Showing posts with label mortality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mortality. Show all posts

Jul 9, 2012

Humor: Actuarial Marriage Advice

It's an intriguing topic: Do you indeed live longer if you marry a younger woman?  Or is this kind of party talk total nonsense?

This time an 'actuarial marriage counseling blog' that gets serious  about this hilarious topic of age differences and mortality......

Research speaks...
While it had long been assumed that women with younger husbands also live longer, in a 2010 study Sven Drefahl from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Rostock, Germany) has shown that this is not the case.

Some interesting an remarkable conclusions from Drefal's study:
  • A woman's life expectancy is shorter the greater the age difference from her husband, irrespective of whether she is younger or older than him.
  • However, the younger his wife, the longer a man lives. 
  • Women marrying a partner seven to nine years younger, increase their mortality risk by 20% compared to couples where both partners are the same age. 
  • But the mortality risk of a husband who is seven to nine years older than his wife is reduced by 11%.

It's strongly doubtable if this mortality advantage of a man marrying a younger wife, is the reason why, according to Okcupid, a man - as he gets older - searches for relatively younger and younger women.
In general a man of age X searches a women with a lower limit age Y of :

Y = 0.5X + 7

Men, don't search a woman beneath this lower limit age border, unless you want to end up as sugar daddy........

What about women?
For women it's quite different:

In general women search for an older man. But as they grow older this effect shrinks.

Actuarial marriage advice is rubbish...
Don't follow statistics if you want to marry someone, follow your heart! ;-)

Related Links & Sources:
- Max Planck Institut: Marriage and life expectancy (2010)
 - OKCUPID: The Case For An Older Woman
- CBS News :Age gap Deathly (2010)
- Sugar daddy diagram ;-)

Jul 10, 2010

Actuarial Limit 100m Sprint

In June 2009 Professor of Statistics John Einmahl and (junior) actuary Sander Smeets, calculated the ultimate record for the 100-meter sprint. The actual World record - at that time - was set by Usain Bolt at 9.69 seconds (August 16, 2008, Beijing, China).

With help of the extreme-value theory and based on 'doping free' World Record data (observation period:1991 to June,19 2008) Smeets and Einmahl calculated the fastest time that a man would be ultimately capable of sprinting at: Limit = 9.51 seconds.

As often in actuarial calculation, once your model is finally set, tested and implemented, the world changes...

Or, as a former colleague once friendly answered when I asked him if his ship (project) was still on course:

In this case, the 'model shifting event' took place in Beijing, exactly one year later, on August 16, 2009: Usain Bolt sets a new astonishing 100m World Record in 9.58 seconds !

Of course 9.58 secs is still within the scope of Smeets' and Einmahl's model limit of 9.51 seconds...

Nevertheless, as a common sense actuary, you can see coming a mile away, that this 9.51 secs-limit will not hold as a final future limit.

As is visual clear, one can at least question the validity of the 'extreme-value theory approach' in this 100m sprint case.

Math-Only Models
In this kind of projections (e.g. 100m world records) it's not enough to base estimations only on historical data. No matter how well historical data are projected into future data, things will mesh up!
Why? Because these kind of 'math-only models' fail to incorporate the changes in what's behind and what causes new 100m World Records. To develop more sensible estimates, we'll have to dive into the world of Biomechanics.

To demonstrate this, let's have a quick -amateur - look at some biomechanical data with respect to Usain Bolt's last World Record:

Let's draw a simple conclusion from this chart:

Hitting 9.50 secs seems possible

Just like Bolt stated in an interview: "I think I can go 9.50-something", appears to be realistic:
  • 0.026 secs faster by improving his reaction time to the level of his best competitors: 0.12secs, instead of  0.146secs
  • 0.060 secs faster by reaching his maximum speed (12.35 m/s) at V50 and maintaining this speed for the remaining 50 meters. 

Biomechanical explanations
On top of this, Bolt outperforms his competitors on having a higher step length and a lower step frequency. This implies there must be deeper biomechanical factors like body weight, leg strength, leg length & stiffness (etc), that need to be included in a model to develop more realistic outcomes.

Newest biomechanical research ("The biological limits to running speed are imposed from the ground up" ) shows maximum (theoretical?) speeds of 14 m/s are within reach, leading to potential World Records of around 9 secs on the long run.....

Based on this new biomechanical information output in combination with an appropriate chosen corresponding logistic model, we can now predict a more realistic ultimate World Record Estimation (WRE) in time.

Curvefitting at ZunZun with the 1968-2009 data (including Bolt's 9.58 secs record) on basis of a Weibull CDF With Offset (c), led to the next, best fit equation:

With: y=WRE in seconds, x=Excel date number, and:
a =  -3.81253229860548
b =  41926.0524625578
c =  8.97894916004274 (=final limit)

As we may learn more about biometrics in the near future, perhaps the ultimate 9 seconds (8.9789 seconds, more exactly) can possibly be reached faster than we currently estimate (year 2200).

