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Longevity is the 21st-century buzzword. Newsfeeds abound with stories of extraordinary older people achieving extraordinary feats. Orville Rogers, a 100-year-old marathon runner, says, "I can because I do". At 97 years old, Tao Porchon-Lynch is the world's oldest living yoga teacher. Stories of these outliers capture our imagination. Even reputable media is fascinated by longevity. "This Baby could live to be 142 years old" was the startling caption on the photo of a baby on the cover of Time magazine. Sanlam's recent 200 Year Life campaign stirred much debate. Despite these headlines and campaigns stimulating conversations about longer lifespans, do they help or hinder us in projecting how long we will actually live? As life expectancy is one of the most important variables in retirement planning, having a good sense of how long we are going to live is crucial. For retirees needing to ensure that they have a sustainable income for life, it is difficult to see the wood for the trees...

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