Friday, July 31, 2009

Countries and People: Reflections on Getting Old

When does a person become "old"?

If you ask my teenage kids, 40 seems ancient.

Ask a 40-year old and middle age doesn't hit until the mid 50s.

Maybe getting old is more a matter of mindset than chronological age: People become old when they decide that the best years of life are behind them.

In that case, I know old people in their 30s and I know young retirees.

These thoughts were prompted by the latest Rasmussen Report showing that 49% of Americans believe that America's best days are in the past.

How does this attitude affect investments in U.S. debt? Shares? Currency?

The national discussions focus on rationing health care, cutting carbon emissions, and avoiding financial meltdowns due to housing, unemployment, and banking failures.

When people are old, they spend more energy addressing their ills than maximizing their well-being. Maybe countries aren't so different.