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Life expectancy falls for the longest stretch since World War I

Life expectancy, which rose consistently in the United States for so long, has been falling now for three years in a row. That is happening even as other countries still see their life expectancies rising, so this isn't an issue for everyone. It's an issue for Americans.

Concerningly, experts note that this type of drop in life expectancy has not happened since a stretch beginning in 1915 and ending in 1918. Of course, the United States' involvement in World War I falls right in that window. The influenza pandemic in 1918 also played a massive role.

"Life expectancy gives us a snapshot of the nation's overall health," said the director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "These sobering statistics are a wakeup call that we are losing too many Americans, too early and too often, to conditions that are preventable."

Does that matter for you? It may. People often feel like they do not have to plan for the end of their life for a long time. They put it off. They assume they have decades left. They procrastinate.

As these statistics show, that assessment may not be accurate. People are dying earlier and earlier. You may not have all of the time that you assume you have. That's why it is so risky to put off estate planning; if you pass away early, it leaves your family and your estate with no set plan in place.

Make sure you know what steps you can take to set up a plan, no matter how old you are or how soon you think you'll need it.

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