Communicating longevity risk to the public

Communicating longevity risk to the public


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Speaker(s): Andrew Peterson (Society of Actuaries), Ted Goldman (American Academy of Actuaries)

As the retirement system in the US has continued to shift from a paternalistic environment to a participant-focused environment, individuals are increasingly being asked to understand and manage multiple risks in retirement. One of the most challenging risks for individuals to manage on their own is longevity risk. Simply planning for average life expectancy is planning to fail when it comes to longevity. This presentation will discuss key aspects of understanding longevity risk and provide ideas and tools for helping individuals.

It will present the "Actuaries Longevity Illustrator," an online tool available to the public created as a joint project by the American Academy of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries. The presenters will provide a real-time demonstration of the tool which uses basic inputs to provide ranges of longevity outcomes, including on a joint-life basis. The inputs include birth date, sex, smoking status and general health, and partner information, if applicable. The output provides results on three different perspectives that illustrate life expectancy distributions on both a single and joint life basis. A key aspect of the Illustrator is that it does not provide a single life expectancy number, but provides ranges of results to educate the public on the importance of planning for a range of outcomes.

Additionally, other tools and approaches for helping the public understand longevity risk will be discussed. This will include info-graphics and other material that have been prepared to educate the public on key aspects of longevity risk. See  and for resources.

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