Risk

Conventional wisdom has it that risk aversion rises with age. This statement seems both empirically and theoretically reasonable, but let’s investigate further.

First I think of financial risk. There in retirement, where there is no prospect to gain income and top up a retirement account balance, it may be quite reasonable to become intolerant to investment risk.

Second, wounds and scratches take longer to heal in older age. How sad. However, that may sensibly discourage older people from skateboarding and rollerblading. Not only that; but as reflexes slow, along with our reaction time to the unexpected, there is again more reason for caution. Besides falling on your backside becomes less elegant the older we get. It’s that status thing.

The moral of this piece is that as we move into retirement we need to be aware of, and I say avoid, what I call acronymically SAHS or Stay at Home Syndrome.

In other words, even though there are reasons to become risk averse as we age, this is a trap to avoid. I say that we need to keep experimenting in retirement in order to secure our personal meaning. To experiment requires that we take risks, measured perhaps, but still risks.

Retirement: You won’t know what it is like until you get there.