Living a Long, Productive Life
Researchers uncovered secrets to a better life.
Leslie R. Martin and Howard S. Friedman, researchers and authors of The Longevity Project, drew on an eighty year study they helped conduct to uncover secrets to living a long and productive life. What they found could be used by college students and grads to get on a path to success in their careers and in making personal financial decisions–adding up to a happier life.
In an interview with Charles Schwab’s On Investing magazine entitled, “Planning for a Good Life”, the authors and researchers were asked questions based on their book. Below, I’ve selected a few questions and answers, then condensed them.
Q: You observe that one of the best predictors of longevity is conscientiousness. How can being conscientious help improve a person’s financial life?
A: We define conscientiousness as the qualities of being prudent, persistent and well-organized. It’s persistence that seems to serve people best in their careers. To be successful in your career, you need to stick to the things that you start, be willing to hang in there and avoid being impulsive. I think persistence can be applied to financial situations as well. It can be very tempting to make quick decisions, do things impulsively, give up on your plan or jump around a lot. However, persistence is usually a better choice. Persistence is good not only for your career and physical health, but also for your financial health.
Q: How do social networks and relationships play a role in living a long, successful life?
A: The people you spend time with tend to inform the person you become. Associate with people who have the qualities you aspire to. That sets up an environment that is much more conducive to changing your life. People who wanted to succeed in business associated with individuals who are successful at work. Resilience is not something you are born with, but you can persevere and develop it. Social networks play a role in developing your resilience. If you stray from the right path, you’re more likely to correct course if you have people in your life who can help you get back on track.
Q: How can we apply your findings to our financial lives?
A: What do you hope to accomplish? What do you enjoy? What are you going to do with the wealth you accrue? What do you want to do later in life? Having a sense of what’s meaningful to you and then conscientiously pursuing that path can help you succeed in every aspect of your life.
To see more about The Longevity Project, visit howardsfriedman.com/longevityproject
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