Q: We were trying to decide how much extra life insurance to buy through our company at open enrollment, and I got to wondering about what exactly the odds are that I will die this year. I'm 45 years old. -- C.A.
A: Of course, you realize many factors can affect the odds, from eating habits to hobbies. The odds are better for women than men, whites than blacks, non-smokers than smokers. The leading causes of death for people between 45 and 64 are cancer and heart disease. For people between 25 and 44, the two leading causes are accidents and then cancer.
But to answer your question precisely: According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, in 1990, 3.66 45-year-old men died for every 1,000 men in the population, or 0.366%. For women, the figure is 1.92. The figure ranges from about 1 per 1,000 for both sexes at age 19, to 10 at age 58 and 62 at age 80.
Carla Lazzareschi cannot answer mail individually but will respond in this column to financial questions of general interest. Write to Money Talk, Business Section, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053. Or send e-mail to email@example.com