Category Archives: Retirement for women

Menopause Cure

For ages women have been told that menopause is normal and to just accept it. If you are asking me to “just accept” hot flashes, insomnia, getting fat, depression, and loss of my sex drive, that sounds crazy and I’ll never be passive about it. That advice sounds so archaic and dark ages now.

The Menopause Cure(1) takes individualized and restorative medicine to a new level.  There is nothing new about replacement therapies for age related deficiencies. The key question is it effectiveness and toxicity. They distinguish between bioidentical verses synthetic hormones.

Since 1942,  women have been given Premarin which is horse estrogen taken from their urine. The problem with this and other synthetic hormones is they leave toxic byproducts in your body. Bioidentical means that natural hormones are identified and matched with your individual hormone profile. A one size fits all model doesn’t work since all blood profiles are unique.

In an interview(2), the author discusses how skin related changes occur in menopause. Loss of estrogen makes the skin more wrinkled and thiner with easier bruising and slower healing.

Weight gain is another unwanted side effect of menopause. If your insulin is high with low estrogens and poor thyroid performance, you won’t be able to lose weight.  The body will not metabolize food correctly so that fat is burned as energy.

When your libido or sex drive falls, it can effect  your relationship or your motivation to find one.  Many retired folks live in isolation and depression as a result. The social and psychological effects can be long lasting and detrimental . For this to be re-balanced, supplements would include progesterone, testosterone as well as  estrogens.

In conclusion, the final point the author makes is that most chronic and age related illnesses are correlated with hormonal imbalances. It is thought that the aging process can be slowed when optimal levels of hormones, vitamins and minerals are restored. The process involves blood analysis to determine what your individual needs are.  So, rather than suffer symptoms, lets go get restored!

By Lee Johnson of creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Davey, J., Dugan, S. “The Menopause Cure” Leicester, UK, Troubadour Publishing Ltd, 2015                                                                                                                                    (2) Mathena, L. “The Menopause Cure, Hormonal Health” Life Extension Mag, Vol 22, No. 7, July 2016

Pet Ownership Health Benefits

Pet ownership offers a surprising range of health benefits. Most of us have heard of the pet therapy programs in many hospitals because pets help patients recover faster on less medication. The hospital program is a big success because patients return home sooner, the cost is less, and they’re happier and healthier overall.

The unconditional love provided by a pet is fairly rare in life and has proven to reduce anxiety and depression.  Pets offer companionship that reduces boredom and isolation especially for those residing alone.  This emotional benefit has been scientifically proven to improve our physical health in a number of different areas. Here are health results from a pet study(1).

CARDIOVASCULAR IMPROVEMENT: Dogs and cats provide similar benefits. A study found that, “If you have a cat, you’re 30% less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40% less likely to have a stroke.”(1)

BLOOD PRESSURE: So many people are on hypertension medications so early in life. We need to find a better method to control this. The comfort of a pet actually lowers blood pressure and makes the biggest difference if blood pressure is already elevated.

IMMUNITY AND ALLERGIES: Having a pet as a child can reduce allergies and increase immunity. Children raised on farms don’t have allergies, have less illnesses, and attend school more often on average.

DECREASES STRESS: A study gave people a stressful task and found they experienced less distress when with their pets. This relaxation response was better when compared to being with a family, spouse or friends. Pets can reduce stress more than our own spouse or best friend!

PAIN MANAGEMENT: A study in hospitals revealed that surgery patients need less pain medication and recover faster when pets are present. Pets can reduce migraine and arthritis pain as well.

IMPROVED MOOD: A decrease in a range depressive symptoms has been noted. It’s most likely from the unconditional love and companionship pets provide. Pet contact releases endorphins that have a pain killing and mood increasing effect.

EMOTIONAL  DEVELOPMENT: Caring for a pet, especially when young, enables better social skills and a sense of responsibility. Pets even increase literacy skills and self-confidence in children.

SOCIAL BENEFIT: It’s not a surprise that studies show dog owners are better socially connected and friendlier than non-owners.  Taking your dog for a walk twice a day is a form of social networking.

MAY LOWER CHOLESTEROL: Pet owners have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels on average. The causal relationship is still being explored.

