Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Old Age Is Something To Save For And Look Forward To

Tip#219 - Old Age Is Something To Save For And Look Forward To. Many people do not want to save for the future because they either do not know what the future will bring or because they think the future as an elderly person is not worth saving for. But with people living longer and longer, old age is not what it used to be. Seventy years of age today is what 50 years of age used to be a long time ago.

Have you ever looked at pictures of your grandparents or great-grandparents from 50 years ago? If you are lucky enough to have photographs that are dated and notated you may be surprised that people who look like they are 75 years old are actually only in their 50s. Now compare those photographs to pictures from today of people in their 70s. Besides the hair dye and stylish clothes on the people in today's photos making them look much younger, today's elderly are generally much more active. In fact, look at all of the active adult communities springing up around the country for people 55 and older. With people's lives being extended, their active years get extended too.

So what does all this have to do with finances? If people are living longer, then they have to have money to live on when they are older. And while many people are still active well into their 70's and 80's, many are unwilling or unable to work or if they are able to work they may not be able to work full time. It is this last quarter or fifth of our lives that we are saving for. Statistically, most of us will live to our 70s and beyond. And conceivably many of us will be living active lives - going out to eat, playing tennis or swimming, traveling, and doing many of the same things that we do today. So there is no reason to deny that it is necessary to save for the old age. And it's not something to dread but rather to look forward to.

In Real Life (IRL) - I mentioned last week that we are spending our spontaneous winter vacation in Florida. Although I tried, words cannot adequately describe the people we meet, the activities we participate in, and the conversations we have. But all exaggerations aside, it is actually quite refreshing to watch octegarians who are playing tennis and spend time with people in their seventies who go dancing weekly. Observing these eldery folk living their lives to the fullest has made me realize that their lives are evidence against all of those naysayers who think we'll all be sitting around doing nothing when we're old so we shouldn't bother to save for our future. In addition to anecdotal evidence, actuarial tables show that most Americans will be around until their 70's. So we really should begin saving for our life after our working years.

This week I talked to two women in their 80s who just came back from taking a cruise. I observed women and men playing with their grandchildren in the pool, on the beach, and on the playground. I saw elderly folk going on nature walks. I saw old people taking photographs and working on stained glass artwork. I saw pictures of a couple's first great-grandchild. But the highlight of my week was meeting a gentleman who was celebrating his 70th wedding anniversary with his wife. Just watching these folks has renewed my dedication to saving money for my retirement. Getting old is not something to dread. But instead it can be a time to look forward to - to slow down and enjoy life. And having the money to spend during that last quarter of our lives will only make our elder years more enjoyable.

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