Blow off anxieties about post-retirement years and economic slump… written by Kenichi Ohmae

 Personal financial assets of people in their golden ages in Japan are said to exceed 1700 trillion yen, and most of which are of those who are over 60 years old.  However, the reality is that they cannot spend their own saving for a freewheeling life because they are worried too much about what could happen to them in the later years such as illness, injury or aging related issues like nursing cares and getting into nursing homes.  Even the NHK, Japanese national public broadcasting organization has picked out the increasing rates of solitary deaths and “Karyu-Roujin,” (a recently created slang term indicating the elderlies whose living is equivalent to the borderline of welfare), most typical Japanese citizens become antsier.

 About a decade ago, bank account of senior generation was believed to sum up to 1300 trillion yen but expected to decrease as “dankai generation” (the baby boomers) retires and starts to withdraw such savings.  But media has sensationalized and urged the public to prepare for the worst scenario by keeping their savings for rainy days.  What I see behind this sensationalism is that not many elderly in over 70s are likely to spend happy, merrily, brisk life.  Those who are able to do so may be limited to those who have lived and known lifestyles in overseas.  Others, unfortunately, seemed to have been taught only to save money but not how to spend.  That is why there are some married couples who instantly decide to go on a cruise trip paying 10 million yen, not knowing they would argue all the time and usually men would end up in staying in a large common room.  This is not funny but happening in reality.  The fact is that we need long term trainings to acquire tips how to spend money for ourselves, our family and to amuse people around us.  Just having a lot of money would not enable us to spend it wisely.  (This point is mentioned in Mr. Ohmae’s book.)

How about having fun at the Bridge Pot Luck Party, which is sort of music concert and birthday celebration at the same time.  Home parties are not very common in Japan.  It is so sad that Japanese do not hold inexpensive BBQ parties that ask participants just to show up and pay 1000 yen per person.  Exceptionally in Okinawa where BBQ parties are popular and actively taken place, people tend to spend happier life than those in mainland Japan.

 There are some old rich people who don’t trust people.  One of my friends has a pity, old but rich family member who pays big bills to his family for preparing and carrying every meal in the morning, afternoon and evening.  The old man would roam around the neighborhood when she has to look for him for hours.  I suggest that she find a luxury nursing home for him, but she prefers to take care of him at home for the sake of 30 thousand yen per day.

 This is so miserable but Japanese way of thinking.  The latter half of our life goes along as we image.  If we have a happy life with many friends, we can go on a trip with them, enjoy dancing, singing, drawing paints, showing photos each other at parties, and so on.  Those who can organize their life with fun events can stay being happy until the moment they die.  Such people are filled with love as they age and they would not have any troubles.

 One of my neighbor said, “I’m going to have myself checked up at a hospital,” and he did but then died of a terminal cancer within a week.  He had a good life.  His wife and he had a good relationship and went out for bowling together three times a week.  Their scores were always over 200 on the average.  They grow vegetables on the roof garden even in a metropolitan, Tokyo.  He was the president of a small local factory.

 Meanwhile, those who do not trust anyone even their own family and who believe all that matters is money, (as depicted in the latest publication of Mr. Fukushima) may end up in getting robbed 15 million yen because money is all they care.  People based on inhuman, money-minded can build up relationships that would break up in arguments at the end.  This stays even after the marriage which ties a couple only with money.  What a pity, hellish post-retirement life they have with a malicious relationship!  The elderly should consider two extremes heaven or hell, but not normal in between.

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