One in five adults admits to being a chronic procrastinator. Among college students, the number may be as high as seven in 10, which might explain those all-nighters.1 In the “real world,” you can’t always cram for finals. Procrastination can have far-reaching effects on important activities and decisions, such as completing tasks at work, obtaining medical treatment, and saving for retirement. A study of more than 22,000 people suggests that chronic procrastinators tend to have lower salaries and a higher likelihood of unemployment.2 Academic research provides some insights into procrastination that may be helpful if you or someone you know has a tendency to put off important tasks.
Guarding Against Fraud In a survey of American adults aged 40 and older, 84% revealed that they had been solicited to participate in a potentially fraudulent offer, and 11% had lost money after engaging in such an offer.1 The root of this problem — besides the endless efforts of criminals — seems to be naiveté and unwarranted trust on the part of those who are deceived. A large percentage of respondents were unable to spot fraudulent sales pitches and found the unrealistic promises appealing (see chart). Although people of any age can be victims of fraud, criminals are more likely to target those who are 65 and older; this age group is also more likely to lose money when they are targeted.2
Older people generally have a better understanding of life insurance than younger people.1 But even if you fully understand the costs and potential benefits of life insurance, you may wonder whether you still need it as you age and your children become self-supporting. Here are some ideas to consider. Protection for Your Spouse Even though your children may not need financial support, your spouse might depend on your income, especially if you are still working and/or have debts such as a mortgage, car payment, or student loan, which could be paid off with a life insurance benefit. Losing one spouse’s Social Security benefit could also make it more difficult for the survivor, even with survivor benefits. Widows and widowers aged 55 and older are more likely to live in poverty than married people in the same age group (see chart).
Retirement has often been viewed as an ending, a time of slowing down and simplifying life after a long working career. This is changing as people live longer and consider other possibilities. In a survey of Americans aged 45 and older, 57% described retirement as a new chapter in life, seeing it as an opportunity to explore new options and pursue their dreams. Many pre-retirees don’t envision a traditional retirement at all, but want to reinvent their careers by entering a new field of work.1
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court settled a case between a widow and her deceased husband’s former wife regarding who would receive the man’s federal employee insurance benefits. The judges ruled in favor of the first wife, even though the couple had been divorced for more than 10 years when he died, because she was still the designated beneficiary on his policy.1