I am ending the year with a look forward as 2016 seems a difficult year to look back on. The fact that I managed to meet a life long goal of putting my thoughts to print has made it personally rewarding. My focus has been to share the perspective of an older boomer facing the realities of settling in for the last run at life. I have learned so much this year as I have researched, investigated and questioned some of the common wisdom on how to secure our valued independence by aging in place.
Several conclusions stand out to me. We really are as a generation facing aging in a different way. Yes, the inevitable aren’t we special comment. We know ourselves better than the longevity economy trackers. All the pronouncements and classifications have amused me and inspired me at the same time. A recent lecture by Ken Dychtwald, the guru of boomer demographics, puts us in three categories by our net worth. I guess I should start to call it the theory of thirds.
For boomer watchers, those that would sell us everything from patio homes in the Life Plan communities to high tech surveillance gadgets, it is important to know who much we have to spend. Thus according to the guru, regarding our money resources: 1/3 of us are very fortunate with our finances and doing well, 1/3 are getting by comfortably but with an abundance of caution on making what we have last and of course there is the other 1/3 that has not been able to save, and could be wiped out financially by a single large medical or repair bill.
I count my self money-wise in that middle category. I know that there are really five weeks until the 4th Wednesday of the month when the social security checks land in the bank account. I am not able to give money to as many worthy causes as I would like. A simple hobby or two is affordable, you can enjoy a vacation here and there is money in the bank for that rescue fund. The reality is that my budget will be tighter and tighter as time goes on. I know people younger than my self in that third category where savings have not happened and there is a ton of uncertainty as to what “entitlements” will be left. To the upper crust, enjoy the fruits of your labors but realize part of that was good timing.
There are other ways to look at the life of boomers and older seniors than primarily in dollar signs. I would like to propose another charting as we move forward with some wishes for the new year. As I write the term, aging in place, over and over I think beyond the technical meaning of staying in your own home as you age. There are other forces at work. A I P can also mean wanting to age in peace, age in protest and sometimes age in purpose. I will let you color in between the lines what each may mean to you and elaborate more in later posts. There are many of us that want to give back and plant seeds forward for the trees we will never sit under. A harvest late in coming is better than none at all.
A productive life should not only be measured by what is in the bank. So my wish for you is that you find your place along that peace-protest-purpose continuum and have an active and healthy and fulfilling new year.