Age Is Just A Number

There is a popular meme that says “Age is just a number”.  That means age doesn’t matter, it’s your outlook and attitude that matters. Is that true?

As we older baby boomers start turning age 71, age does seem to matter less. We have passed the milestones of age 55 for getting senior discounts, age 65 for getting medicare and age 70 for starting our required minimal distributions for withdrawing part of our IRAs.

Whereas in high school our friends were within one or two class grades of us, now we have friends of all different ages.  We can hang out with people a decade younger than us or a couple of decades older than us.

We are also reminded that age is just a number when we see the different conditions of people the same age. That is physical, mental, emotional, financial, you name it. We are all over the place on the spectrum. Age matters less than other things that effected our lives, doesn’t it.

On the other hand, time marches on. If you are turning 71 now, you will hopefully be turning 81 in 10 short years and 90 in 19 years.  Think back 10 years to 2007 and how long ago that was. Not very long, it was like yesterday!

Age does take it’s toll on us, no doubt. No one is immune from it’s effects. Aging gracefully with a positive attitude takes an effort, no doubt.

We are all in this together.  We are loosing spouses and classmates to death. My high school class has a Facebook page set up for death announcements and I got another notification this morning. Long time friends get dementia and it could happen to you or your spouse as well. There are no guarantees, but we know that by now.

Yes, there are a lot of things for us older baby boomers to worry about.

But there is also a lot of things to enjoy and look forward to. By this time a lot of you are enjoying your grand and great grand kids. I see people going to the gym, walking, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.  I just came back from the National Senior Games and am motivated by what I saw there. People are volunteering and supporting things they believe in.  Some people are enjoying their church families. Here at our 55+ Active Adult Communities, people really like to travel and see the world. People like to keep learning their whole lifetime and it’s nice to be able to learn something not work related, something that you have an interest in. Many people like to read, some just to meditate, some like to putter around, but  doing what you like to do is something to enjoy.  I could keep going.

Age is a number, but we can deal with it. Enjoy the day. No use in putting things off. The future is now. Do something you like to do. Travel while you can. Learn something new. Walk in the park. Help someone. Be active. Peace.

Robert Fowler

Aging Boomers: Avoid These Downside Risks

Caribbean Cruise 12-2006 103When we were young, it was all upside gain that appealed to you but as you age at a certain point you realize that you may have more to lose than gain.

The aging process can cause you to become more fragile to events that could cause you or someone else harm or even death.  Your choices help determine your exposure to risks.  Identifying these potential harmful events and avoiding them is smart.  You have more to lose than to gain by participating in some events.

These events that could threaten you when you are age 50+ reach across life domains ranging from financial, health, and relationships. No one can identify all the potential negative events that are to be avoided, but certainly some are more common and identifiable.

Some risks are not avoidable, however the more robust you are, the better you can withstand these negative events should they happen. So making yourself robust is step one and avoiding these downside risk  events is step two.

Boomer Health Risks

Step One.  Making yourself robust will help when you do have health problems. Exercise, diet and nutrition, not smoking, socializing and enjoying people, doing life long learning to keep your mind strong, making your home more livable, all these sorts of things help to keep you robust.

Step Two.  Regardless of how robust your health is, avoid risk of the things that could cause you great damage should things go wrong.  A set back in health later in life can be more harmful to you.

a. Avoid exposure to risks of falls and watch out for stairs. Those who fall suffer injuries that reduce mobility and independence and increase the risk of premature death.  Make your home a livable design.

b. Avoid driving risks. In an auto wreck you will survive better in a big car.  Avoid driving at night or in bad weather whenever possible.  Stop driving when it is time.

c. Stay off ladders no matter how small the ladder is. Much better to pay someone to hang Christmas lights, clean gutters, anything on a ladder.

d. Get regular medical health checkups and screenings

e. Stay off ATVs and motorcycles period.

f.  Avoid lifting and carrying heavy objects like furniture or appliances, especially up steps where you can trip and fall creating serious injury to yourself and maybe others.

i. Avoid stress.  Don’t build  a home.  Forget road rage.  Avoid arguments.  Avoid excess use of alcohol and be careful with Rx drugs.

Boomer Financial Risks

Step One. You are robust when you have no debt, but have money to live on and have adequate savings for retirement. Paying off debt is easy to understand but hard to do.  If you have no debts you are in a better position and less fragile to events that may happen in the future.  You have more options.  Savings are better than having more stuff.  Put your money where it will do you the most good and give you peace of mind.

Step Two.  Avoid these things that could cause you great damage financially.

a. Avoid debt – carries huge risk.

b. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Too much risk you will lose everything.

c. Don’t gamble but with a small portion of your assets.

d. Don’t put your money in things you don’t understand. Be skeptical of giving anyone your money.  Don’t wire or send anyone money ever.

Boomer Relationships Risks

Step One. Happily married people are more robust in many areas of life and can help each other withstand downside events much better.

Step Two.  These things can cause harm to your relationship.
a. Don’t cheat

b. Don’t lie

c. Avoid divorce – major damage ahead.

d. Avoid stressful people that make you upset over and over again

General Boomer Living Risks

Step One.  Be as robust as you can be to withstand downside events which you may have no control of nor see coming. The stronger you are, the better you can withstand losses.

Step Two.  Identify and avoid big risks.

a. Think about things before you do them. You are not in your twenties anymore.  Be smart.  Identify risks and avoid them.

b. Living alone is a risk in several ways.  Community living has advantages.

c. Build redundancy.  Having an extra supply of cash, food, water and necessities on hand can lessen the downside in case of the unexpected emergency.

d. Have a network of reliable friends and neighbors.

f. Doing things small and incrementally will reduce risks

Do what you enjoy and makes you happy and don’t fret about the small things too much. You can’t avoid all risks but being aware of these black swan risks will give you the option to avoiding them.

Downside Risks Sources:
Black Swan Avoidance – Dr. McGuff’s Dirty Dozen

Book: Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Thanks to my friend,  Arnie Cohen for his suggestions.