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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Sixty is Just a (REALLY BIG) Number

How did this happen?  Yes, I know:  it's just a number, you're as young as you feel, we look so much younger than our parents did at 60, yada yada. But it feels like a REALLY BIG number.

And of course, it's better than the alternative, and I do, in fact, have my health (NOT taking that for granted, it's a cliche for a good reason).

I have absolutely no complaints: I am healthy, our kids turned out to be pretty amusing and wonderful people (who live elsewhere and don't ask us for money!) We have our first grandchild (I HIGHLY recommend it!) I'm not working that hard at a job that I really enjoy. My husband is healthy and we have flexible schedules that allow us to take off pretty much whenever we like - and we do.

So what's so bad about 60?

I often joke (kind of) about when I will get my face lift or other "work done", but I struggle with a) fear of the pain that is involved, b) tempting fate with elective surgery, c) reconciling that vanity will have won out and d) associating the cost with the number of months we can rent in FL in the winter. It's easy to decide to age gracefully before you actually look old. In our 40's and 50's, things haven't gone too far south yet.  We spent a lot of time fearing wrinkles: the mirror tells me that wrinkles are not the problem - sagging skin and disappearing eyebrows are today's culprit. What's graceful about that?

Sixty just sounds so old.

In the words of a friend who just turned 60, we should be focusing on the positive. Since this is supposed to be about Biz Tips, I'll pivot to the professional. This is one description I've heard about the life-cycle of a career:

1.  Who's Joe Smith?
2.  We gotta get Joe Smith!
3.  Get me a younger Joe Smith!
4.  Who's Joe Smith?

Professionally, people are still hiring me to run their social media and provide content. I've realized that these client appreciate a certain, um, maturity that can only come with age and experience. A friend from grade school (!) is a web designer who also finds that clients still appreciate the expertise she brings to a project - that's hard to get without putting in the years.

Many former clients are able to retire from their corporate jobs and find or create a job that is more fulfilling. While I have some friends who out-right retire, many more are reinventing. They find that they have time to volunteer, or are in a position to take a serious pay cut in order to do what they love. Honestly, it's a great position to be in. I'm able to contract with companies that interest me, with client contacts that I like and who pay their bills on time!

I've asked many 60+ friends for advice to offer and this seems to be the message to Millennials and younger: live well below your means and save your money! That is the factor that will determine how flexible you can be as you get older. You can only afford to quit your high-paying job for a job that you love IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT.  You can certainly make changes in your lifestyle to accommodate a lower income but money is the thing that provides the means to write your next chapter.

So here's to a fulfilling next chapter to all of you in your 60's and beyond!

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