October 1, 2023


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How well do you understand this key retirement metric?

2 min read

A key to planning for retirement is having a rough estimate of how long your retirement years will stretch out.

And that comes down to making an educated guess about your life expectancy. One way to do that is to know average life expectancy rates. They aren’t precise, but they can give you a solid base for how many years might await you and what savings you may need to have set aside to support your lifestyle. Will it be enough?

Just over a third (35%) of Americans knew the average lifespan of retirees, according to a report out this week from the TIAA Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at the George Washington University School of Business. And only 12% knew the right responses to a basic quiz designed to gauge longevity literacy.

(Getty Creative)

(Getty Creative)

The majority of folks who answered these questions correctly — demonstrating strong longevity literacy —are more confident they will be financially fit to live comfortably throughout retirement compared with those with weak literacy.

And half have done calculations to figure out how much they need to save for retirement, compared to a third of those with weak longevity literacy. Of note, 72% of those with high longevity literacy are saving for retirement on a regular basis, compared with 58% of those with weak longevity literacy, the researchers found.

Take this quiz to see how well you understand longevity.

Kerry Hannon is a Senior Reporter and Columnist at Yahoo Finance. She is a workplace futurist, a career and retirement strategist, and the author of 14 books, including “In Control at 50+: How to Succeed in The New World of Work” and “Never Too Old To Get Rich.” Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.

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