If you are already a pet owner, then you are taking care of your health. If you’re considering getting a pet, be sure you have the minimum time available to spend. Each type of pet needs a certain amount of attention because pets can get lonely and depressed too. For those retiring alone, I believe having a pet is an essential relationship for happiness and longevity.  I’ve personally had pets since I was a child and I’ve always enjoyed the special supportive relationship they offer.       L. Johnson       http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Gekas, A. 2-28-11 10. Benefits of Owing a Pet. Retrieved from: womansday.com/life/pet-care/a2352/10-health-benefits-of-owning-a-pet-116238/

Retiring as a Single Woman

Retiring as a single woman is much less daunting than in prior generations. Part of the reason is that it’s now widespread and socially acceptable. Various studies report that between 40 and 50 percent of women will be single in retirement. Not all of these will be by choice, but it’s still a fact of life. This article will address those women who are considering a single lifestyle and if it’s suitable for their personality.

Most women desire independence, but don’t want to be disconnected from people. This balance is easier to achieve when your social network of friends and family is well developed and local. I believe that it’s not only culturally acceptable to retire single, but it can be more rewarding. This is because single women often have a much broader social network than men and many married women. A recently divorced woman in her 50s told me that her husband was so unfriendly to her friends, they stopped visiting. Her network gradually disappeared and stayed that way for many years. After her divorce, her social recovery involved many more friends and she has social engagements any night of the week. She is more socially connected now than when married.

When a man is not in your life, you’re freer to do what you enjoy and what benefits you the most. Some of you may think that means doing more things alone. But, there is nothing wrong with doing things alone while you always have your social network to fall back on. So, part of retiring alone is that you must be the first one to accept and want it. If this is a calculated decision based on proper planning, you’ll feel more confident and energized to embrace it.

The chances are that as your network develops, you will be doing less and less alone. Our goal is to always stay connected to the friends and family of our choice. A boyfriend can be part of this network whether its casual or more serious. I’m not suggesting celibacy unless that is your conscience decision. I’m suggesting an independent life that you control and decide when to bond or not bond with the opposite gender. There is no pressure to preform or follow the expectations of others unless you choose to do so. If you are dating or in a relationship, you can explain your independence to your partner as a form of freedom afforded to you both.

Single women I know that are successful at networking, claim they are happy not dating and don’t feel they miss anything. So, I can personally verify that happy and successful adjustments can be made. That being said, being single is not for everyone. Whether you are an introvert(internally focused) or extrovert may matter. Since these types may be genetic and hard wired into your brain, you might want to see where you fit. Most of us know which type we are. If you are an introvert, you enjoy spending time alone and tend not to miss people. So, this lifestyle may be more suitable for the introvert who enjoys more solitude.

If you are thinking about taking the single path in retirement, look into you past first. How happy have you been on your own? Do you tend to get lonely when not around people? Does a lot of social contact exhaust you? It’s just about understand your social needs. If you have a history of doing well with solitude and don’t miss social contact, this might be for you. If so, the better developed your retirement plan is, the more enjoyment you’ll get out of it.

In conclusion, retiring single is completely acceptable and a viable option for women. A well developed social network provides the mental stimulation and emotional support needed. Having a boyfriend is just part of the network. Being introverted makes this lifestyle easier to adapt to. Women I know who make this adjustment, feel they have a happy and complete life.

I’ve always felt that the best retirement is based on your personality type. What society or past generations did has nothing to do with you because they don’t have your unique character. So, embracing independence in retirement is a personal decision based on prior success with independent living and your social predisposition.       L. Johnson    

More: http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

DIARY WRITING IMPROVES HEALTH

Many people may be surprised that diary writing improves health. The strength of this mental health technique of venting has actually proven to extend into physical health. We all need a private place of safety to complain, explain, recant, or just express our deepest darkest thoughts and emotions without being judged or embarrassed.

The very first benefit is a sense of safety and privacy not afforded to us in other arenas. We know in this digital age, there is not much that is really safe or private. In your diary or journal, you can say anything you want without fears of rejection, misunderstanding, regret, or political incorrectness. This is the one place where you can always be yourself.

A journal is your sanctuary from the stress and demands of a hectic and profit oriented environment. Journaling is about the relationship you have with yourself. That is, your thoughts and feelings are vitally important to your self-esteem and sense of well being. We all have some secret thoughts or experiences we won’t tell even the people we trust. If it’s not expressed, our negative feelings stay inside and tend to fester(repression).

