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What Are the Odds


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Just read that a former co-worker of mine died at age 100 on leap day, February 29, 2012. He was born on leap day, February 29, 1912. So, anyone care to estimate the odds against this incredible parlay?

The material provided and the opinions expressed in this post are for general informational purposes only and should not be used or relied upon as the basis for any action or inaction. You should obtain appropriate tax, legal, or other professional advice.

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Isn't it 50-50 ? After all, on Februrary 29, 2012 he either dies or lives.

George D. Burns

Cost Reduction Strategies

Burns and Associates, Inc

www.costreductionstrategies.com(under construction)

www.employeebenefitsstrategies.com(under construction)

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The standard media response is "a million to one".

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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Isn't this what I pay an actuary for? :P

I did actually give some minor thought when the news reported about a local "leap" baby.... In simple terms, being born or dying on a leap day is a 1 in 1461 event (365*3+366). Of course then I got to thinking about charts showing the seasonal fluctuation of birth and death rates... and that's when my brain switched back to the weather forecast.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Science/story?id=990641

Kurt Vonnegut: 'To be is to do'-Socrates 'To do is to be'-Jean-Paul Sartre 'Do be do be do'-Frank Sinatra

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Isn't this what I pay an actuary for? :P

I did actually give some minor thought when the news reported about a local "leap" baby.... In simple terms, being born or dying on a leap day is a 1 in 1461 event (365*3+366). Of course then I got to thinking about charts showing the seasonal fluctuation of birth and death rates... and that's when my brain switched back to the weather forecast.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Science/story?id=990641

Hey, boss, how 'bout a little refinement? I believe the problem becomes:

(1) Probability of being born in 1912

(2) Probability of being born on February 29

(3) Probability of living to age 100

(4) Probability of dying on February 29 in your 101st year

(5) Additional probability of the effect of all the parameters I overlooked

The material provided and the opinions expressed in this post are for general informational purposes only and should not be used or relied upon as the basis for any action or inaction. You should obtain appropriate tax, legal, or other professional advice.

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Isn't this what I pay an actuary for? :P

How much are you paying?

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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  • 2 weeks later...

speaking of beating the odds, someone in Jacksonville (and others around the country) stamp $ bills with "Where's George" and invites you to log into the "Where's George" website to see where the dollar has been, how many people have posted, etc.

so the other day I received one, entered the 8 digit number (plus the letters) and up pops a message

"2 bills exist with this number" => which year do you have. I think one was 2004, the bill I had was 2009.

so that means (I am assuming) 2 different people, 5 years apart, stamped dollar bills "Where's George"

the website indicated the other bill was in Texas when last reported back in 2005 or whenever.

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