Proactive Aging

Ben Jennings | Lead Advisor and Director of planning research

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Have you seen those apps that will take a current picture of yourself and show you an “aged” version?

The genesis of this goes back to 2011 research which shows that study participants who saw their older selves were less likely to engage in unethical behavior and more likely to save for retirement, etc. (This may explain why at least one big brokerage firm is featuring the technology on their web site!) I don’t know if you’ve tried the app, but unless my results are going to be like Robert Redford’s, I’m not too excited to try—even if it will make me a better person.

I think I’m pretty typical in that I don’t want to spend time thinking about what life may be like when I’m older. At the same time, I recognize that as I age I will face several transitions that confront each of us blessed with the gift of growing older. These include:

- Moving to a safer, more supportive living environment

- Negotiating a serious health crisis

- Limiting or eliminating my driving

- Getting help with my financial decision-making

You may not be close to experiencing one of these transitions, but you still may find thinking about them advantageous. As a matter of fact, we think preparing for these transitions is even more beneficial when you are not on the cusp of such a transition. Why? Making a plan when the need is not immediate, and then regularly reviewing the plan, builds connections in our brain that help those intended plans become default actions when the need eventually arises. The result is a better, smoother, more comfortable transition that allows you the best opportunity to stay in control of your future.

Each of these common aging transitions can have significant personal and financial implications. As a result, SoundView has recently been doing some “beta-testing” of a planning approach with clients which we refer to as “proactive aging.” We think you will find this planning beneficial and look forward to having a conversation with you about it!