Date: November 7, 2023   Updated: December 20, 2023
Life expectancy for the first world population is expected to be much
longer. Soon, people in developed countries can live up to 120 years
With medical advances, improved health maintenance, more nutritious food
and consciousness about health, human beings are living a longer life.
People in their 90s and beyond are very common now. Very soon, life
expectancy will be 120 years for an average person in the developed
But the most important question is - can we live meaningfully and
decently for that long, or be just surviving with a lot of difficulties
Leading a meaningful, decent life and just existing are two different
things. We are not even talking about enjoying life. At least we should
not be suffering, hating and regretting every minute of our existence.
We are not just talking about disability-free living. We are talking
about worry free, decent independent living with dignity. We need to be
able to take care of our basic essentials of life - shelter, food,
utilities and transportation without worry. And we need to be able to
perform our basic daily chores without having to count on, or beg for,
the mercy of others daily.
If it is just surviving for the purpose of surviving, there is no reason
to continue a journey of prolonged agony. A lot of people choose to
end their lives artificially and prematurely. Many people in their 90s,
abandoned by their families, jumped to their death out of frustration,
when they find that life becomes a torture, a curse and a punishment.
Assisted suicide or euthanasia is not allowed in most jurisdictions.
Even in countries where it is permitted, only the terminally ill are
given such choice. Not too many people can afford to go to Dignitas.
Ending suffering is not an easy task. No one wants to have to make such
a dreadful decision.
Longevity is enjoyable until it is not. It is important not to fall into
the trap of regrettable living at the end. As they said, 'the best you
can hope for, is to die in your sleep'. But not everybody is so lucky,
and jumping from a building to end a life is a horrible way to do it.
When things look smooth, we tend to be overly optimistic and naive about
life, when in fact a setback is always lurking around the dark corner.
It is pertinent to be prepared when we have the time and the means to do
so, especially when we are young, capable and energetic.
Self-sufficiency is the name of the game.
We must prepare when we are young and have the time and opportunity to
do so. If we wait until being too weak and out of luck to do it, then
it is too late
When a person ages, physical, emotional, cognitive, memory, and
reasoning capability will decline. No one can avoid that. And we don't
have much choice and control over it anyway. We are born with the body
we have. But we can avoid doing unnecessary damage to our body and try
our best to slow down the process. Avoiding dementia and a general
decline in cognitive and physical abilities is the most important duty
we have. Although we only have limited ability to do that, it is better
to work on it rather than ignore it. We owe it to ourselves to perform
this basic duty of life.
The most important thing is to make sure we are physically
and cognitively capable to manage things ourselves in our old age
This is the number one issue. If we suffer from physical, mental or
cognitive deficiency, then everything else is moot, and we are condemned
to be dependent on others.
[Watch out for your health and warning signs]
After mental and physical health, we can talk about financial well-being
and how to afford the basic necessities in our sunset years
As a person ages, the ability to generate income also diminished.
Being financially prepared is generally within our control if we are
lucky to have a reasonable background and born in a reasonable
Gen Z-ers have a raw deal. This is the generation who owns nothing.
During the baby boomers' time, getting a decent job and take out a loan
to buy a starter home is relatively easy and convenient. Nowadays, most
safe or cushy jobs are gone. They are replaced by automation, especially
those clerical types such as customer services, call centers and support
functions. Even minimum wage jobs like fast food ordering functions are
All that left are gig-economy jobs such as food delivery, warehouse
attendant or Uber driving. Perhaps being a professional social media
influencer or online troll is still available, if those jobs have not
already been taken over by AI.
Pensions are a thing of the past. They're all but disappeared. Most
boomers, and some lucky millennials, may still have it. Gen Z-ers
probably have never heard of it. All those good things which baby
boomers and millennials take for granted are gone.
[FREE Lunches are no more]
The only available strategy for Gen Z-ers is to be nice to their boomer
grandparents and millennial parents, uncles and aunts. When they die,
they will leave the properties behind. Otherwise, they will just give to
someone else they like better or charities. As a matter of fact, this is
the only advantage Gen Z-ers have over the previous generations, as few
boomers inherited properties from their parents.
[Manage your finances]
Beyond health and financial issues, the next item is emotional
After committing the whole life for the well-being of the family,
loneliness and empty nest feeling during the last part of life is a
difficult experience to endure. Don't let what you see on TV or social
media bother you. They are mostly lies and exaggeration. Don't be
jealous of others' good fortune, and live according to one's own schedule
Control one's mind and avoid comparison with others is one skill we must
learn to master. Feeling unfortunate, lonely and self-pity is a vicious
cycle that feeds on itself. Keeping up with the Jones-es is a source
of unnecessary pressure.
