20 Jun Senior Myths That Lead To Disaster
Senior Myths That Lead To Disaster
Life can be difficult to plan for and it often does not turn out as we would expect. We often feel disconnected from our future selves and put off making critical plans for the future. Many people put off estate planning and addressing difficult issues of how they wish to be cared for in their elder years. Some seniors, unfortunately, take the stance of, “When I need your help, I’ll let you know.”
Thinking we can postpone planning and will know when we need help is a dangerous myth to believe in. In most cases when we reach the point where we need help we are often unaware or unable to ask for it and we suffer as a result of not planning ahead. Failing to plan for our elder years often leads to tragic consequences. It is vitally important that we do not succumb to myths about what life will be like in our elder years and put off putting a plan in place today that could help us in the future.
Senior Myths That Could Lead To Disaster
1. When I need your help I’ll let you know.
2. I will live in my own home until I die.
3. When I am old, ill, and dying, my family will take care of me.
4. When I can no longer manage my money and financial affairs, a trusted person will handle my finances.
5. I don’t want or need to do any estate planning or write a will because my family will sort it all out when I die.
Why Is It So Difficult To Plan for the Future?
One of the things that make humans unique is our ability to visualize and shape our futures. We try to look at our present reality and experiences and project that into a future reality. Unfortunately, there is bad news for all of us when it comes to planning for the future. We are really bad at it. We often cannot simply see dangers ahead and have a difficult time confronting difficult things in our present moment.
“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations if you live near him.” -J.R.R Tolkien in “The Hobbit”
How can we avoid dangerous myths and plan for our future?
Close The Mental Gap Between Your Present Self and Future Self
One of the biggest reasons we struggle to plan for the future is because we feel disconnected from our future selves. Hal Hershfield, a marketing professor at UCLA researched how being disconnected from our future selves affected how we save money in the present. In one experiment Hershfield discovered that people were likely to save sooner and save more if they were shown a digitally aged photo of themselves. When we close the gap between our future and present selves we can begin to make better decisions and plan ahead.
Take a moment today to try to visualize what your future might be like or help a loved one try to connect the dots and think about what life might be like in the future. The more we can connect the future to the present the more likely we will be to take action today.
Be willing to push through a little pain today to avoid more pain tomorrow.
Our biggest weakness when it comes to future planning as humans are our propensity to always push pain and uncomfortable tasks to the future. In an odd experiment by Princeton psychologist Emily Pronin, students thought they were participating in a study about disgust. Participants were asked to drink a gross liquid for the good of science. Those who were signed up to drink the liquid that day volunteered to consume only two tablespoons, on average. However, those who were signed up to drink the liquid next semester volunteered to drink half a cup on average. It seems that pain and discomfort is a bitter pill that we always opt for our future selves to swallow.
It may be a little uncomfortable to start thinking about estate planning or pick up the phone to call a legal professional to set up an appointment. It may be uncomfortable to bring up the topic with someone you care about. However facing discomfort and inconvenience now can help avoid an enormous amount of pain, disappointment in the future.
Don’t fall for any of these senior myths, start planning today for yourself and for those you care about.