This primary psychological benefit is called “catharsis” which just means a release of emotions. This release lowers the tension and anxiety surrounding the past feeling or experience. If you ever visited a psychotherapist, the type of conversation you have was designed for this. Writing about emotions in an abstract sense has proven to be more beneficial than verbalizing them which tends to aggravate past trauma instead.

In terms of physical improvements, studies show that this exercise strengthens the immune system by increasing T-lymphocytes. Some studies show it helps with pain management, fatigue, lowers blood pressure and even helps depression. It’s stress reduction benefit decreases arthritis, insomnia, asthma symptoms, and other chronic conditions. So, there actually is a physical health improvement since mental health extend into the body. This physical result is similar to that derived from meditation, progressive relaxation, or other stress reduction techniques. That’s because serotonin and endorphins are released which are mood elevators and pain killers. Except, in this case, you also solidify your thoughts and feelings.

Many of us had a diary as a child, but have given it up with the demands of mid-life. Well, it’s never too late to start or re-start. Writing about 3 times a week for 15 minutes is a good place to begin. Hand writing is a better form of expression than typing. You can write about the past, present or future, but don’t get stuck in the past. In my diary, I even say goodbye and write about people who have passed away and how I feel about that. So, this is a practice in taking care of yourself while appreciating and understanding life as it unfolds.           L. Johnson                More at:   http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Common Worries of Women

The common worries of women may be a result of uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck there.  Once you’re aware of the cause of your particular worry, you’re on the path to resolve it. Here are the 7 most common worries(1)and what to do about it.

1. Will I end up alone? The article believes this most common of worries is senseless because we all have friends. Yes, but friends come and go and many women are referring to a partner. Anything you worry about is not senseless to you. Solution: social networking forever.

2. Do I look good? Appearance is always important no matter what stage of life. As we age, it may take a little more effort and we may have to adjust our standard. Solution: Take time to care and love yourself. The goal is not to look young, but to look healthy and fit regardless of age.

3. Will I succeed(in life)? We all have self-doubt at times and I find that some worry is motivational in this area. In the working world, our feeling of success must come from within as with many things. Solution: Don’t compare yourself to others. Set your own goals and focus on internal rewards not external symbols of success. Build your confidence with many small successes.

4. Does he like me? The article claims that if you are not worried about this, then something is wrong with you. I don’t agree that worry is the correct state of mind. This also stems from uncertainty that can be directly addressed. Solution: I believe this starts with liking and loving yourself. Relationships are complex by their nature and ongoing concern is natural. When you address the issues openly in your relationship, worry is replaced with awareness and understanding.

5. Can I afford it? We ask ourselves this most of our lives, even if you have money. That’s because it’s an inescapable reality. You will ask yourself this more often when retired or when on a fixed income. Solution: Learn more about money and investing by taking classes, joining an investment club, reading business sites, and talking to advisors. Be sure you have an eye toward advancement in your career.

6. How much longer(do I tolerate this)? This refers to being unhappy in your current situation. We all feel in a rut at times, but if you’re really unhappy, you probably need to change something. Solution: If it’s a relationship, you open up the problem solving discussion or consider counseling. If its life in general, then you want to re-write you life goals. There is nothing wrong with changing direction in midlife. Follow your passions and what’s right for you.

7. Am I healthy enough? Questioning our health is always a good idea. We tend to ask ourselves this more as we age. We all know that the difficult part is making healthy changes that stick. Solution: Our goal is not to just be on a diet, but to develop a healthy lifestyle that becomes part of our routine. Two other posts address this: How to Eat Less: http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/eat-less/ and Exercises for Women over 50 http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/exercises-for-women-over-50/

In conclusion, I’ll quote Abraham Lincoln “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I do believe that happiness is a mind set, a frame of reference. So, lets set our mind today to smile when we have a worry and laugh when we make a mistake. Maybe we can’t change the past, but we can certainly feel better about it. Carpe Diem.   L. Johnson  of  www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1) Riordan, H.(no date) “7 Common Things Women Worry About.” allwomenstalk. Retrieved on 6-03-2015 from: http://lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com/common-things-women-worry-about

When to Start Social Security

WHEN TO START SOCIAL SECURITY

When to start social security for women is based on different factors than men. It’s also a very individual decision based on your circumstances. Your starting age actually depends on a number of different financial and personal factors.  Women need a smarter plan to stretch their incomes and benefits through a longer and more expensive retirement. ( http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/11-ways-female-retirment-different/.)

