Many people wonder how long they’ll live. It’s a factor in financial planning, in selecting bucket list priorities, in arranging housing options, and, in fact, in so many of the details we think about as we age. I’ve known folks who say “I don’t really want to know…I prefer not to think about it,” and I’ve encountered folks who say “It’s good to know how long I have so I can get the most important things done and out of the way.”

No matter what your stance on this persistent question might be, it’s important to know that just reaching a certain age is only part of the equation. One’s “golden years” can only be truly “golden” if one is healthy enough to make the most of living. So, it becomes important to factor your lifestyle into the assessment process, and to do this is early as possible in order to extend the number of years available to truly enjoy an active lifestyle.

Just like any planning process, one of the first steps to take is a projection of the variables, and when it comes to projecting longevity, one of these variables is life expectancy. But wouldn’t it be great if you could separate the number of years you have to live into two categories: Healthy years and Unhealthy years? Such a separation might help you set the priorities appropriately so that you could get the most out of life.

So, how do you do that? Well, researchers at the Janet and Mark L. Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research at the University of Connecticut, led by Jeyaraj (Jay) Vadiveloo have developed a tool that can help you make this projection. Learn more about this tool, titled “Healthy Life Expectancy Calculator” (HLEC) described in an article posted on The Conversation website. With Professor Vadiveloo’s permission, we have incorporated the HLEC tool into the HANDY TOOLS & CALCULATORS section of our Social Security Report website. Go ahead and give it a try, but remember it’s only a projection based on the parameters you enter.