At My Age, How Long Will I Live?

Written by Ralph E. Shaffer

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

A SPOOF OP-ED. The IRS has sent out its latest life expectancy guess, the formula for stealing money from the IRA accounts of those over 70. That's the age at which you must start withdrawing money from your nest egg. Those under 70 merely have to consult the Internet to answer their curiosity about their longevity, and Google's websites are probably more accurate than what IRS uses for senior citizens.
For the younger crowd, doctors warn that you shouldn't go by what the life expectancy was for you at birth. That figure is skewed by the still too high death rate for infants and young children. Instead, check for the life expectancy at a round number nearest your own age. That's refreshingly longer than the longevity predicted for you at birth.
For those rewarding the IRS with withdrawal payments at the end of the year, the government has jiggered the statistics to benefit Uncle Sam, not you. The IRS gives a rosy guess as to how long you will live. At 88, for example, a man can expect to live another 13 years, to 101. That's what the IRS bases its withdrawal rate on. Considering that most octogenarians suffer from numerous infirmities, that's not likely.
So, let's try another approach. Take an old male with a flock of ailments. At 88, with stage 3 chronic kidney disease, he might last, on average, 5 years. His melanoma, stage 1, ought to be good for another 8, A-fib, along with other heart conditions - let's say he's had one heart attack - is worth 6 years at the most. There are other ailments that could be figured in here, but this is enough to give you a better picture than that drawn by IRS. The guy will be dead by 96, or earlier, depending on which bug bites first, not the 101 predicted by IRS.
But there's an alternative way to look at those numbers. Do they run concurrently or consecutively? If he's still alive when the kidneys ought to give out, at 93, he gets another 8 years for the melanoma, taking him to 101. On top of that, the old geezer then gets 6 more years for the heart to give out. Dead at 107.
Hey, maybe the IRS was a little too cautious in its calculations. If so, they're taking out too much money each year from my IRA. I'm gonna complain to President Trump.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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