[Manage your Emotional Well Being]
Finally, we need to find a place where we can live a worry-free life
comfortably without excessive burden
When we are not bound by our jobs and the constraint of having to make a
living, we have the freedom to find a place where we can live
worry-free. A place where we don't need to fret about the car won't
start in the morning, oil changes, house heating and cooling, roof
cleaning and all kinds of insurance such as auto, home, and health
insurance. A place with few government intrusion and reporting
requirements. Ideally, it should be a place where your friends are, or
at least a place where you can easily make new friends.
[Find a Worry-Free Place to live]
In summary, we owe it to ourselves to prepare for and manage the final
years. It is not easy, but we cannot count on others
Life is never supposed to easy anyway, except for those who are born
with a silver spoon. People living longer does not mean life is easier.
For the majority, it just means more challenges. If a person is not
prepared, it would mean more grievances, misery, loneliness and sadness.
We can only do as much planning as we can, but if disasters struck, or a
war broke out, there is nothing we can do. We just do our part and hope
for the best.
All these talks of preparation and planning are only meaningful to
those who can afford it
If you are already struggling, and living from
day to day or from hand to mouth, then it is not possible to do any
planning. For those who are lucky and can afford to, we owe it to
ourselves to prepare for the final years.
Basic steps to maintain physical well-being
Needless to say, we need to maintain good health and we must start
early. Once our health is gone, it is forever. There is no second chance
in life as far as health is concerned. This is the most important item.
Without good health, everything else is in vain. These are the simple
and necessary things we are advised to pay attention to:
Control our body weight. Visceral fat is the mother of all health
problems. Obesity is the cause of many issues. Eating slowly will help
to avoid overconsumption. It will give our body time to feel full. In
fact, after eating, a person actually feels more hungry because the body
is ready for more. Take a break; do something else; very soon, the
hunger feeling will go away. Getting rid of visceral and subcutaneous
fat removed a lot of health problems.
Having enough sleep is the next most important step in health
maintenance. Sleep deprivation could lead to many problems. Prolonged
melatonin use may lead to tolerance. Long-term supplementation is not a
good tactic. Watch out for unexplainable bruises, especially when it
comes with other warning signs.
Avoid putting excessive chemicals such as colour or dye on our face,
skin or hair. We don't know the long-term effects. Anything considered
safe today may turn out to be cancer-causing a few years later. Be
conservative, stringent and moderate with those chemicals. Wearing
make-up every day makes it a routine process. When we are used to it,
there is no excitement. And when we skip it for one day, we will feel
like missing something. But if we only do it once in a while, that
generates a thrill. Protect our skin from midday direct sunshine to
avoid possible skin cancer.
Protect our eye. Avoid straining our eyes under direct sun exposure.
Our eyes will get old anyway and need fixing. But we can delay the onset
as much as possible. Avoid over using with too much video or screen time.
Gently brush and floss our teeth every day.
Protect our knees and joints. Avoid overuse, stress and overdoing at the
gym. Injury from heavy lifting and repetitive movements can cause
irreparable attrition. Unfortunate accidental physical damage to the
body such as our spinal cord could result in lifelong disabilities.
Correct posture when carrying anything is of prime importance. Avoid
sudden, violent jerking. Take it easy when changing posture from
standing to squatting and vice versa. Once our joints are damaged, we
will have mobility problems forever. Any artificial remedy is prone to
problems. When our mobility is limited, many other physical and
pyschological problems will follow.
Avoid experimenting with drugs, smoking or binge-drinking. Let someone
else do it if they are so gunk ho about it. Drinking moderately and
occasionally is acceptable.
Observe our urine everything morning. Watch out for consistent abnormal
colour, bubbles, murkiness or smell. Pay attention to the colour
and texture of our stool. Constipation is usually caused by consuming
not enough fruit, vegetable and water. Try to do it as soon as feasible
when having the urge to pass stool. Holding in poop consistently could
be harmful. Pushing too hard will cause hernia and other issues.
Some common sense steps to maintain financial well-being
Pay off credit card monthly. Don't accumulate debt. If we cannot afford
it with discretionary cash. Don't buy. Use the card only to give
ourselves a good credit score. Buy now, pay later is the most dangerous
Plan and budget ahead. Set aside a certain amount for saving. Avoid
impulse spending and buying. This will help to declutter our living
space and also our life. Unnecessary purchases only create more
maintenance and tidying work.
Invest in stocks with out spare money. Stay with the 'blue chip'
non-volatile stocks. To avoid fluctuation and worry, go for food,
utilities or perhaps medical companies. Let them sit there and collect
dividends. Avoid the hype of those get rich quick stocks. It will save
a lot of headache and allow us to concentrate on our work and life.
