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Celebrating a Milestone

April 19, 2024
Personal Finance
Financial Literacy
Embracing the Golden Age of 65

The year 2024 marks a truly historic moment for me and our society, as a record-breaking four million Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, will celebrate their 65th birthdays. I will be one of them on May 19th. When I first entered this business at the age of 22, age 65 seemed like a distant milestone on the horizon at the bottom of client printouts.

This remarkable milestone, known as “Peak 65,” is a testament to the enduring impact of this generation and the ever-evolving journey of life. Throughout the summer of 2024, approximately 12,000 of us per day will reach this age, representing a diverse group of individuals with unique experiences, stories, and contributions to society. It can be a time to reflect on life and the wisdom that comes with age, as we appreciate the Baby Boomers who have shaped our world in countless ways.

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”

- Madeleine L'Engle

Both my father (1937-2002) and his father (1901-1966) passed away at the age of 65. My father was a CPA and the epitome of Irishness, with a strong connection to his heritage, and he even had the privilege of attending Notre Dame. During that era, the Irish often experienced a shorter life expectancy compared to others. However, I have inherited genes from my mother as well, who comes from a long-living Lebanese lineage. Remarkably, my mother just celebrated her 86th birthday and enjoys excellent health without the need for any medication. Inspired by her longevity, I expect to live a long life and remain dedicated to working with WealthWave until the very end.

The impact of “Peak 65” is significant and multi-faceted. This unprecedented demographic shift will have profound implications on various sectors including healthcare, social services, and the economy. Given the increased life expectancy, healthcare systems will need to adapt to the rising demand for age-related care and services. Economically, the substantial number of people entering retirement could influence labor market dynamics and spur changes in consumer spending patterns. Moreover, the wealth of experience and knowledge these Baby Boomers carry presents an opportunity for intergenerational learning, enriching our society further.

Age is just a number when it comes to entrepreneurship, and the Baby Boomer generation is no exception. Many have taken the plunge into entrepreneurial ventures after the age of 65, proving that innovation and ambition don't have to be confined by age. Notably, Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of the global fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), serves as a testament to this.

The Colonel was age 65 when he used his first social security check to start KFC, an endeavor that would eventually revolutionize the fast-food industry and establish a globally recognized brand. His story exemplifies the potential of starting a business post typical retirement, highlighting that success can come at any age, and often, life experience can provide a unique edge in entrepreneurship. The prospect of Baby Boomers following in Colonel Sanders's footsteps and bringing their lifetime of experience to the entrepreneurial world is truly exciting and could lead to unprecedented innovation and growth.

Entering the Medicare Era

At age 65, a significant milestone is reached - eligibility for Medicare. This not only marks a pivotal transition in healthcare and well-being but can also signal a time to reevaluate your finances, health, and lifestyle. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the past and make necessary adjustments for a fulfilling future.

During this stage of life, you have a unique chance to take stock of your accomplishments and set new goals. Imagine the possibilities! You can dedicate more time to hobbies and passions that have been put on hold, embark on new adventures, and deepen your connections with loved ones. It's a chapter filled with endless possibilities and exciting opportunities to explore.

Embracing this phase with open arms can lead to a fulfilling and enriching journey ahead. Picture yourself savoring each moment, cherishing the memories you've made, and creating new ones along the way. With a renewed focus on physical and financial wellness, you can confidently step into this blank canvas of new beginnings and paint a vibrant future.

Recently, I've successfully shed some weight and made significant improvements to my physical fitness. Moreover, I'm eagerly envisioning the publication of the books I've always wanted to write, as well as fulfilling my lifelong dream of recording music albums where I play the trumpet. As any of us approach this pivotal moment, let's embrace the limitless possibilities and let our imaginations soar. This is our time to shine, to live life to the fullest, and embark on an extraordinary adventure. The stage is set, and the spotlight is on us. Are we ready to seize the moment and make the most of it?

The Senior Surge

The U.S. Census Bureau has coined the term "gray tsunami" to describe the extraordinary 1,000% increase in America's older population from 1920 to 2020. This demographic shift has far-reaching implications, profoundly impacting social security, healthcare resources, and infrastructure. As we witness this significant transformation, it becomes increasingly evident that a proactive approach is necessary to effectively accommodate the needs of our aging population.

It's crucial to develop comprehensive strategies that address the challenges and opportunities associated with this growing demographic trend. By doing so, we can ensure the well-being and quality of life for older adults while fostering a society that values and supports individuals at every stage of life.

The Origins of Senior Citizenship

Tracing back to the inception of Social Security in 1935, the age of 65 was established as the benchmark for retirement. This decision, influenced by historical precedents and life expectancy trends, has evolved over time, reflecting societal and economic changes. As advancements in healthcare and improvements in living standards have increased life expectancy, there has been a growing debate on whether the retirement age should be adjusted to align with the changing demographics.

