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Change and RSP (Retirement Savings Plan)    (# 188)


But then why, again, the question, this discouragement before the constant prospect of change?

  - Maria, I was thinking - said an actor known from the first Portuguese soap operas.


We were in the 80s, and that was how advertising for a curious and, at the time, innovative financial product started: the Retirement Savings Plans. The couple would be around 50 years old and the idea is that it would be common sense put some money aside to add to the retirement, that this of the social status was already getting badly seen. In the light of what we know today, it would be a premonition of the growth of financial neoliberalism that years later would be imposed.

But the idea was there: to prepare old age. And the term “PPR” (in portuguese) has become synonymous with foreseeing, preventing or guaranteeing the last moments of this life that will inevitably one day leave us.


Whenever I met with my cousins, we asked each other: "Do you already have debt in the Caixa?". We said that one day we would ask "Have you done the PPR yet?"

Now, the concept of PPR is imposed not only by the need to guarantee some economic relief but above all to guarantee a state of comfort, health, well-being and complete integrality of all our vital functions. Finally, having a rested, lucid old age and without many pains.


In this perspective, a good PPR is above all to organize our lives so that old age has this comfort.


There is an interesting study started 75 years ago at Harvard University. Regular interviews with 600 people and then with their children conducted over eight decades. It started in 1938 with 700 students and residents outside Boston. The study was extended throughout the life of these interviewees, to members of their family, namely their descendants.


The conclusions point in several ways: the terribly destructive power of alcohol and depression, but the tremendous importance of the personal relationships that we build throughout our lives. Strong strokes seem to be worth more than money or social status.


Robert Waldinger, one of the directors of this study, states that: “What we found is that, in the case of people who are more satisfied in their relationships, more connected to each other, their body and brain remain healthy longer” In summary: "Good genes are nice, but joy is better".


But there is a small peculiarity that this study points out. The habits acquired until the age of 45 are decisive for the rest of your life, precisely because it is difficult to change them from there. Therefore, it is of great importance to acquire the right habits or lifestyle from the age of 40, because later it will be difficult to change them.


All of this comes with regard to our discouragement in the face of the fact that the changes are happening vertiginously in our daily lives, these days. Immediately afterwards, there is someone who says that in the past it was good, that this-now-is-everything-getting-worse. The fun of the situation is that consulting old texts, written many centuries ago, or even a few millennia, the conversation was the same.


On the other side of the planet, a text written just over 2000 years ago arrives. In the first lines, he says the following: “Nowadays people are very different. They do not recover themselves in order to preserve their health. ” The text can be found in the Yellow Emperor's book, a work that contains the principles of Chinese Medicine. It is written as if a dialogue was taking place between the Yellow Emperor and his doctor Qi Bo. Of course, between the lines is the old idea: "It used to be good ...".


The great contradiction is that a careful look around us allows us to glimpse very positive and hopeful data. Hunger and war are no longer the inevitabilities of centuries ago. In fact, more people die of obesity than in war conflicts.


So why this discouragement? This disappointment?


An old friend of mine used to say, always with a touch of irony that "the fault lies in fairy tales and Disney movies". In fact, both some and others convey the idea that in the end, everything will remain the same and for a long time. There is always a cute prince and a good-looking princess who go through different adventures, but then they get married and are happy forever.


Trying to introduce a nuance in the usual speech, I wrote at school a composition that made fun of the love stories that always end well. I ended the story with the phrase "And they lived happily ... for a long time". The teacher crossed it out and asked: “So it wasn't forever? Did they get divorced after they were old? ”


In fact, in the West, there is a tendency to think exponentially. In other words, when a phenomenon arises, we think that it will continue to grow until it reaches catastrophe or infinite orgasm. Now, a closer look will tell us that many phenomena that surround us unfold in a very different way. In other words, many phenomena, whether physical or social, occur in a cyclical manner. Let us say that the period of growth of any phenomenon, contains in itself the genesis of the next phase, which will inevitably decrease. It is a case of saying that life contains the genesis of all change.


"Nothing is permanent, except change," said Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher who lived in the 4th century BC.


But then why, once again the question, this discouragement before the constant prospect of change?


The issue goes deeper. In fact, what we are experiencing at the moment is a period of intense physical and emotional stress. And why, again, the question? Because we probably do not assume that we are biological entities, that we have needs of a nutritional nature that end up not being properly met or needs for rest that we relegate to the background, after a thousand and one commitments, which, allegedly, are a priority. life /

© Eduardo Rui Alves

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