Blood test that can predict our longevity will be a powerful tool in shaping savings policy

September 5, 2011

Alf was alerted to a Spanish company’s announcement that it can help determine when people will die by using a blood sample, a US$700 test, and research that earned three American geneticists the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2009.

The tip-off came from a Freakonomics post which raises very important political issues.

For example, if governments obliged citizens to take such tests to find out how long each of us will live, they will have a powerful tool for dealing with the savings problem.

As happens in this country, pervasive under-saving among American households is a consequence of the fact we don’t know how long our savings need to last.

Save too much and you miss out on having fun when you’re alive. Save too little and you end up broke and reliant on the social safety net that taxpayers fund.

But let’s not jump the gun.

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