We boomers may have more youthful mindsets than our parents had at our age. But even if we believe that 60 is the new 40, we aren’t that young anymore. And we can either adjust on the fly as we age or pay the price down the road.
Exercise is the first area where – no matter how young we may think we are – our bodies remind us it’s time to change.
Take sprinting, for example. Those days are over. The only sprints I have run lately have been prostate-driven. (The guys out there know what I’m talking about.)
Pumping iron is also a thing of our past. Toning and strengthening is always a good idea, but doing bench presses for bragging rights is gone with the wind.
Knee lifts and squats wear down what’s left of our knee cartilage.
Extended situps tear up our old backs.
Pushups and pullups put too much stress on our necks, rotator cuffs and shoulders.
So I’m sure it comes as no surprise that most boomers are more than willing to forego exercises that are too much for our aging bodies.
But the second area where we tend to maintain a youthful outlook for too long is investing. Unlike how we modify our exercise regimen, we refuse to adjust our investing strategy for our age… no matter how much it hurts. That can have devastating, long-lasting implications.
Shiny penny opportunities (those ideas you read about that promise big potential returns) are too aggressive for our age group but are also too attractive for many of us to pass up.
The simple truth is that when it comes to our money and risk, most of us still act like kids.
For us post-60 types, this high-risk behavior has to be a thing of the past, or it will cost us dearly in both the short run and the long run.
On the income side, shiny penny opportunities result in a cash drain on our income earning base. They are too risky and, in my experience, almost never pay off.
As these big percentage losers add up, we sour on equities. The more often we give the stock market the chance to prove it can lose money, the less likely it is we will hold equities.
These market disappointments drive us back to the perceived safety of a cash position. And that – as I have written about many times before – is a huge mistake and another loser.
If we are to keep up with inflation, we have to own some equities. But they have to be the right kind that are appropriate for our risk envelopes.
And that envelope shrinks every year.
The name of the “gray hair investing game” going forward had better include age-appropriate degrees of reliability, predictability and stability.
Our longer life spans (the longevity bonus) require that we plan for as much as a decade more than our parents had. And we won’t get there playing by kids’ standards or making big, quick kills in the market.
If an exercise hurts your back, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. If an investment makes you tingle with the expectation of big gains, you probably shouldn’t do that either.
Leave the muscles, the excitement and the losses for the kids. They have to learn their lessons, just as we did.
For us over-60 folks, stick to the “stability, reliability and predictability” rule. Yes, it’s boring, but those three win consistently… and that’s the REAL shiny penny.