Be nice to our grandparents and parents,uncles and aunts so they will
let you inherit their assets. Don't let the bank of gran-and-granddad
and the bank of mum-and-dad shut you out. This is probably the easiest
and most logical thing to do.
Buy your own house if at all possible. Even perhaps a trailer or RV with
a building lot is better than nothing, as everything is unaffordable
nowadays. Inflation is only going to get worse.
Gen Z-ers all over the world are suffering from the same curse. The good
and easy times are gone forever. Instead of moaning about it, do
something to remedy the situation for yourself. Don't count on the
government to help.
There is no free lunch anymore.
Steps to maintain mental health - ward off social isolation, loneliness,
boredom and listlessness
Socio-economic status and health-risk are closely related. Risky
behaviour is associated with loneliness and destitution. If a person is
financially secure, the chance of maintaining mental well-being is
When a person have nothing to do the whole day, life will be too boring
and the person will be sitting there waiting to die or susceptible
to indulge in risky behavior.
Find something to do daily, to avoid burnout and lack of fulfillment.
Create some hobby and engage in handicraft projects that will last for
the lifetime. Maintain a YouTube channel about our hobbies.
Become a plant horticulturist, or raising a kitten may help.
Do some simple things like wood work at home. Making models, wood
carving and painting are good pastimes. Learning how to cook could be
Write a blog and learn computer programming.
Read out loud to exercise brain, mouth, lung and eye coordination.
Avoid being a people pleaser. If something we cannot do, that's
something we cannot do. Don't put excessive pressure on ourselves.
Be smart and have individual thinking. Don't get confused, fooled or
bewildered by online messages and comments in social media. A lot of
people are in fact hired to create those messages and comments by
various interested parties. Many of them are repetitive, misleading and
wrong. We are much better off doing our own research and study rather
than counting on those misinformations.
Stay in touch with your friends and form a mutual support group. Find
someone you can share thoughts and feelings with. Doing volunteer work
is one way to make new friends.
Have a part-time job at McDonald's or Walmart is OK as long as you don't
care about the money.
Find a worry-free place to live the final years of life
When you are no longer worry about making a living, you have the
freedom to find a less stressful place to live. For the time being, at
least, Hong Kong and Singapore are among those places. They both share
some common characteristics.
They both are geographically compact, convenient, and metropolitan in
outlook. For a non-native foreigner, it is easy to cultivate and make
new friends. Both cities are xenophilic and friendly to foreign people
and have easy access to everything. Buying anything or shopping is
easy. Hong Kong ranks first for enabling environments and independent
living with the least stress. There is no need to drive, and public
transportation is well organized. Driving and maintaining a car is a big
hassle, especially when you don't have the mood and energy to do so.
Both places are safe, with low crime rate, relatively clean air and
water, and no gun violence.
There is no threat of flooding, earthquake or other natural calamities
to worry about. Fire happened once in a while, but damage is usually
limited and non-extensive.
Both places are known for low tax and minimum government regulation in
people's private life. There is no unnecessary and excessive financial
reporting, which are the cause of stress for people in their old age.
Living there is basically stress-free.
Both are quite free and liberal, despite what the media said. As long as
you are not advocating revolution or other crazy things, nobody will
bother you. You can criticize government policies, and talk about LGBTQ
and other alphabetical things any way you want.
Houses and apartments are expensive. Hong Kong apartment prices have
come down substantially since the covid lock-down. It is expected to
depreciate further for at least a few more years. When it is low enough
and affordable, it makes sense to buy an apartment there and rent it
out. The rent will cover the mortgage payments. When you are about to
retire, you can live there rent-free.
Medical care is affordable. There is no worry about life and health
insurance. Public health care, for those eligible, is reasonably good
and readily available. Private care is fine as long as you can afford
it. Although some people choose to have medical insurance to feel
comfortable, disastrous medical expense is one of the last issues in
Finding a doctor to have a consultation is easy and convenient. Walk-in
visit without appointment is a common practice.
In Hong Kong, there is an additional bonus. One can take a 20-minute
ride to Shenzhen and be submerged in a totally different, exciting and
affordable world. Food and services are a lot cheaper there. However,
one of Hong Kong's problems is that people running the place act like
living on borrowed time, waiting to retire with a big fat package and
emigrate to the UK. The bureaucracy is getting bloated and inefficient
by the day.
additional advantage is that there is no worry about a possible conflict
between the US and China. It will just stay prosperous with no dark
cloud looming over the horizon as long as the government can juggle and
maneuver adeptly between the two superpowers. So far, it has proven to
be adept at this practice.
Good luck to all those who will be living to 120 years old
Living longer does not mean life is easier. If a person is not prepared,
it would mean more grievances, challenges, misery and loneliness. We owe
it to ourselves to do it when we can manage.