I saw the old myth popup again that when social security was created people weren't expected to retire because the average life expectancy was only 58 for men and 62 for women. The Social Security website has a page up explaining this, Social Security History. The short answer was that the average is skewed because of a high infant mortality. If you made it working age, you could well reach retirement, and if you made it to 65, the average remaining life was 12+ years. Then again, you could just realize that the whole point of it was to raise poor seniors out of poverty by helping them save and that it was remarkably successful at this.