From The Editor: What’s My Age Again?

Q3 | October 2022

Laptop, notebook, Tablet and coffee on work desk

Topic: Wealth Planning, Living to 100

Brad Weber  CPA, CA, CFP

October 7, 2022

Image used with permission: iStock/PRImageFactory


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From The Editor: What’s My Age Again?

Q3 | October 2022

How old are you? It’s a simple question, one we readily know the answer to, although some of us might not want to talk about it. And why do we know the answer? Without drifting into too much of the obvious, we know the current year, the year we were born, and one minus the other gives us our age.

What about if you’re asked, how old do you feel? That’s an entirely different question that might be hard to answer. Part of the reason is that how old you feel may have nothing to do with how many times you’ve been around the sun.

When I help people with retirement planning, there are a lot of uncertainties that are inherent to the process. Like investing, planning for the future holds a lot of unknowns. That includes how long someone might live and, therefore, how long should we plan for. Trying to be prudent, we like to extend our financial projections to age 100. When I first present this kind of timeline to people, it’s common to get a few chuckles. Clients often express doubt that they will live that long, and just as frequently, some say they hope not to live that long. But what might be the motives for someone to say they don’t want to live a long life?

I think some of it comes from what our expectations will be for life as we get older. You might call it a fear of feeling old. A traditionally held belief about aging is that once we reach somewhere around 65, our health will be on a decline from that point onwards. So, the notion that we may live a long time doesn’t seem appealing if a significant amount of that period won’t feel like good years. However, the idea that we must live in decline as we hit a milestone like our 60s doesn’t need to be the case.

The science of how we age isn’t my area of expertise, but there are many excellent books on the topic. One I recently read was Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry Lodge. The authors propose that you can feel like you are 50, potentially into your 80s and that the deterioration we associate with getting older isn’t even part of the “normal” aging process. There is no great mystery to what you need to do. It comes down to a combination of good exercise, a good diet, maintaining positive relationships, and keeping a sense of purpose. These things are straightforward, but anyone that has had a gym membership knows that maintaining some of these habits isn’t easy. While accidents or a terminal illness are still possibilities, we have more control in delaying the effects of aging than we might have assumed.

While I’m not a lifestyle guru, nor do I have a great new exercise program to spring on you. I do know that those turning 65 will likely have another twenty or more years ahead of them. And while the financial element of preparing for and living through retirement is crucial, there are other elements to consider which will help make those years something to look forward to. And thinking about these things in context with your long-term planning shouldn’t be ignored. This is one of the reasons we’re launching our “Living to 100” campaign. You can read more about it in Alex Jemetz’s latest article.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Nexus has continued to find excellent new people to join the firm. You can read more about our new member in the Inside Nexus section. Also, in this issue, Dianne White discusses Donor Advised Funds, and Fergus Gould gives us his thoughts on inflation.

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