Smith: Our golden years should be the happiest of our lives

Planing for retirement is essential to enjoying our old age.

There are more happy seniors than grumpy seniors. Forget the grumpy old man stereotype or grumpy old woman label —that is better left for a movie title.

Happiness typically increases with age and experts agree with that theory.

The reasons can  be linked to less pressure about finances, our careers have been established, children are now starting their own lives, grandchildren are starting to arrive who we can enjoy, love and spend time with.

Our 50s and 60s and onwards are a time of less stress. Our life experiences our now rewarding us.

We do not all age the same way. Advertisers and marketing companies treat the grey market the same way.

This may be cost effective for these companies as they attempt to market to the masses in an age category.

Don’t believe them!

The older we get, the more diversity there is among our peer group.

Our genes play a huge role in our individual health—healthy parents give us an added genetic positive health benefit.

Our environment— a positive and safe environment can add years onto our lives.

Our lifestyle—being active both physically and mentally will extend our longevity.

Activity is important. We can stay active in the future by being active during our life time.

Exercise is vital to maintain bone and muscles mass, strength and balance. We start to lose muscle and bone mass as we age—we must continue to wage the war against loss of strength and future mobility issues.

Being active is the best way to continue to stay active as we age.

Stress is a word used every day to explain worry, concern and depression. It is as important to spend time focusing on our brain as it is to focus on our body.

There are many techniques available to manage and decrease stress.

Google “how to reduce stress,” and use a technique that suits you.

Exercise, meditation, yoga and positive thinking are all stress reducers that cost nothing out of your pocket book.

There is no point in worrying about something you have no control over—a wise person told me that 30 years ago.

We all want to stay sharp and not lose our minds as we age.  People use to think going senile was part of the aging process.

Keep your mind active—exercise it regularly. Do cross word puzzles and Sudoku, read a good book, join a book club.

We keep learning. We may not learn the same way as when we were younger.

With our years of accumulated knowledge and experience, plus a willingness to bend the rules—we continue to challenge ourselves.

Most older adults do not want to be seen as “set in their ways.” With the advancement in computers and technology, we now have quick and efficient online communication to family and friends and online courses.

Stay in regular contact with positive people.  Hang out with young people as much as you can—the young people in your life will love it as much as you do. You can learn from them and they can learn from you.

Many retired people are as busy in retirement as during their working years. Older people are productive members of the community they live in. Older adults have higher rates of volunteering than any other ages.

Volunteers can live up to 10 years longer than non volunteers. Focusing on others gets us away from focusing on ourselves. Be happy, smile and the world smiles with you.

Doreen Smith is a Certified Financial Planner with Capri Wealth Management Inc.