We are all aware of the three major starting points to begin Social Security, 62, 66 or 70 years old. We are aware that taking benefits at 62 reduces it about 25% compared to 66. Taking benefits at 70 increases our amount by about 25% compared to 66 years old. Here is an example.

62 years = $1125 / month             $13,500 / year
66 years = $1500                            $18,000
70 years = $1875                            $22,500

When examining these numbers, it’s clear that the best situation is to collect the most on a permanent basis. But, you would receive it for less years.

Reasons to start at 62: The primary reason is that you need the money to live on.

1. You’re unemployed and it’s difficult getting hired.
2. You’re working part-time or your income is below $20,000
3. Your health is poor and you are unable to generate much income.
4. You don’t have longevity in you family history.
5. You are trying to minimize your long term taxation.
6. You’re starting an early spousal benefit before switching at 70

The first three examples are based on your current financial need. If your family longevity is short, taking benefits early makes sense. Since Social Security is subject to taxation, taking a lower benefit results in less taxation when combined with your other income. This makes sense if your other incomes are over $20,000. Your combined income for taxation when receiving Social Security is= 1) your AGI or adjusted gross income + 2)non-taxable interest(now taxable) + 3) half of your benefits. Let’s take a look at this example:

Adjusted Gross Income            $12,000
Tax-exempt interest                  $ 8,000
Half of Soc. Sec. benefits         $ 6,750

This total is $26,750 while your taxes begin at $25,000 if single. So, if you are making $20,000 a year or more, getting more social security will mean more taxation. The days of receiving tax free municipal bond dividends are over.

As a spouse, you are entitled to social security at 62 years old even if you never worked. You just have to be married for 10 years at some point and you can be divorced now. You can collect half of his benefits without any loss to him. You simply have your partner apply for social security and suspend his payments until 70. This allows you to receive you spousal benefits at 62 and start your own benefits at 70 when it’s higher.

Reasons to start at 70:
1. You are able to work full time with a decent income until 70
2. You need to lock in the highest benefit to maintain your lifestyle
3. You don’t have a big savings or multiple income streams
4. You are healthy and have longevity in your family
5. You want to collect the 8% a year by waiting
6. You will receive a greater cost of living increase

Due to the greater longevity and other expenses of women, most should wait until 70 years old to collect benefits. The key reason for most of us to wait is that we haven’t saved enough. Working longer not only increases your income, but also pays more into social security that increases your benefits. Your benefits increase about 8%(past full retirement age) a year by waiting. Many people consider that a good return on your money. The cost of living increase is a percentage, so the larger your benefit, the larger the increase in dollar terms.

In conclusion, I believe most people would receive the greatest benefits by waiting until 70 years old to collect. To get maximum benefit, take half of the spousal benefit at 62 and your full benefit at 70. If you fit into one of the reason to start early, then don’t be bashful about taking advantage. But, try to wait as long as possible. L.J.

More at: www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Dating in Retirement

DATING IN RETIREMENT (Part 1)

Our need to emotionally bond does not change with aging as some have suggested. We will evaluate for different character traits when dating in retirement. But, the course of romance remains the same. I have talked to many women who, for various reasons, have given up on trying to find another mate. Some women don’t feel attractive or interested in men anymore, and some say they don’t want the trouble of a man. I can understand these reasons very well.

My sister is 58 years old and has been divorced for about 12 years now. But, she won’t date. She finally told me she just lost interest in sex. I know she wants companionship as she has a male friend whom she see every weekend. So, the need to bond with the opposite gender remains healthy and intact. She was a little surprised when I mention that males loose testosterone as their sex drive diminishes too. But, that still didn’t get her to date as she said, “Who wants to date an old lady like me?”

Maintaining a positive self image is important at any stage in life. As our bodies change, its common for both genders to be concerned about our self-confidence. But, we have all been rejected numerous times in life and we survived it. Remember not to let a prior difficult relationship cloud your judgment about moving forward to a better one. It’s probably the men who are more prone to being rejected since they initiate contact and ask for a date.

I checked with my female consultants who confirmed a few suggestions regarding confidence. The first is to always look your best. Men are very visual beings, as we all know, and they often go with first impressions. That means they take your entire appearance into consideration. Since looking attractive is important, dying your hair and wearing stylish attire are efforts you can easily make according to my group.

