What Baby Boomers Worry about the Most?
Not Enough Savings
In 2008, Sun Life Financial conducted a survey and reported that 51 percent of Canadians thought they would be ready to retire (i.e. disengage from their working life) at age 66. In late 2012, only 27 percent of working Canadians expected to retire at 66.
Can we afford not to work during our golden years?
Are we fit to work even if we are willing?
How long will our golden years last?
With a prospect of living till our eighties, nineties or even one hundred, it is understandable that most of us worry if our savings can carry us through the long haul. It is hard to predict how much money is needed exactly because we cannot fully predict our living expenses.
Though Canada has free basic healthcare, there are other costs associated with special treatments, alternative therapies, supplements, accommodation arrangements, etc. What if we need attendant care? What if we can no longer live independently?
I have all these concerns as well.
Positive thinking alone cannot steer our health back to normal if we have a medical condition. I am not going to encourage everyone to ignore all the signs and symptoms of an ailing body. We need to take appropriate actions to address our health issues. However, worrying about the what-if scenarios will not minimize the occurrence of our worst fears.
Let’s look at what we can do now to prepare for our golden years. An ancient Chinese proverb says, “Health is Wealth”, we can learn from the world’s oldest people about their secret to longevity and happiness. Research shows that only about 20 percent of how long we live is determined by our genes. Nature doesn’t have the final say and we have lots of control over how we can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Dan Buettner, researcher, best-selling author teamed up with National Geographic to conduct studies on the world’s longest-lived people from five places of the world – the Blue Zones:
- Barbagia region of Sardinia, Italy
- Ikaria, Greece
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
- Seventh Day Adventists, Loma Linda, California
- Okinawa, Japan
With a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and scientists, they concluded nine evidence-based common themes that we can learn from to promote longevity and vitality:
1. Move naturally
The world’s longest-lived people live in environments that require them to move without thinking about it. They engage in activities such as walking, gardening, performing house chores, etc.
Outlook in Life
2. A sense of purpose.
The world’s longest-lived people know their life purpose and why they are here on this earth.
Yes, people in the blue zones also experience stress. The world’s longest-lived people have routines that help them cope with and release their stress. Meditation and prayers are among the rituals they follow.
4. Eat up to 80% full.
The world’s longest-lived people do not over-eat and stop eating when they are 80 percent full. They eat their smallest meal in the early evening and then they don’t eat midnight snack.
5. Plant-based diet.
The world’s longest-lived people eat a lot of beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils. They eat meat, mostly pork in moderation and only a few times a month.
6. Wine at 5.
The world’s longest-lived people (except the Adventists) drink 1-2 glasses of alcohol per day. They drink with friends and/or with food.
7. Sense of spiritual belonging.
Almost all of the world’s longest-lived people belong to some form of faith-based community. Other researches show that attending weekly faith-based services add four to fourteen years of life expectancy.
8. Family Commitment.
The world’s longest-lived people put their families first. They keep aging parents and grandparents nearby or they live under the same roof. They commit to a lifelong partner. They invest in their children with time and love.
9. Accountability Group.
The world’s longest-lived people build support systems through a community of caring friends. They share common goals and hold each other accountable for their choices.
Power in You
Worries hold us back and cause us to feel victimized. Committing to responsible actions put us back on the driver’s seat. We have much control over healthy choices in creating an environment that emulates the blue zones.