Contrary to what a lot of us fear, we won't necessarily turn dotty in our old age.
If you can escape dementia, you can continue to think logically and solve problems as well as, if not better than, you could in your youth, concludes a study of people in their 50s, 60s and 70s by the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas and the MetLife Mature Market Institute. That's terrific retirement planning news.
Here are the study's key findings.
Healthy aging adults don't lose their decision-making abilities. Increased age alone -- from a person's early 50s through the 70s -- was not a key factor in predicting impaired decision-making capacity. Older participants in the study were just as consistently logical in their decisions as younger ones.
You might actually find it easier to learn what you need to learn as you age. People in their 70s performed at least as well as those in their 50s on "strategic learning." All groups performed similarly when asked to separate the most relevant information from the extraneous.
Good strategic learners made more consistently logical financial decisions. Likewise, those who were not good strategic learners made riskier choices that sometimes turned out to be expensive mistakes.
The ability to make well-considered decisions increases with age. Older decision-makers worked harder at making good decisions than those in the younger age groups.
Women are just as good at making decisions as men. Overall, men and women performed equally at logically consistent decision-making and at strategic learning, the study said. Note, that better strategic learners of both sexes were more risk-averse.
There's a retirement lesson there -- for both old and young.