Do you ever get together with your friends from high school and wonder why they all look so old? Are you surprised by the image that you see in the mirror each morning? If so, you’re not alone.

In today’s retirement headline segment, we’ll explore an article from Jennifer Senior at MSN.com that examines the abstract concept of feeling a different age in your head than you physically are in years.

Related to the retirement headline, today’s listener question is about how to understand when you are mentally ready to retire. Learn how important purpose is in your decision to retire.

Are you surprised by the image that you see in the mirror each morning? If so, you’re not alone. Share on X

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:02] Subjective age is feeling a different age in your head
  • [6:37] What can this teach us about retirement?
  • [8:50] Understanding the mental aspect of deciding when to retire

Your subjective age may be different than your actual age

The puzzling gap between how old you are and how old you think you are is actually an abstract concept known as subjective age. This can lead to disassociation from their actual age and can actually be a bit socially awkward. When you’re in your 50s and hanging out with 30-year-olds and they point out the age gap it can be mentally jarring.

Not everyone feels younger–there are some people who feel older than they are physically and actually reaching that physical age can be a relief.

One interesting aspect of the physical-mental age gap is that it varies on where you are from. Worldwide, people in Asia had less of a difference and people in Africa had the smallest mental-physical age gap. This could be due to economic factors or perhaps cultural differences.

Often people feel about 20% younger than their physical age. Share on X

What can this teach us about retirement?

There are several valuable insights we can glean from the article and apply to retirement planning.

  1. Retirement is not just about chronological age. Subjective age is even more important than chronological age.
  2. Retirement readiness is subjective just like your subjective age. Your subjective age may affect your perception of retirement readiness. If you feel younger, you may not feel emotionally ready to retire even if you are financially ready. On the other hand, if you feel older in your head, you may feel the need to retire earlier than expected. It’s essential to consider your subjective age and how it aligns with your retirement plans.
  3. Lifestyle and purpose matter. Retirement is not simply about stopping work. It’s also about transitioning into a new phase of life that offers meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. Your subjective age can influence your perspective on what you want to do in retirement. If you feel younger in your head, you may want to pursue hobbies, travel more, or engage in new activities. If you feel older in your head, you may prioritize health, family, or other forms of relaxation. Understanding your subjective age can help you align your retirement plans with your desired lifestyle and sense of purpose.
  4. Aging is a mindset: The concept of subjective age highlights that how we perceive ourselves as we age is subjective and can vary from person to person. It’s a reminder that aging is not just a physical process, but also a psychological one. Cultivating a positive mindset about aging, regardless of your chronological age, can lead to better retirement outcomes in terms of mental well-being, social engagement, and overall quality of life.

Listen in to learn how subjective age can affect your retirement readiness. Stick around for the listener question segment to hear how to know when you’re ready to retire.

Subjective age is even more important than chronological age. Share on X

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