The science behind how we personalize longevity, health risks, disability, and care cost planning for your clients. by Emily Rains Chang, PhD, Co-Founder and Data Scientist at Genivity
Health and wealth are closely knit together in financial planning. On one hand, poor health habits almost always wind up costing people money and health care will be many people’s largest expense in retirement (Rozen, 2014).
On the other hand, those who are healthy are more likely to exceed average life expectancy requiring a large nest egg to insure they don’t outlive their assets.
Longevity calculators are valuable tools for estimating life expectancy for actuaries and financial planners. Morbid curiosity aside, these tools serve a practical purpose, and can be a key differentiator when making financial planning and end-of-life decisions.
While age and sex tend to be the basis of most calculators, the more accurate assessments must also take include health. Measuring health status can be tricky with many ways to look at current health and then predict future health risks.
This white paper reviews the most methodology for estimating genetic age in Lumiant’s Health Analysis Longevity Optimizer (HALO)
HEALTH ANALYSIS LONGEVITY OPTIMIZER (HALO) ASSESSMENT
HALO is one of kind in its ability to pinpoint a client’s risk when it comes to health care costs in retirement. Together, advisor, client and the client’s family members can build a plan together that addresses those care needs and protects their wealth strategy.
HALO by Lumiant takes a 3-prong approach to assessing a person’s longevity to determine a Genetic Age.
1) Probability of Living to 100, 95 AND 90
HALO provides predictions for the probability of living to 100, 95 and 90 years old. It is not enough to provide the expected life expectancy. For financial planning, it is also important know the chances the person will live to advanced ages. For example, someone with a given family health history and lifestyle factors might be expected to live to the age of 92, but some people with these factors will live longer and some will live shorter, and knowledge about this distribution is helpful for planning.
2) Familial Longevity Adjustment
HALO considers the longevity of the person’s grandparents and parents. Studies show that people with long-lived parents are likely to be long-lived themselves, and thus, adjusts for this factor.
3) Projected Mortality Rates
HALO uses projected mortality rates rather the current mortality rates. These projected rates should be more accurate and generally produce higher longevity estimates, as health care advances are predicted to lower mortality rates in the future.
Strengths of the HALO model
The HALO assessment is based on published data and literature. These sources have been carefully vetted and combined in a meaningful way. Furthermore, the assessment explains the sources of this data to the person, as well as the assessments limitations.
Years of Disability
Unlike most longevity calculators available, Lumiant’s Health Analysis Longevity Optimizer is more than a tool. A unique aspect of the HALO solution is an estimate of how many years of disability a client will likely experience. This estimation considers both family health history and lifestyle factors. Since disability is such an important factor on finances, it is important to include disability estimates for financial planning purposes.
Family health history is one of the most important factor in one’s own longevity, and HALO considers the most important diseases and conditions. HALO evaluates the most important aspects of one’s family health history: Alzheimer’s disease, cancer (9 of the most common), heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. The questions are targeted to drive engagement and quite manageable for the person to answer in a matter of minutes.
The feel of the HALO assessment is informative, and motivating. Instead of being bogged down by pages of questions, the person answers the most essential questions and is rewarded throughout the data collection process with interesting facts and graphs. The final results page is clean, easy-to-understand, and engaging with the full report being sent to their advisor for follow-up discussion.
HALO allows the user to see exactly how their lifestyle decisions are impacting their longevity and disability predictions. For example, the user play with the settings and can see how exercising regularly will impact their lifespan and their financial outlook.
Another strength of HALO is the emphasis on financial planning and the extra information provided around healthcare, long-term care and retirement costs. This information is further customized with respect to the person’s current spending habits and healthcare mindset.
The thing to keep at top of your mind is how will the results impact your clients' financial plan. Considering factors about the client’s spouse and family health history can give you that edge when it comes to making a more complete, accurate, client-centered financial plan. If you are looking to truly be a “trusted advisor” and build a relationship with your clients and their spouses and families, then an intuitive, consumer friendly solution goes a long way in kick starting these types of personal conversations. Lastly, you want to make sure the longevity prediction is backed up by the right data. We have more data available to us than ever before, why not use it? Lumiant‘s proprietary risk model is backed up by the most meaningful and essential data for predicting your client’s health and financial risks.
Authored by: Emily Rains Chang, PhD
Genivity Chief Data Scientist & Co-Founder
Dr. Chang earned her PhD. in physical chemistry from Stanford University, where she also conducted postdoctoral research in population genetics. With a passion for health care, she then joined the content team at 23andMe, a personal genetics company.
Dr. Chang’s lab is now Genivity, where she creates models for protecting disease risk, analyzes data and develops accessible ways for families to manage health data.
For a short summary of the science behind Halo, please see the attached guide.