially doubling each decade.

Just one in 13 men and one in 20 women will die between the ages of 50 and 60, but thisboomer_couple-resized-600.jpg increases to one in seven and one of 10, respectively, between 60 and 70. Almost a third of men and a quarter of women whom make it to age 70 will not see their 80th birthday, and then matters get especially dire. Only a third of male and a bit less than half of female 80-year-olds will make it through the decade, and of those who do, only one out of 20 males and one out 10 females will make it to 100. 

 

 

Likelihood of dying during each decade

Age

Males

Females

First 10 years

0.8%

0.7%

Ages 10 to 20

0.4%

0.2%

20 to 30

1.3%

0.5%

30 to 40

1.6%

0.9%

40 to 50

3.2%

2.0%

50 to 60

7.4%

4.4%

60 to 70

14.5%

9.5%

70 to 80

31.5%

26.9%

80 to 90

65.4%

54.8%

90 to 100

94.9%

90.9%

100 to 110

99.8%

99.5%

 

2 out of 100,000 American men survive to age 110

13 out of 100,000 American women survive to age 110

These statistics only reflect the odds of dying and not of falling ill or becoming disabled. But they show that it’s not totally irrational to delay estate planning until after your reach age 50, or to do a basic plan when young and to wait until your 50s to review and update it. On the other hand, this chart shows the real need for Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – to do estate planning, given that the youngest are now 51 years old and the oldest are 70. The oldest Baby Boomers (the bleeding vanguard?) may well pass away during the coming decade and also have a chance of falling ill or becoming incapacitated, for which statistics are hard to come by. If they don't have their houses in order, now's the time.

 Those who would prefer to see their chances of living during any 10-year period, rather than dying, may prefer to see the same statistics presented as follows:

Likelihood of surviving the next decade

Age

Males

Females

The first 10 years

99.2%

99.3%

Ages 10 to 20

99.6%

99.8%

20 to 30

98.7%

99.5%

30 to 40

98.4%

99.1%

40 to 50

96.8%

98.0%

50 to 60

92.6%

95.6%

60 to 70

85.5%

90.5%

70 to 80

68.5%

73.1%

80 to 90

34.6%

45.2%

90 to 100

5.1%

9.1%

100 to 110

0.2%

0.5%

 

2 out of 100,000 American men survive to 110

13 out of 100,000 American women survive to age 110

Topics: baby boomers, Estate Planning

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