Financial Literacy

Coming of Age as a Senior

So much planning and preparation is considered when we acquire the status of becoming an adult. There are often celebrations that mark the ability to vote, register for selective service and high school graduation. Becoming an adult means different things to different people with options like heading off to college, joining the military or securing employment. There should also be planning and preparation for coming of age as a senior.

Much like hitting the age of majority, there are different considerations and options for coming of age as a senior. There are folks who are required to retire at specific dates such as some employees of federal agencies like the State Department. There are folks who are considering when to start taking distributions for Social Security at 65 or 72.

Taking a holistic approach to “growing up” we need to thinking about all of the PIECES of our lives. Often we have been living in certain circumstances for a while and should take time to step back and consider our options.

The PIECES of our lives reflect the Physical, Intellectual, Economical, Cultural, Emotional and Social components that make up our lives.

• Physically – we should consider our physical health as well as our physical location. Can we age in place or should we consider relocating? Is our physical health allowing for independence? Do we want to physically stay in the geographic area that we are currently in or do we want to relocate based upon temperature, support system or economics?

• Intellectually – we should consider what is necessary to stay stimulated. We underestimate how important it is for us to challenge our minds. While we are employed and/or engaged intellectually our cognitive skills are being sharpened regularly. While we may not want to continue attending a job regularly we still want to be intellectually stimulated. That is one of the ways to stave off Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

• Economically – we should consider how to protect and transfer assets. Do we have the funds that we need to have the lifestyle that we want? If not, what can we do about it? Finances are an important quality of life resource.

• Culturally – we should be mindful of those things that keep us entertained and our availability to acquire those things.

• Emotionally – we are able to explore and balance our emotions when we are able to connect with others. We use other people to balance our realities so often. Hearing ourselves speak out loud is often enough to help us see a different perspective.

• Socially – we often take for granted the network that our participation in the workplace provides for us. The relationships that we have provide a network of emotional and social support. Depression is a great concern among older people because of the lack of social networks.

Coming of age as a senior requires major considerations. Too often we ignore this reality and strategic planning provides more options that reacting. As we come of age as seniors we need to be even more thoughtful and strategic as our mistakes are not as forgiving as when we came of age the first time.

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