Additionally, with the rise of the gig economy and changing work patterns, there is a need to reconsider traditional retirement norms and explore flexible retirement options that cater to individual preferences and circumstances. The evolving landscape of retirement emphasizes the importance of adapting retirement policies and practices to ensure financial security and well-being for people in their post-work years.

“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”

- John Lennon

Retirement Realities

Contrary to the official retirement age of 67, Gallup findings reveal that the average retirement age in the U.S. hovers around 61. This is a notable shift in retirement planning and lifestyle choices among older adults, reflecting a desire for more flexibility and freedom in their golden years.

With longer life expectancies and evolving societal norms, many people are reevaluating their retirement plans, seeking opportunities for continued engagement, personal fulfillment, and pursuing new passions. This changing landscape presents both challenges and opportunities for individuals and policymakers alike, as they navigate the evolving dynamics of retirement in the modern era.

Vigilance Against Scams

Unfortunately, older adults, who are often vulnerable, remain prime targets for various financial scams. These scams can range from identity theft to investment fraud, resulting in staggering financial losses among seniors. The FBI has reported alarming statistics that highlight the urgent need for heightened awareness and preventive measures against such fraudulent activities.

It's crucial to educate older adults about common scam tactics and empower them with the knowledge to protect themselves and their hard-earned assets. By promoting financial education, implementing stricter regulations, and fostering a supportive community, we can work together to safeguard the financial well-being of our seniors and ensure a more secure future for them.

Confronting Ageism

Despite legal protections, age discrimination continues to be a pressing issue in the workplace, affecting individuals of all backgrounds. AARP, a leading organization dedicated to supporting seniors, has taken proactive initiatives and developed valuable resources to empower older adults. Through their efforts, AARP strives to combat ageism and promote fair and equitable treatment for seniors in all aspects of life, ensuring that they can fully participate and contribute to society.

Medication Management

With the majority of seniors being prescribed multiple medications, the Marcus Institute for Aging Research emphasizes the criticality of meticulous medication management to prevent potential adverse effects and drug interactions.

By carefully monitoring and optimizing medication regimens, healthcare professionals can ensure the well-being and safety of older adults, promoting better health outcomes and enhancing their overall quality of life.

Physical Changes and Adaptation

The Mayo Clinic, a renowned medical institution, provides a comprehensive overview of the physiological changes that accompany the natural process of aging. Their research highlights the significance of proactive health management strategies in order to effectively maintain and enhance the overall quality of life as we grow older.

By understanding and addressing these changes, individuals can make informed decisions about their well-being and take necessary steps to optimize their health and vitality.

Embracing Senior Perks

From exclusive discounts at a wide array of restaurants and stores to specially curated travel packages and top-notch entertainment offerings, seniors can find benefits that are specifically designed to celebrate their age, wisdom, and life experience.

SeniorLiving.org provides a comprehensive list of senior discounts from various retailers, restaurants, travel companies, and stores. Take advantage of these exclusive offers to save on a wide range of purchases. Explore the world of senior discounts and savings at: link to Senior Discounts and Savings.

Whether it's savoring delectable cuisines, indulging in retail therapy, embarking on exciting adventures, or immersing in cultural events, seniors can truly make the most of their golden years with these incredible perks.

Tax Benefits for Seniors

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes and empathizes with the unique financial needs of seniors. In order to provide them with even more financial relief, the IRS offers increased standard deductions that are specifically designed to cater to seniors' circumstances. These enhanced deductions help alleviate the financial burden that seniors may face during their retirement years.

Moreover, it's not just the federal government that acknowledges the importance of supporting seniors financially. Many states also offer tax exemptions and additional benefits that are tailored specifically for seniors. These state-level benefits further contribute to easing the financial strain and ensuring that seniors can truly enjoy their well-deserved retirement years with peace of mind.

The combination of federal and state recognition and support demonstrates a commitment to seniors' financial well-being and can underscore the importance of ensuring a comfortable and worry-free retirement.

Contemplating Life's Journey

As the Social Security Administration provides life expectancy insights, it's a time for deep introspection and embracing the fullness of life. It recommends cultivating a sense of "conscious death awareness," which encourages individuals to live authentically and purposefully, recognizing the impermanence of existence.

Turning 65 is not merely a number but a gateway to a new chapter filled with exciting adventures, profound wisdom, and countless opportunities waiting to be explored. It symbolizes a grand celebration of life's remarkable journey, enriched by diverse experiences and boundless possibilities that lie ahead, ready to be embraced with open arms.

Tom Mathews