Actuarial Science

By Mark Bertrang, The Creator of the Financialoscopy® on Thursday, September 14th 2023


What were you doing in 1993? In 1993, I received my certification as a CLU, a Charter Life Underwriter, through the American College of Financial Services. One of the things that I studied back then and that has become an integral part of our practice today is the study and research related to actuarial science. What is actuarial science? It is a calculation that we make in our office on a regular basis because there’s no point in planning to have money for when you’re older if you don’t have any life left. Let me explain what I mean by this. The longer you live, the more money you need, but if you’re going to have a very short life, there isn’t a need for a lot of money later in life.

My fears and concerns are for the little old lady or the little old man with a walker that I see in somebody’s future. If I am speaking with someone in their 30s and 40s, I’m looking at the person who they are today and making sure that we are maximizing the most that we possibly can for them today, but I also know how their future will play out. I have been at this rodeo for a long time. I have walked through lives with people, and I know that lives can end early and very unexpectedly. I also know that they can be long, enduring, and hopefully fulfilling. I have to plan for both of these scenarios. If I don’t plan for both, I am not doing my job.

An emergency vehicle just passed in front of our building and it made me think of emergencies in life. I have to make certain that I am prepared for those emergencies. We don’t have a lot of control over our lifespan, but here are some things that I’ve learned from actuarial science:

  • A good night’s sleep can provide you with a longer life. If you sleep less than 5 hours or more than 9 hours, you actually decrease your life expectancy.
  • Moving is also important. If you regularly sit for more than 3 hours at a time, you are actually shortening your life.
  • How about socializing? This becomes more and more important as we get older. I know many people who have lived long lives and outlasted many of their friends. Someone recently told me, “Always be making new and younger friends”. If you are likely going to live into your 80s, 90s, or 100s, remember that most of your friends will be passing away before you. In order to lengthen your life, you need socialization, and for you to be able to do that, you need new, younger friends.
  • Mental health is also important. What is your attitude on life? People that have a pessimistic attitude on life, live shorter. People with an optimistic approach to life, live longer. In fact, did you know that life insurance applications will subtly ask mental health questions because insurance companies also know that this is true?
  • How about this: every single morning and night, I floss my teeth. Did you know that not flossing your teeth could increase your mortality by 30%? Clean teeth actually reduce the likelihood of developing things like heart disease, diabetes, and kidney failure. One of the simplest things that you can do is just floss your teeth.
  •  One last thing to read: a good book. I’m not talking about a newspaper or a magazine that you spend a few moments with, but those individuals who sit down and read books that challenge them and make them think will live longer than those people who don’t.

I have been studying actuarial science since my certification in 1993. Everything that we do in our office centers around how long you will live. The longer you are expected to live, the more money you will need. We want to make certain that you have the maximum amount that can be created with the resources that you have available to you.

If you have a financial advisor and they are not asking you questions about your health or going through software that makes predictions on how long you are likely to be alive, then a big part of your overall plan is not being completed. If you would like to get a complete plan, let’s do that together.


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