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I’ve always said that financially you must plan to live forever. Most of us won’t live as long or as comfortably as we could because of stupid things we did or the good things we didn’t do when we were younger. Here are some of them –

But first, the context. I am 75 years old. I guess that on average, I meet one new person a day at my offices, where I consult at no charge. It is guaranteed that anyone over 60 looks and acts older than me, so I guess I’ve earned the right to give you an ear bashing! 

1) When I was a kid, my mum was always saying “Sit up straight!”, but she never told me why, so I didn’t. Now, if only young people would realise the importance of good posture (sitting with a straight back and not slumped), then they would not end up like the vast majority of older people (me included) with back problems.

2) Don’t smoke.

3) Minimise your sugar intake.

4) At the age of 50 all men should have a regular colonoscopy and prostate examination. Those colon cancer polyps grow slowly, but if you leave them, you’re dead.

5) All women over 40 should have an annual mamogram. My wife died from brain tumors that started with breast cancer.

6) Take care of your appearance from an early age. Skin care, hair care, oral hygiene. Make sure you like what you see in the mirror.

7) Exercise – ya, ya, ya. We all know how important it is, but tomorrow is another day. The trick is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy, because if it is a chore, you won’t do it (despite all your New Year resolutions). There’s walking, yoga, boxing (not the real thing but the stuff you do with a presonal trainer), cardio machines, weight training, swimming, football etc. etc. Find something that suits you and do it. We have dumbells, bench, roll out wheel, yoga ball and elliptical at home. A personal trainer comes three times a week and Helen and I train together. It’s fun (mostly) and because he’s coming, we don’t find excuses not to train.

8) Exercise your brain. I could say be like us and chuck out your television, but doubt that any of you would take that piece of advice. The neuron connections in the brain deteriorate as you get older. Mental exercise helps rebuild them, television doesn’t. Sudoku, soroban, chess, crosswords, take courses on anything that interests you (language, sewing, painting, birding, digital marketing – the list is endless).

9) Associate with younger people. Identify with them so that you don’t become a dinosour.

10) And don’t retire unless you have to!

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