Yesterday I presented on a Webinar with our Coaching platform called “Helping You 2 Help Yourself”. I spoke on Intangible Assets, a topic I first heard about in the book by Linda Gratton and Andrew Scott called “The 100-Year Life; Living and Working in an Age of Longevity”.
An asset is something that you own, you get to use it and it brings benefits. Assets can also depreciate if they are neglected. A tangible asset is one that you can touch, feel or see and you can trade. Some examples are your investments, car and house if you own them. If you neglect to do regular maintenance on your house, its value will gradually depreciate.
WHAT IS AN INTANGIBLE ASSET?
An intangible asset is an asset that you cannot hold, touch or feel and you cannot put a monetary value to it, meaning it cannot be traded. So what does that have to do with being over 60? Everything. If you want quality of life as you age, you need to take care of your intangible assets and ensure they do not depreciate through neglect. The example familiar to most of us is our health and fitness which have tended to go out the window during Lockdown because we have neglected our eating habits and our exercise regimes.
So, what are your intangible assets? This list is far from finite, but rather meant to give the building blocks:
- Skills and Knowledge.
We come into retirement with a wealth of skills and knowledge built up over the years. It is important to maintain these as well as add to them as we grow older. If you continue working into your late 60’s, even 70’s, you will need to keep on top of the new trends in the workplace. When you stop learning, you stop growing and thus stagnate.
- Health and Fitness
I refer here to both mental and physical health. Most of us in our 60’s, have begun to feel the early signs of ageing; the stiffening joints, the inability to do what we could 10 years ago and of course the senior moments! And now, looking after our immune systems is vital if we want to avoid the COVID virus.
Think of fitness as flexibility and agility. In the physical arena, it is about regular exercise to push the heart rate up and stretching to maintain joint flexibility and improve balance. Mental fitness, on the other hand, is about stretching your brain by learning new things or doing activities that stimulate the brain. If you look after your body by feeding it healthy nutrients, keeping your weight in check and getting enough sleep, you will find it easier to maintain fitness, illustrating that fitness and health go hand in hand. There are so many opportunities for fitness workouts on the internet at present, but perhaps it is the will-power to turn up regularly that is lacking.
- Your Social Network.
Robert Waldinger in his TEDx talk tells of his 75-year study on a group of 600 men. The research found good relationships to be what kept them healthy and happy. He maintains social connection is important and loneliness can lead to death. I would like to add that you need to ‘work’ your friendships if they are going to be an asset because it is the quality of your relationships that determines your health and happiness. A friendship neglected will not be there when you are in need. Gratton and Scott talk about “Regenerative friendships”, these are the ones that build you up and don’t drain your energy.
An awareness of who you are and your purpose will stand you in good stead as you negotiate the transition to retirement. We do have many years’ experience, but that doesn’t automatically translate to wisdom, it needs awareness as well. A good understanding of how you adjust to change as I mentioned in my previous blog, is a good start.
- Family Relationships.
Your family have known you longer than anyone else, and are usually still around when you start fading into old age. According to Waldinger, social connection is important, and good relationships with the extended family is a good place to start. Elder orphans need to look beyond their lack of immediate family and draw on more distant relatives and close friends.
- Relationship with Partner.
When we transition to retirement our relationship with our partner may change as we leave work colleagues behind and spend more time at home. Many people neglect this relationship because they think there is no cause to worry, as it has stood the test of time. But, communication lines need to be open concerning planning for the future so that both are on the same page, and roles within the home may need to be re-negotiated. I have written before on the topic of “Grey Divorce” and its prevalence.
I am sure you will come up with many more intangible assets that require attention so that they may serve you and not depreciate. This list is not finite but is a starting point for you to look at your intangible assets and how you are managing them.
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