Life expectancy: spiritual or material?

The insurance man said that within ten years I'd have to decide whether I wanted to draw out my retirement fund in a lump sum or opt for an annuity. If I chose the latter, he explained, they would then determine what my life expectancy would be and calculate my monthly income accordingly.

They would determine my life expectancy? Of course I realized he was just using the language of his profession to define a simple actuarial procedure. But it set me thinking. Just how did I see my life expectancy? Was I measuring it in terms of a certain number of calendar years that had to be divided into a set amount of physical vigor and mental perspicacity that would eventually run out?

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Heredity doesn't have to rule
November 3, 1986

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