Who Will Change Your Lightbulbs?

Key Takeaways

  • Mobility, independence and a wide social network are keys to maintaining health and quality of life in your retirement years.
  • Enjoying life’s simple pleasures becomes increasingly important as we age.
  • Good planning, smart decision making and having enough money go a long way toward thriving in your golden years.

*** Overwhelmed by technology? Our 3rd annual Technology Night can help. Please join us Thursday, October 8, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Coyle Financial offices.

I’ve been watching a high-energy client of mine for 25 years. John (fictitious name) is in his 80s, but he goes to lunch three times a week. He plays bridge once a week, golfs several times a week, exercises three times a week, and has a very full social calendar seeing his friends and extended family.

I’m amazed by John’s energy level and alertness. Even though he’s losing some mobility, I just say to myself, “Boy, I hope I’m like that when I’m in my 80s.” John’s just a great example for us all.

So, what’s John’s life all about?

It’s about three questions that I learned from MIT’s Age Lab:

  1. Who will change the lightbulbs? It’s all about independence and the ability to maintain your own home, including doing basic repairs.
  2. How will I get an ice-cream cone? Can you get out and enjoy life’s small pleasures—having ice cream or coffee with a bunch of friends or lunch with a good friend or going to the movies? It’s all about quality of life and mobility.
  3. Who will I have lunch with? Again, this is about having a strong social network like John’s. That’s especially important for women as we get older, since 40 percent of women over age 65 live alone. I know that men have more difficulty living alone than women do, but studies show that health goes down for either gender if you don’t maintain a healthy social network.

As we get older, it all comes down to planning your life well, making smart decisions, and having enough money to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and maintain a thriving social network. These are things you need to start thinking about in your preretirement and early retirement years, not just in your 80s and 90s.

To maintain your independence, you need to have a great quality of life and a wonderful social network, which go a long way to keeping you healthy. Again, make sure you can always answer the three little questions: Who will change the lightbulbs? How will I get an ice-cream cone? Who will I have lunch with?

Speaking of staying sharp and independent, don’t let technology overwhelm you. We’re hosting our 3rd annual Technology Night at our offices on Thursday, October 8, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Hope to see you there.

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