Only 7019 Days Left To Live
I was once very taken with a story (hopelessly embellished for effect) that Warren Buffett’s ‘people’ had once been so pestered by a wealthy Pom wanting an audience for “Just one hour” that they eventually had to appeal to Warren himself to get rid of the man. His reply was simple enough. “I have worked out that I have 42,515 hours left to live, if you don’t mind, I don’t want to waste any of them”.
Since we heard this in the office, we started what we called “The Death Sheet”. It is an Excel spreadsheet that slaves off the actuarial life expectancy tables.
The average life expectancy of an Australian female born now is now 84.3 years. The average Australian male life expectancy is 80.1 years, and if you make it to 65, that extends to 87.1 years for the ladies and 84.2 years for the boys.
Enter your birth date into the “Death Sheet” and it instantly tells you the date of your death, including how many years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and weekends you have left to live. I was particularly impressed with one colleague in my broking office at the time who should already be dead.
As of today, according to the “Death Sheet”, this is how long I have to live:
Terribly useful information when it comes to budgeting for your retirement.
Of course, that doesn’t take into account my health (in the top 7% for low body fat in my age group), but the life expectancy tables are more about the average survival age than a realistic life expectancy of your body. If you can avoid accidental death and medical bad luck, your body can go on a lot longer than the tables suggest. I hope to have above-average health and life expectancy.
My Dad married someone 17 years younger than himself. It was a mistake. She ended up doing everything for him, and their relationship turned from lovers to carer and patient. He became sedentary, she became resentful, and he was prematurely put in a nursing home and lived out his life alone and lonely and ignored. Did you know a nursing home is supposed to take six years off your life compared to living with a loving family that looks after you? Be nice to those kids!
My lesson from that is to keep moving, stay in love, and don't re-marry young!
Back to my death. Once you are armed with the date of your death, you can now also plan on spending your capital in retirement as well as your income, and with a bit of luck, both your life and your bank account will expire on the same day, leaving nothing to those undeserving children.
It is a humbling thought that my life is now over halfway through, is 73.2% over and assuming nothing gets me first, in 7019 more sleeps, its curtains.
There is clearly no time to waste. I need a Red Mustang convertible by the end of the day, a Harley by Monday (been there, done that) and a pad and paper to plan that bucket list. With only 168,456 hours before oblivion, I need to extract as much value as possible.
So how do we do that?
- First up I have to get off my arse. If I'm going to stay alive, I have to get up and start moving those arms and legs, making an effort to make it worthwhile. There’s no joy in idleness.
- Next, I have to start being realistic about a lot of things. That miraculous financial transformation is running out of time. With only 1,003 more Saturday Lottos left the chances of my boat coming in have all but evaporated. In fact, I’d probably better not bank on it at all, not any more, and at $14 x 1,003 Saturdays it turns out that I should buy that Harley today and stop feeding the Tatts share price.
- And as for winning an Olympic Gold medal or becoming the Prime Minister, getting a bit late, far better I concentrate on the likely now rather than the unlikely. Like having a weekend away with Emma we and she will remember well after I’ve gone.
- I need to plan. To prioritise. After all, it’s going to be hard to do Route 66 on a Triumph Rocket when I can’t stray more than 20 yards from a toilet. Best I leave now and leave the shuffleboard and cribbage until later.
- And I have to start focusing on being happy. On identifying the few things that help me achieve that and hug them to me. And I need to promote the chances of happiness. To control which people I am with, the places I go and the things that I do.
- But the main game perhaps is not to waste time. It’s a bit like any investment. Half the battle is not about winning. It’s about not losing. So excuse me if I don’t take your cold call, reply to that email, fill in that service questionnaire or argue about the Carbon Tax. As Twilight approaches, I am now duty-bound to judge every activity on its value and contribution to my dwindling life span.
Damn. Only 168,455 hours left now. What on earth am I doing moving electrons around on a computer screen…do something Marcus!.
To help you with your own financial planning - click below:
Hope you are well. Enjoyed your death sheet article. Scary, inspiring stuff.
I was speaking to a 98yo chap who was at the D-Day landing. Being terrible at small talk, I asked him the inevitable 'what's your secret?' question. He brightly replied, 'luck'. He went on to say he was given a signalman (?sic) role for the landing of heavy vehicles (suddenly finding himself away from direct fire) and that WWII ended as he was on a transport headed to fight the Japanese. Pure luck plays such a role in everything, good and bad.
Have a lucky happy day.
Your Death Sheet may be underestimating your life expectancy, it’s telling me I should have died last year when I was 81. I wish I had known that before I recently renewed my Newsletter membership!
That apart, it’s a great message.