Posted May 1st, 2016

How Long Will You Live?

Average life expectancies don’t tell the whole story when considering the length of one’s life.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average life expectancy in the United States is 78.8 years. While that is the average, the simple fact is that the older you are, the longer you are likely to live. Data compiled by the Social Security Administration indicates that the typical 65-year-old has a roughly 20-year life expectancy.

A 65-year-old man can expect to live, on average, until age 84.3.

The average 65-year-old woman can expect to live until age 86.6.

Remember, though, that those are just averages. About 25 percent of today’s 65-year-olds will live past age 90; 10 percent will live past 95. Further, U.S. Census figures indicate that seniors 85 and older are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population.

IRS estate returns reveal that approximately two-thirds of charitable bequests come from people who live to be 80 or older. The growth of the senior population and recovery of household wealth among the wealthy could provide a boost in bequest and other planned gift revenue from the more affluent segments of the senior population. At the same time, less affluent seniors are seeing their savings shrink as they spend down their asset base during their final years of life. Understanding and dealing with these countervailing forces will be increasingly important for those responsible for planned and major gift development operations. ■

Sharpe Consultants and Donor Data Enhancement Services can help clients understand their own unique constituent base and craft effective plans to help maintain and grow gift revenue now and in the future. For more information, click here.

The publisher of Give & Take is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice and assistance in specific cases, the services of your own counsel should be obtained. Articles in Give & Take may generally be reprinted for distribution to board members and staff of nonprofit institutions and other non-donor groups. Proper credit must be given. Call for details.

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