The second suggestion is to look available and, if you’re comfortable with the idea, even sexy. Many of us have lost our connection to intimacy. But, it’s time to reconnect. If you think you can’t look attractive over 60 years old, have you seen photos of Connie Stevens, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, Glenn Close, Goldie Hawn or Martha Stewart lately? Just being healthy is attractive at any age.

The third suggestion we all agreed upon is to try online dating. If your social circle is smaller in retirement, you need to be a bit more creative. Online dating narrows the field to people who are interested in a relationship and you don’t have to leave the house. It gives you the opportunity to browse the profiles of others anonymously. In this scenario, there is certainly no risk to you as you evaluate the possibilities in the safety of your home. I seen some reports that say up to 25% of new relationships are found online.

The fourth recommendation is the importance of displaying a positive attitude. No matter what happened in the past, we will make the future brighter. I personally like to use positive affirmations and imagery. Before I meet somebody for any reason, I close my eyes and visualize how the meeting will go. If it’s business, I envision a successful agreement. If it’s personal, I expect a successful connection. It’s amazing how behavior follows mental imagery. I started using guided imagery after reading Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.

If there is still resistance to dating at our age, I sometimes ask the question, “Do you want to grow old and die alone?” It’s a blunt somewhat rhetorical question meant to be provocative. But, it gets people thinking more practically about the future of their social health. I would say that having a partner in retirement is more important than in midlife, since this relationship becomes the primary social support for many. Most of us will have medical procedures that require some help during recovery. Imagine if you became disabled for some reason, what would that be like without a partner who loves you?

In the next installment of Dating in Retirement, I’ll address the impact of reduced libido and the different character traits we now look for in a partner. L.J.

More at:      www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Photo by Ambro. Published on 11 May 2011
Stock Photo – Image ID: 10041092

WOMEN’S SUCCESS = ROLE REVERSALS

WOMEN’S SUCCESS = GENDER ROLE REVERSALS

According to the Census Bureau(1), 685,000 men and 916,000 women graduated from college in 2009. That is 25% fewer men than women that graduate. In 2010, about 47% of the workforce was women. As women become the doctors, attorneys, and CEOs, the social culture around us will change. Since this educational trend is expected to continue, it will result in a gender role reversal as men realize the earning power of women. As women earn more and spend more time with careers, men will naturally take on more of the domestic responsibilities.

The result is a female culture that is moving forward by making society more humanitarian and less male oriented. Women infuse a more a compassionate and supportive role in relationships. Men tend to be a more business or task oriented. This transition has been going on for years, of course, but should reach a turning point as women surpass men as the primary household breadwinners.

Expect some male resistance to this re-balancing of leadership. Men have a long history of feeling dominant over women in the working world as evidenced by the existing wage gap and glass ceiling . Men have enjoyed a social culture that has rewarded them first. But, all cultures evolve based on survival needs and better social equality and understanding. This evolution is based on the practical needs of survival for the family unit.

As this male resistance occurs, women can explain that this change increases the security of the family unit financially and socially. Also, the male can now improve their relationships with their children and form a deeper bonds with increased time at home. To counter any resistance, men are more likely to enjoy domestic life with a little encouragement from you. You simply explain the benefits: no getting up early, no fighting traffic, no boss watching over you, no social pecking order to fit into, and no constant anxiety to perform better. That’s a lot of benefits just by staying home!

This natural social evolution is a win for both genders. The woman can more easily achieve her occupational and financial dreams, but still be involved at home at key times. The man will realize his deeper needs for bonding and care-taking in general and feel more connected to his family. Men will adjust and embrace this reality, albeit, slowly. I expect our relationships with our partner will improve since equality is a better balance for cooperation and stability going forward. L.. Johnson   More at: www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)http://cnsnews.com/sites/default/files/documents/DEGREES%20EARNED%20BY%20LEVEL%20AND%20SEX.pdf                                                                                                                                       Photo: UNE photos on flickr(CC by 2.0)

Do Women Need a Female Financial Advisor?

Do Women Need a Female Financial Advisor?

Would it surprise you if I told you that women are better money managers than men? It starts with a different relationship with money. Women do not view money as the ultimate goal, tend not to flaunt it with objects that are symbolic of success, and don’t involve it in their identity to the extent as men. Becoming a millionaire is usually not the final accomplishment and stopping point for women. Instead, money is a tool that enables women to enjoy the benefits and freedoms of life.

