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What’s the life expectancy of a 60-year-old in the United States?

This question was posed to workers and retirees to gather data for the Personal Finance Index, a collaborative research report from the TIAA Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Expense Center (GFLEC) at George Washington University. Answers showed that Americans are just as lacking in knowledge about longevity as they are about financial issues: Some 53% of those surveyed underestimated Americans’ life expectancy or didn’t know enough to make a guess at all.

For reference, the correct answer for a 60-year-old’s life expectancy is 22 or 25 years, depending on the person’s gender, and that’s important to know because it informs how workers save for retirement. “If you don’t have a realistic understanding of how long you are likely going to live, you are missing one of the most foundational components of any plan: a time horizon,” said the head of the TIAA institute, Surya Kolluri, in a press release about the report.

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