Here at AgingOptions we’re not only committed to helping people plan for retirement, but we’re also determined to help change some of the negative perceptions many people cling to about getting older. Now we’ve run across three related articles that shed new light on aging by describing the time in life when we tend to be at our best. For those of us optimistic about growing older, these articles are music to our ears, and we think you’ll feel the same way.
This article from the AARP website, for example, was the first to catch our eye. “You’re never too old to excel,” the article says, citing at least six different areas in which our abilities and self-image actually hit their peak at age 50 and older. (Another related article from the Business Insider website does AARP one better: it lists seven areas in which our skills are at their best after 50.) For those concerned that growing older means a steady decline into frailty and unhappiness, these articles should help change your mind. Business Insider calls this period over 50 “the back nine of life” and offers this reassurance: “In case you’re worried the prime of your life is rushing past you, here is some evidence the best is still yet to come.” Are you curious to know what you have to look forward to as you grow older? Let’s take a look.
- Your arithmetic skills are at their best at about age 50. Business Insider cited a 2015 study of 49,000 people that revealed that “those who performed best on measures of mathematical ability were around 50 years old.” When it comes to basic math, the survey shows, being older really adds up.
- You can understand the emotions of others best when you’re in your 50s. Somehow researchers in the same study demonstrated that we are the most “emotionally intuitive” as we mature. (The AARP article suggests this may be why our 50s seem to be the age when our adult kids are most likely to ask us for advice! It reminds us of the famous quote from Mark Twain: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”)
- We have the most overall wisdom after age 60. This may not come as a surprise to those of us who have reached (or passed) our sixth decade, but research has proven that, as Business Insider says, “People do seem to get wiser as they get older.” A study done in 2010 showed that those who did best at analyzing conflict, seeing different points of view, gauging uncertainties, and envisioning solutions were those past age 60.
- Your vocabulary reaches its peak in your late 60s and early 70s. This fact was confirmed, says Business Insider, by a 2015 study that researched more than 49,000 people. If you ask an older person for advice, better take the time to listen! As the AARP article puts it, “Maybe you should consider public speaking or writing a book at age 71, because that’s about when a person’s vocabulary peaks.”
- Our body image peaks after 70. This one was a real surprise, but apparently it’s true of both women and men. “In a Gallup survey,” says Business Insider, “two-thirds of Americans over 65 said they always like the way they look.” For men, self-perception reaches its high point in the early 80s, while for women the number who say they “always like the way they look” was almost 70 percent at age 74. Age on indeed!
- Psychological well-being is highest at age 82. What a pleasure it was to read this statistic! The Business Insider article quotes a 2010 study in which “scientists asked people to picture a 10-step ladder, with the best possible life on the top rung and the worst possible life on the bottom rung. The oldest group they studied (82- to 85-year-olds) gave the highest average rung number, about 7.” Who rated their satisfaction level the lowest? It was those around age 50.
So when are we likely to feel the happiest and most fulfilled? The last short article is this one from Business Insider which appeared last spring. It was called, “The age you’ll be happiest in life is later than you think.” The article says, “While you may assume the prime of your life will occur in your 20s or 30s, this might not actually be the case.” It adds, “While emphasis is often given to the younger years, you might have a bit longer to wait to really be happiest.” To answer the question at the top of this article – “What is the happiest stage of life?” – we cite this Business Insider quote: “In 2016, research from the [UK] Office for National Statistics concluded the most joyful age bracket was 65-79.” A similar research study in the United States pegged the peak years for overall satisfaction with life between age 60 and 69.
Of course, as the disclaimers always say, “Your actual mileage may vary.” Still, we share these articles hoping that those of you uneasy about growing older will realize that the old adage may very likely be true: the best years are yet to come. And to ensure that your retirement years really are “the best years,” we invite you to take a vitally important step in your retirement planning by joining Rajiv Nagaich for an upcoming AgingOptions LifePlanning Seminar. LifePlanning is our term for the type of comprehensive planning that is essential if you hope to protect your assets in retirement, avoid becoming a burden to those you love, and escape the trap of being forced against your will to move into institutional care. These seminars are free, and by spending just a few hours with Rajiv, you’ll see how all the facets of retirement – financial plans, legal safeguards, medical protection, housing choices and family communication – can mesh seamlessly together.
To learn more, visit our Upcoming Events page where we’ve listed all the currently scheduled LifePlanning Seminars. Register online for the date, time and location that’s best for you, or call us for assistance. One thing is certain: if you truly are looking forward to a fruitful and secure retirement – the best years of your life – you owe it to yourself to follow the only plan that encompasses everything you’ll need: a LifePlan from AgingOptions.
(originally reported at www.aarp.org and www.businessinsider.com)