As a stockbroker, it became clear to me that women are more careful and thoughtful about risking their money. They are not trying to hit a home run in the market, but look for stability and safety in an investment. “How safe is this,” was the most common question and should be asked at every turn. So, most women tend to have a similar relationship with money.

Since men just view money differently, their risker mind-set interferes with the core money relationship women have. But, what bothered me the most about being a stockbroker, is that women were treated differently and even inferior by other men. It was not uncommon to see a male broker talk to only the man when a couple came in for advice. I understand that it is a male dominated field, but there is no excuse for this behavior.

In retirement, low risk investing is not only practical, its essential because you don’t have time to start over. A study(1) found that female hedge fund managers out-preformed men by 6% over a nine-month period in 2012. A hedge fund, originally named to hedge against market losses, has evolved. Now it is a managed fund(not indexed) that is less regulated in terms of using leverage. Using leverage dramatically increases investor risk.

This study points out four primary differences. 1. Women are less competitive and less preoccupied with beating an index. 2. Women take fewer risks in the market as with other areas of life. 3. Women do more homework and stay in investments longer. 4. Women realize they are not in control. Realizing you are not in control of all factors gives women the perspective to not panic. Level heads will prevail.

So, women need a female financial advisor because:

1. Your relationship or how you view money is similar on an emotional level.
2. Safety and sustainability of your money is the priority, especially in retirement.
3. Female advisors tend to establish a more personal relationship with clients.
4. Women, with the same experience as men, are better investors on average.
5. There is a deeper sense of trust with another woman.

More at:       www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1) Sightings, T. (1-7-14) “4 ways women make better investors” money.msn.com. Retrieved on 2-28-14 from: money.msn.com/how-to-invest/4-ways-women-make-better-investor

Men are Risky, Study Confirms

Men are Risky, Study Confirms

The British Medical Journal(BMJ) has released a historical study that shows men are far more likely to engage in senseless high risk behaviors than women(1). They start out looking at the cause of past admissions to emergency rooms for the males. “Males are more likely to be admitted to an emergency department after accidental injuries, more likely to be admitted with a sporting injury, and more likely to be in a road traffic collision with a higher mortality rate.” These historical figures place male risk taking much higher than the females, suggesting the trait is inherited.

The authors discuss the possibility that these behaviors might be determined by social or cultural differences. But, since they noted that high risk behaviors of males are reported at an early age, they conclude that this may be genetic in origin. They site many studies to confirm this. However, they don’t discuss the differences within the males. I think that age and socioeconomic status might have some influence since poverty may be correlated with higher risk taking.

Their definition of idiotic risks are really senseless risks, “…where the apparent payoff is negligible or non-existent, and the outcome is often extremely negative and often final”. They also bring up something called “male idiot theory” based on the “the observation that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things “. They also note that alcohol consumption tends to exasperate this tendency in men.

Going to war certainly seems like an acceptable high risk endeavor with dire consequences. This is especially appealing to young men. One of the main reasons for this is young men are establishing their masculine identity or manhood. This group has an identity of toughness or strength rather than one of intelligence and caring. So, these other traits might help distinguish which group of men are more likely to take on higher risks.

In their discussion, the authors are at a loss to explain this difference between men and women. Besides forming a cultural masculine identity, I personally think the person is looking for purpose and meaning in their life.  As men age, the risky behavior tends to wane, but still remains. Going into retirement, some men find great boredom and re-emerge as risk takers with their money. This is another point in life where your purposes is undefined. Some men I know risk their life savings in an attempt to feel more engaged. As an ex-stockbroker, I’ve seen retired men lose over a million dollars in the market and return to prior employment to survive.

In conclusion, dangerous risk taking appears to peak as a teenager, but is often seen in the 20s as well. This is correlated with brain development that lessens over time. However, some people have greater risky traits throughout life. One solution is to become deeply engaged and busy with your life goals.  In retirement, if you’ve been intensely involved in a prior work environment, you need to carry this intensity into your next phase.  Without this involvement, boredom and anxiety occur leading to damaging risky behaviors to alleviate it. Everyone needs an engaging future plan to look forward to–be sure you have one.

L. Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)BMJ 2014;349:g7094 Retrieved from: http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7094 on 12-13-14.