It's safe to say there are many thoughts surrounding aging that can keep us up at night. The general uncertainty of the future is a large factor driving many fears of getting older, while specific concerns surrounding how we'll look, what we'll do, or what our lives will end up being can be additional reasons to worry about old age. This anxiety over aging peaks around age 40, according to Science Daily, which recently highlighted the phenomenon. But it turns out that some individuals worry about old age far more than others. The lucky ones in the less-concerned set all share one quality—financial literacy.
Findings from associate professor Yoshihiko Kadoya of Hiroshima University and Mostafa Saidur Rahim Khan of Nagoya University demonstrate that high levels of financial literacy significantly reduce the anxiety surrounding aging. The study asked individuals across Japan to complete a questionnaire that asked them to assess their financial acuity—including calculation skills, understanding of pricing behavior, and financial securities like stocks and bonds—as well as questions about their accumulated wealth, assets, and lifestyle. They were also asked to rate the level of anxiety they felt about their life beyond age 65. The more financially literate the individuals, the less anxiety they felt about their future.
While the takeaway could encourage individuals to brush up on their finances to ease their anxiety over the future, Kadoya's message is to governments to provide programs that better support aging individuals. "People shouldn't spend time worrying about the future," he says. "That is why governments provide pensions, housing, and medical plans. If the perception is that these are not fulfilling their purpose then governments and providers need to look at making them more accessible."
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