Now, just play around with (estimate) world records in this Google time series plotter:

As actuaries, what can we learn from this 'sprinting example'?
Well... Take a look at estimating future (2030 a.f.) mortality rates.

Just like with estimating World Records, it seems almost impossible to estimate future mortality rates just on basis of extrapolating history.

No matter the quality of the data or your model, without additional information what's behind this mortality development, future estimations seem worthless and risky.

Although more and more factors affecting retirement mortality are being analysed, (bio)genetic and medical information should be studied by actuaries and translated into output that strengthens the devlopment of new mortality estimate models.

Actuaries, leave your comfortable Qx-houses and get started!

Related links and sources:
- Ultimate 100m world records through extreme-value theory
- 90 years of records
- Usain Bolt: The Science of Running Really Fast
- Biomechanics Report WC Berlin 2009 Sprint Men
- BP WC Berlin 2009 - Analysis of Bolt: average speed 
- The biological limits to running speed (2010)
- Limits to running speed in dogs, horses and humans (2008)
- Improving running economy and efficiency
- Factors Affecting Retirement Mortality and Their Impact ... 
- Cheetah Sets New World Record 100 meter sprint2009 (6.130 sec)
- 100m World record data and WRE (xls spreadsheet)

Feb 21, 2010

Powerpoint Mortality

Whether you're an actuary, accountant, consultant or salesman, when we take up a new challenging project, we're inclined to spend most of our time on data mining, modeling, reconsidering, detailing, arguing, making things perfect and finally, drawing the conclusions and writing the exhaustive proposal report....

Fortunately - in this case - your right on schedule! You've got exactly one day left before your Board presentation of the project. Still completely in a rush and overexcited about the stunning results of your successful investigation, you start up your laptop to wrap up your proposal report in a full flash Powerpoint presentation.

That night at 01.00 AM, you successfully finish your ppt presentation. Just in time! Completely satisfied about this phenomenal achievement, you e-mail the ppt to Nosica, the Board's secretary you know well. She, as well as the Board, will be impressed by your 'night shift work'. Who said that actuaries had a 9 to 5 job?

The next day, at 14.00 AM you enter the Board room, full of confidence. Your presentation is start-ready, the beamer glows, you're fully concentrated on your audience and in a 'cashing' flow....

After 20 minutes of presentation, including your ten recommended practices and some questions, you leave the 26th floor. All went well...
Time for a drink and a well earned good night sleep...

Next morning, 09.00 AM, the Board's secretary replacement calls you: Your proposal has been declined....

You're flabbergasted, how could this happen? After all this work you've been through.

What went wrong?

The answer is simple, you denied Wayne Burggraff's Law of Presentation:

It takes one hour of preparation
for each minute of presentation time

So next time, in case of a 20 minutes presentation, invest 20 hours of your time in research, development, organizing, outlining, fleshing out, and rehearsing your presentation.
In essence: if you fail to prepare well, you are well prepared to fail.

Here are some practical tips that might help you with your preparation:
  1. Ask yourself: ''If I had only sixty seconds on the stage, what would I absolutely have to say to get my message across."
    -- Jeff Dewar --
  2. The simplest way to customize is to phone members of the audience in advance and ask them what they expect from your session and why they expect it. Then use their quotes throughout your presentation."
    -- Alan Pease --
  3. No one can remember more than three points.
    -- Philip Crosby --

Fear of presentation
As actuaries it's surprising to see that people are more afraid (41%) of speaking to a group than of death (19%).
Now it's clear why we search the help of Powerpoint to 'survive' on stage.

Powerpoint Mortality
We all know Powerpoint..... Powerpoint itself is not good or bad, it's the way you use it.

The mortality rate of Powerpoint is humorously demonstrated by Don McMillan:

Who Needs Powerpoint?

Last January I was heading for a presentation with the help of Powerpoint. Full house. However, on the supreme moment the local beamer gave up. I simply decided to bring my message in an interactive session with my audience, without the help of Powerpoint.

Yes, it was different, challenging and even fun! Because of my thorough preparation - I was able to concentrate on almost everyone of my audience. So...., another Maggid's tip could be:

Prepare your presentation without Powerpoint!

A presentation try out
In the mid nineties my employer's company was heading to get listed at the stock exchange. I remember I had to give a presentation before a panel of 70 international analysts, who would probably raise all kind of difficult questions. In order to prepare 'abap', I called my strategy director as well as my CFO and asked them to act as my 'try out analysts audience'.

