May 31

Age is Relative

Groucho Marx told us that, “A man is only as old as the woman he feels”, well in that case I am a lucky fifty year old with a smashing lady in her forties, although having now mentioned her decade I may be feeling very lonely for a while!

Age is relative, or should I say we all have an “aged relative”. As each day ticks by, weeks and months slip by, years become a moment and strange time warp phenomenon occur. What I mean is this, how come as you approach the end of every decade, especially after forty, the odd mind trick occurs. In that last year of a decade, when we are telling ourselves that we don’t care about reaching that “new” milestone, odd almost “twilight zone” events occur. We see the pictures of sporting stars from when we ourselves were young and virile and these gods look, to be honest, knackered and we get a fright. TV and movie stars release a new production and we scream to our partners “look at such and such, he looks ancient”, then we remember that we haven’t seen them for a decade or even two and it’s nothing other than just life!

The problem though is not that we are getting older, the problem is that we are ageing slower. No, I am serious! My grandfather looked like a grandfather at 55 and died at 65. My Nana is 97 but she really looks 97. My Dad is 75 and looks 65 and my Mum is nearly as old as my Dad (I could tell you her age but then I would have to kill you, it is a state secret) and looks 60! I am the exception in our family, but my mate Geoff is 60 and looks 45 and my beloved is (let’s not be stupid Ian) and looks 35 (brownie points by the bucket).

Yes, we look younger, stay younger and live longer, but do we plan for it? Be honest, not always. As the CEO of Warwick Wealth the “Over 50 Specialists,” (Yes we are both, we have over 50 Specialists and are the people who nationally look after only the Over 50’s). We see every day the impact of poor financial planning for retirement. People start too late, or rely on a late miracle to sort everything out, only to find that big deals never emerged or their lottery numbers or boat never came in!

Talking recently with my friend, James Wilson, CEO of Amdec, the owners of Evergreen Lifestyle Villages, we shared tales of how important planning for your security is! Security applies to your home, your finances and your health. Evergreen and Warwick are partners in offering all three forms of security via the Evergreen Villages and Warwick’s solid financial planning and products. The objective is to make the whole experience one that allows you to relax into your life over 50 and then later into retirement, rather than living every single day in a state of stress.

Life can be cruel, but it can also be incredibly good fun, challenging and fulfilling. Good planning of all aspects often helps to give you that joy and sense of relaxation. It’s not guaranteed, but as we all know if you don’t plan to succeed you must be planning to fail.

The world is a rough and tough place right now but “twas ever thus”. We can only do our best and then hope our energy and efforts are rewarded, nothing is certain, except the fact that we all want to feel younger, I won’t mention “death and taxes”, oh sorry I did mention them but they are so boring please forgive me!

The next ten years, they are important to me as they are my sixth decade, the world will change, and financial markets will rise and fall, property will climb and maybe settle, but all these are possibilities and variables, the simple truth is not changeable. We will all be ten years older, hopefully smarter and if the trend continues apparently looking younger than we do so now, yeah right, if 60 is the new 45 then how come at 50 I look 50, am I going to go backwards, no way too much good wine and happy living.

George Burns was once asked, “Who wants to live to be 100?”. “Me” he replied, “I’m 99!” So as we age gracefully or badly who cares, the fact remains that we are living longer and that means that we also have to be smarter and better organised. Soon the average person could be spending up to thirty years in retirement. If we retire at sixty, then we will have fifty percent of our lives to live in retirement but on what we earned in only forty years! Think about that and find the right place to live, with a proper financial plan to see you through.

My old pal Cicero may have had it right when he mused that “I approve of a youth that has something of the old man in him, so I am no less pleased with an old man that has something of the youth. He that follows this rule may be old in body, but can never be so in mind.”

This is where I want to be and that is a state that my parents have obtained. They planned, they loved us all and they are happy youngsters who are able to age with grace and a stress free life. As we get old two things are more important than any others and probably totally intertwined, health and money.

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