Lifespan predictions may sound like the stuff of Tarot cards and palm readers. But an increasingly sophisticated set of online tools promise to help individuals gain a sense of how long they might live — and retirees, healthcare providers and financial planners are paying attention.
Government agencies, geriatricians, financial-services firms and other groups are now offering these free Web-based calculators. The tools are gaining popularity as older adults face a host of difficult questions that revolve around life expectancy: Should you start taking Social Security at age 62 or wait and collect a bigger check at 70? Do the longer-term benefits of various types of cancer screening outweigh the immediate risks of these procedures? Given your current rate of portfolio withdrawals, do you risk outliving your nest egg?