A quick review of the year’s posts, an announcement of a Future Of Aging Summit next year in Toronto, and (importantly) what I’m planning regarding an index to these posts
I wish all of you a very happy holiday season, and the very best of luck for the new year. Thank you for your support, and your occasional emails and comments. Every one of them reminds me that there are real people who read these blog posts, and I appreciate that very much, as I do the nice things I hear at conferences from people who surprise me by telling me that they are readers too. I know that it’s impossible for every post to be of interest to everyone: you’re all too different, and are in circumstances that differ too much, for that to happen. But if every post interests at least one of you, then I feel the time to research and write that post was worthwhile.
Looking back, this year’s posts fell under two main headings: happiness and mental wellbeing, and retirement finance. There were also three posts involving aspects of longevity, two vaguely about investments, and one that’s not classifiable under any of those four major themes. I’m surprised investments were so infrequent a subject; but on reflection perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, because I find that, at conferences, these days there’s very little discussion of pure investment principles, and it’s mostly about the extent to which specific investments fit the search for helping with sustainability, climate change and ESG principles.
My two investment topics were #185, on a different way to report retirement plan accumulations (showing the extent to which income will be replaced) and #186, on the surprising notion of what a great year 2022 was for investments (because the ability to reinvest at those higher interest rates more than made up for the large market value falls, which of course were the only angle that news articles reported on).
The longevity posts were #190, showing that our thinking changes as we age; #192, on Dr Peter Attia’s explanation of how we can get an added decade of healthy life; and #195, a light-hearted yet serious piece on how middle age starts and ends very much later than we’re used to thinking about, so that many of us are young rather than middle-aged or middle-aged rather than old.
The retirement finance posts covered a variety of angles. #185 and #186 (mentioned above as investment-related posts) also involved retirement finance. And #188 commented on how inflation would have changed your 2022 Personal Funded Ratio. There were a couple of general rather than specific topics: #184 on financial literacy being low but highly desirable, and #187 on Matt Smith’s new website, The Retirement Space, on which I was interviewed. And #191, about my great relief to be told that taking non-financial goals into account in retirement planning is sensible and totally normal, not an error.
#180 went into the most basic topic of all, why to save for retirement, and #189 was about what to do if, later, your saving is not progressing fast enough. And then two that focused on Dr Wade Pfau’s very useful approach: #193 on how he classifies some fundamental attitudes regarding your retirement finances, and #194 on what he calls retirement styles.
The posts on happiness and mental wellbeing also covered a variety of angles. Some of them I’ve already mentioned because they also dealt with other headings: #180 on why to save for retirement, #190 on how our thinking changes as we age, #191 on my relief at being called normal, and #192 on Dr Peter Attia’s added decade of healthy life.
There were many posts on the benefits of doing specific things: #181 on the joys and benefits of dancing, continued in #182 with some other forms of exercise (walking, swimming, gardening), and #183 with yet more forms of exercise (yoga, t’ai chi and pilates, a post that ended with the specific goals of all forms of exercise). And I came back to this series with #192, the benefits from running.
#197 and #198 covered Dr Hal Hershfield’s notion of your future self: how to get to know your future self and how to bring your future self closer, because what you do now can make that future self healthier and happier.
And I actually started the year with three more general topics: #179 on Dr Theo Kocken’s outstanding documentary film “Your Hundred Year Life”; #177 on Dr Cassie Holmes about rearranging how you spend your time to make yourself happier; and #178 on the notion that you don’t actually need a Big-P Purpose in your life, although if you have one it motivates you and gives meaning to your life; but it’s also possible to be very happy with little-p purposes.
The one unclassified post was #199, regarding an evaluation of the best pension systems around the world.
Perhaps this quick review will prompt you to take a look at a post that sounds interesting and intriguing, which you may have missed when it first came out.
I’ve just received the first notification of the Future of Aging Summit, which takes place in Toronto from May 15 to May 17, 2024. I’ll do anything for my friend Dr Theo Kocken, as I admire him so much, and he invited me to participate with him in a break-out session from 2 to 3 pm on May 16 on re-thinking retirement policies. Of course, his documentary “Your Hundred Year Life” will be screened at the Summit, at 7 pm on May 15, followed by a discussion with Theo. If you’re planning to be in the Toronto area then, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
For your convenience if you’ve ever tried to identify a post from the past and didn’t have a way to locate it – and certainly for my own convenience, as I’ve encountered precisely that problem – from now on I’ll end each year with an updated index of all posts to the end of the year. The first one will be numbered #200 (convenient to remember!) and it’ll contain an index of all the posts up to the end of 2023.
It’ll be arranged under these headings:
Prologue (what you should know before you start reading the posts)
Happiness and the Psychology of Life Two (my name for what retirement used to be called)
Freedom, Time, Happiness (the free book shown on the top line of the website)
Podcasts (also available on the top line of the website)
At the end of each year in the future, I’ll update the index to the end of that year, and the new index will always have a number divisible by 25: so, after #200, the next update will be #225, then #250, and so on. I hope the numbers folk among you will find that convenient. And that’s right, at this stage I have no end in sight.
I hope you find the index a time-saver – and a space-saver for those who collect the posts in a file, as some of you have told me you do.
Bye until 2024 – and once again, thanks for giving me a sense of purpose with this blog!
I have written about retirement planning before and some of that material also relates to topics or issues that are being discussed here. Where relevant I draw on material from three sources: The Retirement Plan Solution (co-authored with Bob Collie and Matt Smith, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009), my foreword to Someday Rich (by Timothy Noonan and Matt Smith, also published by Wiley, 2012), and my occasional column The Art of Investment in the FT Money supplement of The Financial Times, published in the UK. I am grateful to the other authors and to The Financial Times for permission to use the material here.