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Why you should never retire….

Photo by Slav Romanov on Unsplash

Photo by Slav Romanov on Unsplash

The first article we received was in The Economist on 25th Jan 2024.  If you have an account with the Economist (you can get a free account where you can read a handful of articles each month), you will be able to read this article here

The article points out that Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger (the investing guru team at Berkshire Hathaway) haven’t retired.  Warren Buffett is currently aged 93 and Charlie Munger was 99 when he died in late 2023.  Giorgio Armani is still CEO of his fashion house at the age of 89.

Look at US politics, based on current information, the President of the USA voted in at the end of 2024 will be aged either 82 (Joe Biden) or 78 (Donald Trump).  And that will be for a four year term – so will be 86 or 82 when their term is up.  (Notwithstanding the criticisms of their age, but obviously there aren’t many people who want to be the President of the US at the moment!)

I have always been in awe of Nancy Pelosi who was the Speaker of the House at age 82 (and managed to walk briskly in those spiky heeled shoes).  While the average age of the US Senate is 65, there are two members who were born in 1933, and in the house of representatives, 6 members who were born between 1936 and 1940.

That is not to say that the 90 year old Senator is as effective as a younger person, but it does raise the question of why they are still being voted in, and why they still want to do the job.

Another article that landed in my inbox was from the New York Times (probably pay walled, but some articles are available free).  This was called ‘My mother got on a bike, it changed her life’.  The mother was 62 when she started cycling when she moved to a new community.  She joined groups and became a serious hill climbing cyclist. [Here is a link for up to 10 people to read this article as a gift from me

While the article talked about the very active mother (who didn’t stop cycling until she was 80 and diagnosed with Parkinsons – which is not that compatible with being on a road-bike), the key message was that ‘the way we think about aging will predict what our future holds’.

The research and book that was referred to is called ‘Breaking the Age Code’ by Becca Levy – a Professor of Public Health at Yale. 

If we believe that getting older is a time of suffering and diminution, we increase our risk of cardiac events and speed up cognitive decline.  More importantly, the opposite is true.

“Those of us who view later life as a time of growth and vitality are more likely to stay healthy and keep senility at bay.  We may also end up living seven and a half years longer”

‘Mindset was the most significant factor determining individuals longevity.”

 The interesting comment in the article was that ‘my mother and her friends DIDN’T WANT TO BE ANY YOUNGER’.  They were embracing their lives and knowledge and the freedom of their maturity.

 Historically in New Zealand, there was a compulsory retirement age of 65 for many years – which was when NZ Superannuation became universally paid. But the law changed in February 1999, to allow people to continue to work after age 65.  Over time, people started continuing to work for longer, to accumulate more funds and while they enjoyed their work.

According to the Economist, in a poll, 1 in 3 people said that they may never retire. Sadly, that is because the majority of people can’t afford to retire, but just because you can afford to retire, does that mean that you should.

We are living longer (I will be writing an article for a future newsletter based on the fascinating information from Emeritus Professor Paul Spoonley), we are fitter and healthier, but we need to make sure that we are intellectually stimulated and feel valued.

This is an opportunity for you to think about (or re-think about) how you are going to age?  Change the role models that you are focusing on – seek out role models that aren’t prepared to let their age define what they can do and who they are.  Create a diversified portfolio of interests to keep you young (see the third article in this series).


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