Subtraction Improving Boomers Lives

Subtraction Improving Boomer Lives

Subtraction means removing things and in this context means removing things from your life to improve it. What you remove from your life can be just as meaningful as what you add.

Most of our lives we were are adding things to improve our lives and happiness. We added cars, houses, boats, concerts, jewelry and all kinds of stuff. We also wanted to see and do as much as we could. For so long the more we added the more we thought it added to our happiness.

However after a lifetime of adding many baby boomers are now finding out how to improve their lives by subtraction, removing things.

Examples of Improving Their Lives by Subtraction

For example, Jim says he doesn’t like to watch TV anymore more. He doesn’t need those lights flickering in his face and the loud commercials and besides there is very little content of value to him anyway.

Ann is cleaning house and getting rid of a lifetime of stuff that was just sitting around. I don’t want my kids to have to go through all this stuff. With every load I take out I am feeling lighter and better.

John and Marie are selling their large home and downsizing to a moderate size ranch with basement. We don’t need or want a large home anymore. This will reduce the time and money needed for upkeep plus give them more livable housing that meets their needs better.

Tony has been a political junkie for a while and used to get real passionate about it. He has gotten out of that. He says “You are not going to change anyone’s mind. Besides both sides may be corrupt so what’s the use. I don’t think I want to change the world anymore. There are more positive and better things to do with my time.”

James says he quit following any sports teams. When the baseball players went on strike years ago that was the beginning of the end for him. I don’t need the hype before and during the games. Besides it’s hard seeing the huge salaries being paid these days to guys with awful attitudes getting into trouble all the time. I can do without professional sports.

Fred has his main house and two second home condos. The upkeep is expensive both time and money wise. He is thinking of selling them.

So rather than adding the above are some ways boomers are subtracting and improving their lives by doing so. These are just examples. Your subtraction will be different than mine. The important point to be aware of is that for many boomers removing is becoming more important than adding.

Examples of subtraction used to improve your life by reducing or avoiding risks are given in my post: Aging Boomers: Avoid These Downside Risks

In general subtraction can improve your life by: simplifies your live. Less to keep up with. Less risks. By removing things you can better focus on a meaningful life. Maybe you want to focus on enjoying nature, friends, family, travel, gardening, trips, museums, getting outdoors, volunteering, learning, and healthcare or whatever floats your boat. Removing things can let you focus on what you want to do today. That will improve your happiness for sure.

I think this concept is important so I am making the by line of this blog “Less work and things, more people and activities”.

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.