8 Ways to Calculate Your Life Expectancy

Last week we spoke about the tangly questions of “when do you think you’ll live to” vs. “when do you think you’ll die by.” We had a blast!

Regardless of how the questions are framed, all roads seem to lead to death. We can tinker with the wording, but the truth is out there waiting for us, no?

So here we are, facing the aforementioned inevitable oblivion, but still grappling for answers (because that’s what we do when we’re searching for control and solace: we pour another glass of wine and we ask questions).

You (voice a little slurry from all the Pinot Grigio): “So when is my time up?”

Let’s peruse a bunch of free, online, math- and science-based tools that require zero bloodwork but a bunch of honesty.

8 Pain-Free Ways to Calculate Your Life Expectancy

1. Social Security Life Expectancy Calculator for Retirement & Survivors Benefits

  • Based on my current age they say I’ll live until 85.5.
  • If I get to 67 (what they are curiously calling my “retirement age”), I’ll live until 88.2.
  • Existential Alert: seeing the column called “Additional Life Expectancy in Years” was jarring—specifically for when I get to the retirement party they are apparently planning for me at 67. They say I’ll have 21.2 years left at that point, which I grasp mathematically but feel uncomfortable about nevertheless. Am I putting too many eggs in my retirement basket? A basket that’ll only last for a couple of decades? Are YOU banking on a whole lotta life “when you retire”…a block of time in life that might not be all that lengthy?!

2. “Big Life” Life Expectancy Calculator

  • After answering several lifestyle questions, they said I’d live until 91.
  • (Terrible sidenote: so this means I can keep drinking 15 servings of alcohol per week and become a nongenarian?!)

3. The Actuaries Longevity Illustrator

  • Pictures, people! We like pictures, even when they graphically depict our demise. Here are the images that came up for me:

My Probability of Living Until a Certain Age

  • I apparently have zero chance of living until 105. Why am I even bothering to carry on?

Probability of Living for a Specified Number of Years

  • That’s a pretty steep downward curve there, huh?

4. The Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator

  • This calculator looks legit because there is a picture of a doctor thoughtfully grasping his chin on the website’s homepage.
  • They said I’d make it to 100 so I’ll obviously stick with Thoughtful Doc.
  • (Terrible sidenote: I took this assessment a few months ago and at that time they said I’d live until 106…so I’m grieving for years that were never really mine to live. I might have been more forthright this time around with all the lifestyle questions, so word to the wise: be honest about your bowel movements, erectile dysfunction, lack of friends, etc.)

5. Blue Zones True Vitality Test

  • Yes, this is the same Blue Zones from the docuseries all of us Netflixers gobbled up!
  • Here are my not-unconfusing results:

Blue Zones Life Expectancy Results

  • I think they are saying I’ll live until 91.1 (orange line), but if I eat more legumes and stop being so antisocial, I’ll maybe make it to 97.5. (That’s a big ask.)
  • I’m choosing to ignore the green line because I did not take an assessment to learn I’d live to just 80.1 years—less than the average life expectancy for a woman these days. Blue Zones my ass.

6. Northwestern Mutual Lifespan Calculator

  • They say I’m going to make it to 92.
  • Because I fall for visual effects, I liked the age counter on the screen that went up or down depending on how I answered. It made me want to be a (slightly) better person.

7. Blueprint Income Life Expectancy Assessment

  • These folks say I’ll live until 93, and then they won me over for life (all 93 years of it) by making me feel superior: my life expectancy is 5.4 years greater than most, they said! I’ll outlive all y’all, bitches!
  • They have cool graphics on their website that demonstrate how life expectancy can fluctuate with lifestyle changes. If I work out more often than I do now, for example, I can add 0.6 years to my life. [Terrible sidenote: Is it worth it to toil at the gym 4 times a week if it’s only going to score me 0.6 extra years? I kid, I kid 🙄.]
  • Here’s a graphic about my drinking that might be of interest to my fellow boozehounding friends:

To drink or die?

8. Four Thousand Mondays

  • Yes, it’s my quick and easy Monday calculator! It’s not meant to be super scientific (so I won’t be posing in a lab coat looking all pensive), but it’s meant to break down the time you have left into a manageable metric.
  • Sometimes the measure of our “years left” isn’t as impactful as “weeks left.” By the same token, it’s somehow riveting to refer to a week as 168 hours instead of 7 days.


Calculate Your Mondays!

Moral of the story?

I’m dying, you’re dying, we’re all dying, and I just love that you made it to the end of this article to keep this mortality contemplation going.

If I average my “results” out, I’m going to make it to 92.1. My grandmother made it to 103 but my mom died at 58, so who knows what’s in store? I could choke on a Buffalo chicken wing for dinner tonight and we’d all laugh at the irony/ absurdity of this life calculator exercise. (For the record, I would find that very funny. Less funny if it was a regular wing and not a Buffalo one.)

Please do a few of these assessments…they help you think about the life you’re living, the life you think you might want to start living (with more fruit, for example), and what you want to do with however many years you happen to have left.

We might get 3,000 more Mondays from today, or just 3. Let’s do them justice! [Terrible sidenote: should we raise a glass to that? Give up 2.4 years just for the celebration of it all?!]

Jodi Wellman

P.S.: Why not preorder my upcoming book before you die? It’s called You Only Die Once: How to Make It to the End with No Regrets and it comes out May 7th!

P.P.S.: Let’s do Instagram together.

P.P.P.S.: Oh and just in case you missed it… I’d love you forever if you took 16 minutes out of your life to watch my TEDx talk!


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