I told my colleagues I would give the presentation three times in a row. In the first two presentations they were obliged to interrupt me as much as possible, to raise difficult or weird questions and to put me to test (keeping my humor and concentration). During the third presentation they had to act as normal audience.

To make a long story short: after three presentations, my two colleagues kept their breath in combination with a desperate look in their eyes. I told them not to worry and reassured them my presentation at the analyst session would be successful.

And so it was, as I was fully prepared on every possible question and didn't had the need to look at my ppt presentation, I could fully focus on my audience. Lesson: Make the preparation tough, you'll benefit from it in the final presentation.

The actuarial master
Yes, there are a lot of rules, regarding the use of Powerpoint.
The Golden Rule is that all PowerPoint presentation rules, principles, and guidelines are just secondary to doing what is ultimately right for your audience. Critical point is, you can only break the presentation rules if you know them .

It's just like in actuarial science, once you've become an actuary (a master) the real art of your profession is not anymore in applying equations and methods 'by the book'. Now it comes down to break the existing rules and conventions in a such a professional way, that new risk and social challenges are being (re)solved in a different way. Key point here is that not only your professional skills have to be outrageous, but your presentation skills as well. As the success of a good peace of actuarial craftsmanship, is completely dependent on the way it is presented.

Let's conclude with some practical free(ware) presentation tips.
Although you're probably aware not to overuse clip art, it's good practice to set up your presentation in a consistent and well polished style.

Of course you can use expensive business packages to illustrate your presentations, but there's also an excellent freeware application called: EDraw Mindmap 4

With the help of Edraw, creating presentations and mind-mapping is a question of minutes.

Enjoy preparing and giving presentations, learn to be(come) yourself on stage and overcome any possible fear of speaking to groups......

Related links:
- EDraw Mindmap 4 (Completely freeware!)
- EDraw Mind Map 1.0
- Edraw Max (not freeware)
- Lovelycharts (free, one application; online)
- Presentation skills (youtube)
- The New Office Math (youtube;Don McMillan )
- Presentation skills (ppt)

Sep 28, 2009

Early Retirement hits Mortality

Do early pensioners live longer?

Or, to rephrase this: What's the influence of early retirement on mortality?

The answer has been given in a 2005 BMJ paper called:

In a long term (1973-2004) cohort research, the mortality of past Shell Oil employees,who retired at ages 55, 60, and 65, have been studied.

The main outcome of this study is that subjects who retired early at 55 and who were still alive at 65 had a significantly higher mortality than those who retired at 65 (hazard ratio 1.37, 95% confidence interval 1.09 to 1.73).

After adjustment, mortality was similar between those who retired at 60 and those who retired at 65 (1.06, 0.92 to 1.22).

So we may (carefully) conclude that working longer, means living longer...

Another interesting question, that hasn't been answered yet, is:
'what's the influence of early retirement on our healthy life years...

Aug 13, 2008

Netherlands: Rapid increase life expectancy

Last year, female life expectancy at birth was 82.3 years, as against 78.0 years for men. Life expectancy has risen dramatically since 2002.

Life expectancy at birth

Life expectancy at birth

Mortality down since 2002

Female life expectancy at birth was 82.3 years in 2007, i.e. 4.3 years more than for men who have a life expectancy of 78.0 years at birth. Since 1980, the gender gap has narrowed. Male and female life expectancy increased by 5.5 and 3.1 years respectively. The situation has improved considerably after 2002. Despite the ageing population mortality has annually declined since 2002. Such a long period of declining mortality is unprecedented in the Netherlands. In 2007, mortality was over 9 thousand (nearly 7 percent) down on 2002.

Declining mortality by age, 2007 relative to 2002

Declining mortality by age, 2007 relative to 2002

Situation favourable for people in their seventies

The decline in mortality was quite evenly spread across all age groups, but was particularly noticeable among people in their seventies. In 2007, mortality in the age group 70-80 declined by over 5 thousand (nearly 13 percent) relative to 2002. This decline is largely the result of the reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases.

Lower risk of dying by age, 2002-2007

Lower risk of dying by age, 2002-2007

Lower mortality risk for 50 to 80-year-old men

In recent years, the mortality risk declined significantly for both genders. For men aged between 50 and 80, the risk of dying dropped more than for women in the same age bracket. Among the very old, the situation is more favourable for women.

Female life expectancy at birth, 2006

Female life expectancy at birth, 2006

Netherlands not in leading position

Dutch women marginally improved their position on the European record list, but in countries like France and Spain female life expectancy is considerably higher. Belgian and German women also had a somewhat higher life expectancy in 2006. In relative terms, the position of Dutch men on the European life expectancy list is better and comparable to the position French and Spanish men. Swiss, Swedish and Norwegian men, however, enjoy a considerably higher life expectancy.

Source : CBS , by Joop Garssen and Koos van der Togt