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What does it mean to be “Old”? What Longer Life Expectancy Means for You

What is old? Is it AARP eligibility at age 50? Is it the Social Security Normal Retirement Age” between 65-67? Is it Jerry Rubins quote – Dont Trust Anyone Over 30. Or, if you are thinking about being old, you may prefer “60 is the new 40″. We are healthier, more active and can expect to live longer.

This is great unless you want to retire. Then it makes it more expensive.

I remember my grandparents when they were 70. A walk to the corner store was a major event. Gardening and checkers were important activities. In contrast, my parents were golfing, downhill skiing, and traveling the world. Now, at age 80, they are starting to think about slowing down. But for my mother, that just means trading in her Mustang convertible!

As I think about being 70, I wonder if being retired means not working. The longer life expectancy numbers are only averages, so the potential to live past age 90 is real. That’s a long time to take it easy. Working fewer hours sounds pretty good, and it might be fun to do something completely different.

One way to think about being old is to think about how long you can expect to live. In 1940, a person who was age 65 could expect to live about 12 -13 more years. Today, that has increased to 16-19 more years and projections indicate that it will continue to increase to over 20 years in the next few decades. So being old is really happening later and later.

A lot of people seem to be talking about working on their own terms. Flexible schedules, freedom to change jobs and working around personal goals are some ways to consider working in retirement. The money doesn’t hurt either.

So, I guess Being Old means whatever you want it to mean!

Photo Credit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/atbaker/ / CC BY 2.0