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Year In Year Out

Dennis Friedman

WHEN I LOOK BACK at 2022, my wife and I had a good year. We avoided COVID-19 even as we did things we’d been yearning to do for a long time. We enjoyed our time traveling, and visiting family and friends. Even doing the little things that we take for granted was a pleasure. Indeed, this year felt like a return to normal.

Of course, everything hasn’t come up roses. Our investment portfolio is down 12.6% as I write this article. Inflation caused by supply chain issues and the war in Ukraine didn’t help our investments. But I’m looking forward to next year’s 8.7% Social Security raise, and our portfolio is still on track to meet our future spending needs.

Unfortunately, I lost a good friend this year. Jeremy, who I knew since the seventh grade, passed away. I wrote about us taking a road trip to Canada when we were in our 20s. Over the years, we kept in touch. As we grew older, we realized how valuable our friendship was. We would talk more frequently, at least once a week. He’d call me pal or buddy. I would sometimes call him by his childhood nickname, Big Jer. I’m going to miss our phone calls.

My health has been good this year. In fact, at age 71, I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I have no aches and pains. I feel like I could run a marathon. How long can I keep this up? Dr. Thomas T. Perls, a professor at Boston University’s Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine and founding director the New England Centenarian Study, says that—to reach age 90—three-quarters hinges on health behaviors and the environment that we live in, and the other quarter on our genes. Maybe my morning walks, weight-bearing exercises and healthy diet are paying dividends.

But as we reach 100 and older, genetics play a more important role in our longevity. My financial advisor says I have enough money to reach that 100-year mark. But do I really want to live to 100?  A U.K. poll by Ipsos found that only 35% of people wanted to live to 100, with 49% disagreeing. In fact, 56% felt like I do—that their quality of life would be poor at that age.

I’m not thinking that far ahead. I’m looking forward to 2023. My wife and a friend are going to Europe early next year. Not me. It’s too cold where they’re going. I’m staying in California where it’s warmer. Enjoying the mild temperatures this time of year is one reason we’re willing to live in a state where the cost of living is so high. But my wife has been bitten by the travel bug. She can’t stay put.

Later in the year, we plan to visit Italy, Switzerland and Norway. Then maybe a road trip across the country. If the Cleveland Guardians make it to the World Series, I plan on being there. Why not? It would be a once-in-a-lifetime event for us long-suffering Cleveland baseball fans.

I’m not worried about my investment portfolio. It’s highly diversified. If the economy falls into a recession, as some folks predict, bonds should perform better. Inflation and interest rates tend to fall as the economy contracts, and that should boost the value of bonds. I have a healthy portion of bonds in my portfolio.

I’m going to keep doing in 2023 what I’ve done since I retired: Stay the course with my investments and try to lead a healthy lifestyle. I believe those are the keys to a long and prosperous retirement.

Dennis Friedman retired from Boeing Satellite Systems after a 30-year career in manufacturing. Born in Ohio, Dennis is a California transplant with a bachelor’s degree in history and an MBA. A self-described “humble investor,” he likes reading historical novels and about personal finance. Check out his earlier articles and follow him on Twitter @DMFrie.

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