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Calculate Your Demise

Inflation, return on investments, desired retirement income, taxes -- all play an important role in guaranteeing that cushy retirement you've planned. But perhaps the most important concern is, well, how long you live to enjoy the fruits of your labor and low-carb diet.

Retirement planning is so simple, says our own in-house retirement expert David Braze (TMF Pixy): "The only trick involved is to ensure you die on schedule." Morbid, we know. But entirely necessary so you're not stuck performing savings CPR. If you want to make sure you're not going to outlive you're money, you have to get an idea of how long you're going to live. So put on a happy face and play... The Longevity Game!

Northwestern Mutual developed this "game" to estimate a life expectancy based on responses to various questions. While those number-crunching folks at insurance companies don't know when a particular individual may die, based on piles of historical data, actuaries can estimate a life expectancy based on age, family history, and medical history.

If you watch how your responses affect your life expectancy, you can get an idea of what you can do to prolong that inevitable date. (For a second opinion, check out MSN's life expectancy calculator.)

Keep in mind that the result is the average life expectancy of people in the given circumstances. In other words, about half of the people in those circumstances lived longer than what the "age tabulator" indicates. So, when calculating how long you need your retirement kitty to last, tack on another 10 years or so to the result of the Longevity Game, just to be safe.

Attention, TMF Money Advisor subscribers!
You have a couple of extra resources available with your subscription. (If you're not a subscriber you can try the service free for one month.) The DirectAdvice online financial planning tool includes a fancy-schmancy retirement calculator, which also addresses such topics as insurance and debt. If palpitations come on after you run the numbers, call the Ayco Financial Helpline and talk with a financial planner about your retirement, ask questions about your asset allocation, and get feedback on the right withdrawal rate for you.

Who knows, you may also pick up a few healthy living tips from the friendly voice on the other end of the line.


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