It's a common assumption among some people that getting older is something to be at best, ignored and at worst, feared. Advancing years are associated with receding hairlines, creeping wrinkles and a decline in physical and mental capabilities. When you think of it like that there really isn't much to shout about.
But there is another interpretation of getting older which is much more positive. Older people are more content than younger people (1). Here are seven reasons why getting older is a lot more fun than you might think.
1. You could be healthier and happier than you were when you were younger
There are plenty of 50- and 60-somethings who are a lot fitter than most people 30 or 40 years their junior suggesting that they consume fewer calories, take more exercise and eat less junk food. But surely getting older makes you miserable? Not a bit of it. Many studies have shown that older people are actually happier than younger ones. (1)
2. You could also be wiser
Why might older people be happier than young people, when young people are so full of life and vitality? The answer seems to be stress. While young people are beset with stresses and anxieties about careers, romance, finances and friends, older people have an accumulated experience which tells them (to put it simply) not to sweat the small stuff. They know that getting that promotion isn't the be all and end all, and they know that - as it turns out - there really were more fish in the sea. In other words, older people are better at seeing the bigger picture. We suppose you might call it wisdom.
3. You're probably underestimating how fun it will actually be
Again, the picture younger people have of retirement is generally negative, but Aviva's recent Voice of New Retirement report found that we may actually be underestimating how happy we will be in our later years. The report revealed that 62% of those interviewed who are now retired mention that, in their experience, retirement has been better than they imagined. (1)
The best retirement is one in which you can afford to do all the things you want to do, of course, whether that means travelling the world or lavishing time and money on beloved grandchildren. Use Aviva's Shape My Future tool to help make sure you have the funds to afford it.
4. You're likely to be happier with your sleeping habits
Part of the reason older people are so full of vim, compared to their younger counterparts, is that they they're happier with their sleep. (1) There is an epidemic of sleeplessness sweeping the Western world, and insomnia is one factor that can limit the happiness of people of working age. According to the Aviva Voice of New Retirement report, 53% of retired people are happy with their sleep, compared to 39% of the unretired. (1)
5. You'll probably feel less lonely
Another misconception about old age is that it can be lonely and isolating. While that is unfortunately true for some, a study published last year actually found that older people generally were more satisfied with their lives than those in middle age. (2)
6. All the power, all the time
You might have heard of the power of the 'grey pound' or the 'grey vote'? The simple fact is that the UK is an ageing population, with official statistics showing that the median age continues to rise. More Britons than ever are in their 60s, 70s and 80s. (3) Which means older people have real power, and will increasingly be courted by politicians, businesses and advertisers. More and more services will be geared towards the needs and desires of older people. Now won't that be fun?
7. You might travel more
So some older people tend to be happier, less stressed, better rested and often healthier, and it turns out they use all this vitality to have a lot of fun, too. That might simply mean more car journeys to see friends or relatives – something which in itself promotes happiness – but it can also mean more foreign holidays and even backpacking trips.
Ensure you'll have fun in your retirement by making plans to help secure your financial future. Pick up hints and tips, use the Shape My Future tool to see how much you might need a week when you retire to live the life you want.
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(1) Voice of New Retirement Report, Aviva
(2) Office of National Statistics
(3) Office of National Statistics
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