Moving into Extra Time
You’ll all be familiar with the rather hackneyed investment phrase that ‘past performance is no guide to future performance’, but when it comes to planning your own future it may be the best piece of advice, you’ll ever receive.
You see when planning one’s future (and its associated finances) the past is an increasingly unreliable guide. It isn’t just that we are much richer with technologies that have transformed how we work and how we live our lives, but our expectation of what life can offer is now very different.
There was a time when most people smoked, hardly anyone went to university or had a car. Nowadays, we holiday abroad, often have 2 or 3 cars per family, are generally healthier and certainly live a lot longer.
Back in 1970, life expectancy for men was 68.7 years and for woman 75.8 years (source: Office for National Statistics). Today, most people can expect to live well into their 80s and often into their 90s and even beyond.
Into extra time
The biggest difference is the much-discussed increase in longevity – Extra Time – as Camilla Cavendish describes it in her book of the same name. In it she describes lessons for people who are highly likely to live longer and hopefully healthier lives. Extra Time, as in a sports match, is the period when there is still everything to play for.
So, her lessons (along with some of mine) for having a better and longer life are:
- Most people base their guesses of their life expectancy on their parents and grandparents – often leading to wild underestimates. So, the first lesson is to wake up to the extra time that you will now very likely have!
- While as a society health has improved there is no guarantee that your own health, or that of your partner’s, will remain as it is today. Carpe Dieme as they say!
- The chances of a much longer, healthy life expectancy is hugely enhanced by taking exercise and eating properly – obesity is the new smoking and sugar is the new tobacco.
- Try to raise your heart rate several days per week. Medical advice should be sought but there are a range of safe, fun and stimulating activities out there. You decide what works for you! I now cycle on a Monday morning, spin on a Wednesday night and love a Friday morning yoga class…
- Don’t give up on your day job… keep yourself engaged and busy by either continuing to work or by getting involved in community activities. I plan to work into my 70s.
- Keep learning new things. The harder the better. We now know that old brains can renew themselves to learn new tricks.
- Medical developments in the pipeline look as if they will prolong healthy life. Anti-aging drugs could be as important in the 21st century as antibiotics where in the 20th. As Cavendish says watch this space.
- The key to healthy ageing is relationships, relationships, relationships. With strong social connections, people can live happier, longer and physically healthier lives.
- Be positive and laugh. A good positive mindset and lots of laughter go a long way to enhancing the quality of your everyday life.
- Finally, whilst many people see tech as a threat to humankind it will actually make it easier for humans to be good and effective carers. Lots of robotic help is already here – and it’s going to get much better. Human carers are not going to be replaced; instead tech will allow them to provide the space and time to befriend and actually care for our elderly and others in need.
Keep me posted on how you get on!