It's a Good Time To Be Aging

Last Updated Mar 4, 2010 5:34 PM EST

There's no doubt that Baby Boomers face significant retirement challenges--the recent market meltdown, inadequate financial resources for most older workers, the decline of traditional retirement plans, and stress on Social Security and Medicare, to name just a few. In spite of these challenges, I still believe it's a good time to be aging.

There's plenty of scientific and medical research that shows us what we can do to improve our health and live to a ripe old age. Many long-term studies have been completed in recent years that demonstrate the significant health benefits of exercise, proper nutrition, and a robust social life. And there are plenty of well-written books out there that explain the research. Here are my favorites:

There are also many robust, efficient financial products and services available, such as 401(k) plans and mutual funds. Online retirement planners are available for no charge; a few of my favorites are Fidelity's Retirement Income Planner and Choose to Save's Ballpark E$timate. And it's much easier to shop for the best products, using such websites as for mutual funds, for immediate annuities, and for health insurance.

In addition, social research has shown what makes us happy and gives us meaning, particularly in our later years. These findings are explained in such popular books as:

There are also plenty of robust nonprofit organizations available that advocate for seniors and provide helpful resources, including AARP and local Area Agencies on Aging.

And all of these resources are at our fingertips because of the Internet. None of the above resources were available to our parents' generation, so we've got a tremendous head start. It's just up to us to make the best of what we've got. What are you waiting for?

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    Steve Vernon helped large employers design and manage their retirement programs for more than 35 years as a consulting actuary. Now he's a research scholar for the Stanford Center on Longevity, where he helps collect, direct and disseminate research that will improve the financial security of seniors. He's also president of Rest-of-Life Communications, delivers retirement planning workshops and authored Money for Life: Turn Your IRA and 401(k) Into a Lifetime Retirement Paycheck and Recession-Proof Your Retirement Years.