Has Covid thrown you off-course? Who do you know that has been most affected?
As I look around my world, surveying my clients, friends, and family, I am struck by the psychological toll the pandemic has taken and continues to take especially on retirees and teenagers, and as I have thought about it, retirees and teens have a lot in common.
My 17-year-old daughter and 18-year-old son are on the edge of building their own identities separate from just the family, friends, and school. Likewise, retirees are building new identities outside of their previous work identity. Both teens and retirees need new friends, interests, and time outside the confines of home to enjoy and experience. It’s a critical window for both age groups to grow and expand their sense of self and thinking.
Doing new things, meeting new people, and having new experiences is an essential ingredient of the teen years and retirement. It helps keep people healthy; mentally and physically.
My clients who had just retired immediately prior to the pandemic have seemed to weather lock-down a bit better than my established retirees who have been out and about in the retirement world for a year or more. It seemed like a lot of the fresh retirees took the pandemic as an opportunity to clear out the clutter, organize, and like everyone, catch up on TV shows they could never watch in their working years. It took a little longer for the doldrums of ‘what now’ to set in.
The established retiree who has hobbies, meets with friends, goes to events, eats out – in my estimation suffered the most, and for a few, they seem now reluctant to go back outside. Not just because of the lingering problems with Covid transmission and Delta, but also, they sort of lost momentum. I think some of them became just plain depressed, and now it’s hard to shake it off.
My younger teens at home, who are 13 and 15, didn’t suffer as much. They played games online with friends, baked, discovered Japanese anime. The older kids had a brand new life full of fragile relationships taken away. It’s hard to be an older teenager, but now it seems even harder to overcome the inertia of being on lockdown. Like the retire, it seems teens are having a little bit of a delay in putting down the phone and going out in person.
Why does this matter – because happiness is one of the most important elements of health. Being engaged and active keeps people involved and growing. Losing connections and momentum impacts everything – even financially.
It’s like exercise, sometimes you don’t want to do it, and sometimes you need to accommodate a changing situation, but what’s important is not giving up on staying engaged. It’s good for mental and physical health, which is always good for the long-term financial plan.