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Turning Fifty


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Turning 50

For most people, 50 is the age that people really start thinking about getting old. Why 50? Because 50 is considered, by some, the "over the hump year."

When you turn 50, you start thinking more about your immortality and the things you've always wanted to do, but haven't. You start thinking about growing old, retirement, your children and grandchildren, making sure your insurances are up to date, and most importantly, the possibility of long term illnesses and death.

When you are young, you tend to spend a lot of time worrying about how to best raise your children, buying a home, putting food on the table, and maintaining a comfortable lifestyle for your family or trying to make the one you are currently living better.

Contrary to what you may hear, a lot of young people do think about growing old and they do plan, but sometimes they get so busy trying to stay financially afloat that it becomes difficult to do the things that will make a positive difference in their senior years. It's not that they don't try, rather, it's because life tends to get in the way.

If your planning doesn't put you where you feel you should be financially, it is not always your fault. Some people will say that you didn't plan ahead but the truth is, not everyone is financially able to do what those who are financially able can do. It doesn't come from a lack of trying, it's because things happen in life and they happen in different ways for different people.

When you reach 50, you realize that you've made it to a point in life that, as a young person, an age that you considered old. You thought that those who made it past fifty was on the downside of life.

That may be true, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, the average life span is 78.8 years for men and 81.2 years for women. This means that many people who make it to the age of 50 still have 25 or more productive years to live and many of them will live another 40 to 50 years or more.

But as most people who turn 50 will tell you, age is just a number. Many feel just as good or better at 50 than they did at 40 or 30. The only thing that turning 50 really means is that it is the age in which most people know that retirement is not to far off and if they haven't already begun planning, they need to start right now.

The phrase "senior citizen" is given to people depending on who, or which organization, you are talking to. AARP says 50, HUD 55, and Social Security starting at 62. Some dictionaries define "senior citizens" as people who have reached the age of 65.

Certain restaurants and insurance companies give senior discounts starting at age 50 while others start at 60 or older. When you get your AARP card in the mail when you turn 50, you start looking at life in a different way.

Regardless, 50 is a good age and can be the beginning of another chapter in your life. For many, it's the time to ponder retirement and to get serious about doing things that you've always wanted to do but put off. If you have a "bucket list," it's a good time to get started on it.

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