How would you like to die? Comedian Stephen Fry came up with the definitive answer in one of those Q&A columns that litter the Sunday papers:

'It's a kind offer, but not just yet.'

So, if not now, then when? Fortunately, the web has numerous resources enabling us to calculate the date, even the time of our demise.

But are they any good? Obviously you wouldn't expect them to predict an asteroid collision with the Earth that wipes out 98 per cent of all life. But you might at least expect consistency.

I tried five calculators and was given a life expectancy ranging from 76 and a bit at the lower end to 89 at the top - even to 97 if I'm prepared to modify my diet and lifestyle, but I think I'll let those last eight years go.

The most pessimistic calculation came from How Long Will You Live - Really, a down-beat assessment I can only ascribe to my failure to eat breakfast on a daily basis or take the right vitamin supplements. But it is at least thorough. Retire Web's estimate of 78 years was based entirely on my gender and date of birth.

Moving on, Living to 100 gives me 83.8 years - based on lessons from Harvard Medical School's study of centenarians. Along with all the usual information about height, weight and family history, it wants to know whether you floss your teeth or get on with your relatives. Apparently, centenarians do both.

Pinning things down rather exactly, LongToLive.Com says I have until the age of 87 - or until 10.37am on Sunday 21 March 2049 to be precise.

Must put it in my diary. Its advice is to give up breathing in air pollution. Oh yes, and to floss those teeth twice a day.

Finally, my favourite is North western Mutual insurance company's Longevity Game with its estimate of 89 years.

Just one thing - why will I need insurance?

These and other sites of interest can be reached via HSJ's website at