Did you know that in just 11 years all Baby Boomers will be age 65?
Updated: Dec 20, 2019
At that time, the eldest of the boomers will have reached the age of 84. In the middle of the era when the boomers were being born the average life expectancy was less than 70 years of age. Seventy years later the average life expectancy at birth has increased to nearer 80 years of age. These statistics only shed light on a small part of the story.
The more interesting statistics are those referring to life expectancy from age 65. In 1950, the average life expectancy from age 65 was set just below 14 years making the average age of death 79. Presently, the life expectancy from age 65 has advanced to over 19 years making the average age of death 84.
How can this be? The short answer is actually in math. Don’t run screaming into the hills just yet. Over twenty percent of deaths that occur each year in the US are in those under the age of 65. This number is large enough to bring the average of death for the entire population down by nearly five years. Consider the following five numbers: 67, 73, 78, 84, 89. If you add them all up, you get 391. If you divide the total by the number of numbers in the list (5), you get an average of 78.2. This happens to be nearly the same as the median number in the list, in this case, 78. What if you were to replace the 67 in the list with 20? This would result in the average dropping to just 68.8, nearly ten points. However, the median value of 78 does not change. This small example reflects how much impact one-fifth of the sample size can have on numbers being presented to you.
Now you should reconcile similar numbers for yourself. A little genealogy research should help you with a bit of forecasting of your own. Research the ages at time of death for your great-grandparents and your grandparents. We all know that genetics play a role in our health, so take a look at those two generations within your own family to determine what you may have inherited. In my own situation, the ages of those in that list are 79, 54, 55, 84, 73, 93, 81, 90, 61, 32, 78, and 89. Adding all these ages up gives you a total of 869. If you divide that by the 12 members of the list you discover an average family age of death equals 72 years 5 months.
However, if you remove the highest and lowest values in the list until you have only two remaining, you will see another answer. The two remaining numbers in the list happen to be 78 and 79. Add those two numbers and divide by two results in a median age of 78 years 6 months. You can see just how much of an impact the couple of ages in the mid-50s, not to mention that fluke 32 can change the result. With this little example, we have determined that there is more than six years difference between the average age and the median age of death of those within my own family. If I play the percentages, I have around 300,000 hours until I die. I guess I still have some work to do.
Many of the insights provided in Death and Taxes: Fallout from the Baby Boom stem from my experiences in handling the passing of several boomers already. I have known many boomers, personally and professionally, who have passed while they were still under the age of 70. The causes of those deaths have run the gamut of the top ten list of killers. Cancer has been the most common cause associated with those deaths, but they also include stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Those are just the boomers, I have also watched as several of these took members of the silent and G.I. generations.
Get more details on these issues and more in Death and Taxes: Fallout from the Baby Boom.
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