- October 12, 2020
- Category: Financial Planning, Life Planning
“*Shatayushi Bhava” – A blessing or a curse. A few years back I had written an article on the increasing life spans of Indians and whether we should consider this as a blessing or a curse. Blessing because we get to live longer than our ancestors but at the same time it could be a curse if that increased life span is spent in ill health and financially weak.
*Shatayushi- One who lives for 100 years.
Gerontologists (Scientists who study life spans) all over the world have written enough about the subject to prove that long life span is a reality and we need to go with the assumption that we will live to 100 or more.
In the above article we had discussed how one can prepare oneself to be financially independent throughout this long life span.
What was not discussed was how to make this length of time fulfilling and enjoyable.
The one non-financial aspect to work on so that you enjoy your life is your health.
We all know that to have good physical health we need to do adequate exercise and have good food habits.
What is most ignored and underestimated is the importance of mental health.
After the age of 60 or 65, we are programmed to think that we have become useless in terms of productivity or that we have worked enough and deserve to rest and “enjoy” life. This thinking is reinforced by your near and dear ones who with the best of intentions urge you to take it easy. You retire to get that elusive rest and release from stress.
I suspect the reason for our retirement mentality is based on the premise that all productive or work related activity is for earning money, and that activity is stressful and energy sapping.
We all work, earn money then save and invest that money to create a retirement corpus. Financial Advisors continuously urge their clients to do it. It is no surprise that Financial Advisors are also programmed to think that this stage comes around the age of 60-65. If things go according to plan, the retirement corpus is ready in your sixth decade of life and you feel that it is time to hang up your boots and put your feet up.
The end result is that all of a sudden you find that there is a huge space of time in which you have nothing to do and you have to fill it up with some activity. Most succumb to the easiest option of “watching TV”. This is a brain dead activity and nothing can be worse for your mental health.
Look at professionals like Doctors and Lawyers. Look at people who own their businesses. They are active and work well into their 70s and 80s. You will find them physically very active, mentally alert and happy in their space.
There is a story about Pt. Satwalekar, as narrated by “Pula” the renowned Marathi humorist. Pt. Satwalekar had done the humongous task of translating the Vedas from Sanskrit to Marathi He had completed this task at age 99. Pula met him around that time and in course of the conversation he told Pula that now he would like to concentrate on selecting the more interesting extracts from these books and explain them simply so that the youth of the country can get interested in the subject and read it. He estimated that this exercise can easily keep him occupied for next 8-10 years.
I was blown away by the story. Imagine a 99 year old planning his next 10 year activity with confidence. I think in this story is hidden the secret of a happy and successful life. Irrespective of your age when you get up in the morning, do you look forward to the day? Do you have a list of activities that you are raring to finish? Your activity need not always be money making. In fact if your finances are in place you are free from the stress of earning a living and you can work for the pleasure of it. It could then even be donating your time for the good of the general public towards an activity you are good at. You can do social work. Use your talent and experience to contribute towards society.
In conclusion I want to quote a recent research* findings. The research says that
At age 60-70 you are the most productive,
At age 70-80 you are second most productive, and
At age 50-60 you are the third most productive.
*Source: New England Journal of medicine – 2018
Irrespective of age a productive individual is not only a contributor to society but in the process he finds happiness, energy and a purpose in life and thus becomes a Blessed Shatayushi!