Birthdays aren't just all about the cake and gifts. DailyWorth shares a few ways why getting older isn't such a bad thing.
Look Forward to the Future
What’s so great about getting older? A lot, if you asked Betty Friedan: “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Just think about what’s still waiting for you: wisdom that only comes from experience, less daily stress and anxiety, and a greater appreciation of your family and friends, to name a few. And while the media plays up youth as our best years, scientists are finding that there are a lot of great reasons to look forward to our 50s and beyond. What exactly? Read on.
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If another birthday gets you down, think like an octogenarian instead. They’re actually happier than the average teenager. According to a major University of Chicago study published in The American Sociological Review, those at the ripe old age of 80 had more than a 50 percent chance of rating themselves happy. Meanwhile, barely 33 percent of 18-year-olds could say they feel the same way.
This research came from the “gold standard” of happiness data, the General Social Survey (GSS) of the National Opinion Research Center that’s been asked of participants since 1972. The possible reason for this burst of elation? Maturity breeds contentment, suggests the scientists. Other studies reinforce this. Stress and anger diminish steadily once people hit 50, too, found research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
We Make Better Decisions (About Our Money, Too)
There’s not much question that wisdom comes with age when it comes to making financial decisions. But that was confirmed by a 2009 study published by the Brookings Institution, which found those between the ages of 43 and 63 "are really in their cognitive sweet spot," according to Harvard professor and study coauthor David Laibson, especially when it comes to avoiding money mistakes. A more recent study has gone even further to dispel myths about the elderly and decision making.
I only need to watch my grandfather whip me at poker to believe this study from MetLife. In the first study of its kind to try to identify the specific types of cognitive decisions seniors make, scientists found the brains of those in their 70s were just as good at making sound strategic decisions as those decades young — a skill, said MetLife, that suggests we’ll be able to make smart financial planning decisions well into our old age.