Understanding How We Age – Physically and Financially
As people age physically, they also tend to age financially.
Failure to understand and accept these twin realities can lead to a lot of frustration and stress. Those who accept and (even better) anticipate the changes that come with physical and financial aging can experience a more peaceful transition as their lives change.
Here are just a few thoughts on the similarities of physical and financial aging:
1. Aging is inevitable – we cannot avoid it. Avoiding the topic, lying about your age, midlife crisis and quantity discounts on Botox are coping mechanisms people use to avoid the reality that time marches on and carries us all with it.
Understanding this truth is most useful before you experience it. It gives you time to prepare in a variety of ways (which leads to my next point which is…).
2. Aging is not equal – we can influence its impact. I’ve always been amazed at how many of us neglect our health in pursuit of more wealth, only to later spend all that wealth in hopes of recovering our health.
Most of the time, you can have a significant impact on the degree of your physical health in old age by what you do in young and middle age. You know the drill – diet, exercise, stress management, sleep, an overall healthy lifestyle. It’s not a recipe for never dying, but it can vastly improve the quality of your later years.
I’ve recommended to more than one client that they spend money each month on a nutritional consultant or a personal trainer. If your physical body is sick and broken down, how can you enjoy whatever wealth that you’ve ever been able to accumulate?
Similarly, if you understand your capacity to accept risk will very likely decline as you age (it happens people), you can plan ahead to utilize strategies that guarantee your income and reduce your reliance on risk-based assets. One example of this might be delaying when you take Social Security so that your monthly check from Social Security is larger later in life (when you [sic] desire for certainty and security is at its greatest peak).
3. Aging is not all bad – we can experience corresponding benefits. Guess who has the most money in the world – people that are over fifty. The reason is simple – they’ve had time to build their wealth.
Here’s one peek at the bright side - think of older…(and I’m going to let you come up with what that specific number is as to who is old!)…but think of older as the time to reap what you’ve sown. It is a season when you get to enjoy your wealth – every kind of wealth: financial wealth but also relational wealth, familial wealth and (if you are so inclined) spiritual wealth. There can be great joy in sharing a life of experience and wisdom – if you’ve been a person who has personally nurtured such qualities in yourself.
4. Aging is approaching – so what are you doing about it today? If your physical health is not what you want it to be, then do everything in your power to reclaim it. Diet and exercise can be very powerful tools, but seek a doctor’s advice first, and then consider professional help in each area of specialization.
If your financial health is not what you want it to be, the best time to do something about that is right now. Seek out the services of a financial advisor or planner that you can trust and work with her to install a plan that incorporates the realities not only of your life today, but also of your life tomorrow.
The purpose of wealth is to serve your happiness. Just understand that as you age, that happiness is going to be a moving target.
Offering you Wisdom on Wealth, I’m Byron Moore.
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