Most people have a grim vision of what it’s like to reach 100 years of age. They imagine that by then, they will have lost all their friends, watched their bodies deteriorate and have difficulty remembering where they left their keys. It’s not a pretty picture, but it can be.
Three limitless things will change what it means to live until 100 from what it meant. These are:
Age is a mindset
Your habits define your life by determining your health. Maintaining a life full of constructive leisure time and practices for longevity will help you stay healthier for longer. It is easy for us to fall for the fallacy of consumerism and think that it is expected that we degenerate as we age, but this is not true.
The Secret is a terrible book with a beautiful point – you get what you ask for. When you assume that you will get frail as you age, age will make you feeble. Suppose you believe you will maintain your youthful vigour as the decades pass. In that case, you will retain your energy regardless of how many birthdays go by.
While hiking in New Zealand, the people most likely to pass us on the track were older hikers. We couldn’t understand how they were in such good shape, but they had spent their whole lives in the mountains and did not have this negative view of aging; as a result, they were more fit than us. It’s simple, exercising regularly helps you retain the ability to exercise.
When Planning for The 100-year Life, you must plan all aspects of your health, from what you eat to what you do with your money. There are many ways in which you need to approach your finances differently when you are planning to live for 100 years.
For one, you can forget about a government pension. These are a disappearing artifact as the average lifespan increases, and the ratio of pensioners to workers keeps rising, countries will not be able to sustain pensions for much longer.
The most valuable resources in the world are ideas. Gold, diamonds, and pearls all have a limit to their value and quantity; ideas are unlimited in both aspects. Ideas can be developed into billion-dollar industries that continue to grow yearly.
“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon, you have a dozen. “John Steinbeck
Human creativity is becoming the most valuable asset for employment as the world becomes more automated. Anything automatable will be automated as soon as the cost falls below the cost of labour – it is essential to prepare for this transition.
During the industrial revolution, there was a boom in factory jobs; these jobs were well-paid and stable. We are now in a creative revolution where the most stable jobs will be those requiring creativity, mental flexibility and/or empathy. Luckily, these jobs can be done regardless of age and only get easier with more experience.
A parable of Picasso illustrates this point perfectly. It goes like this:
A woman saw Picasso scribbling something on a napkin and asked him if she could have it, that she would even be happy to pay whatever he felt it was worth. Picasso complied and then said:
“That will be $10,000.”
“But you did that in thirty seconds,” the astonished woman replied.
“No,” Picasso said. “It has taken me forty years to do that.”
When Picasso realized the woman would not pay, he crumpled the napkin, put it in his pocket and walked away.
This parable illustrates the time it takes to develop creativity, but this also applies to mental flexibility and empathy. These skills take time to cultivate, and with the technological boom, they have already become the most lucrative employment field.
It is impossible to swing a pickaxe in a mine well into your 80s. Still, as we continually automate hard labour, it is becoming easier for people to continue working well into old age. Some of you might not want to work for the rest of your life, but studies have shown that having a purpose gives you a longer life.
Technology, mindset and diet can be used to minimize the period of morbidity at the end of life. The longevity diet has already been outlined and will likely be updated to include recommended supplements such as NMN as more human trials are completed.
When I was studying Chemistry, one of the lame jokes they would tell was:
“Chemists don’t die; they reach equilibrium.”
While the joke is meant to apply to death, it also applies to life. The way to a happy and healthy life is by reaching an equilibrium. Rather than losing or gaining weight, we should look to find our optimal weight and aim to maintain it. Theoretically, this means eating as many calories as we burn. Easy in theory; hard in reality.
Most of us have variety between our days. Whether it’s a different lunch or a new exercise routine we decided to try out, our days are all different from each other. This variability goes away as soon as we zoom out.
Today is different than yesterday, but this week has been pretty much the same as last week, and not much is changing when we start to look at our lives monthly. Our habits define our lives; we crave change, but it is our habits that determine what our average day looks like. A quote by F. M. Alexander that now rings truer than ever before is:
“People do not decide their futures; they decide their habits, and their habits decide their futures.”F. M. Alexander
We must ensure that – on average – our calorie intake equals what we burn. If we eat more, we exercise harder; if we skip a workout, we should skip a meal too. Over time, this approach will lead to an equilibrium in the body that will help it stay in peak condition and focus on building wealth.
The average working stage is 40 to 50 years, so your job must be personally rewarding, not just financially. Instead of waiting for retirement, find a job that gives your life meaning. Thanks to technology, we will soon be able to do meaningful work and delegate the meaningless stuff to robots.
When passion meets employment, there is no need to retire. I don’t plan to retire. Instead, I intend to do a job that I am passionate about. I can’t be a winemaker until I am 93, but I can be a life coach until then. The decades between now and then will have crafted my skills required to help the next generation make the best of their lives.
I had been semi-retired for 5 years since graduating from university until taking up full-time employment in Vienna. This stage of my life was split between months of intense work and extended vacations ranging up to 5-months.
I am an anomaly from the typical three-stage life, but this lifestyle will be more common in the future. We will live more fulfilling lives if we take the time to live them. Wealth is something that must be managed throughout life. You must use it if you want a comfortable life without working the entirety of it.
Take some time to think about what you are passionate about, and then find a way to turn that passion into wealth. Learning to turn a passion into wealth will help you become financially independent.
You can already start taking steps to plan for a 100-year life. These include:
- Maintaining your health with a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet.
- Start planning for your future with the assumption that you will be financially responsible for it.
- Start a side-hustle that you can do well into old age to decrease your current financial burden.
If you are having a hard time getting started and want help to shift your habits reach out to me. You can also subscribe to my weekly newsletter below to never miss a post.