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This 100-year-old Ohio man is the world’s oldest practicing doctor — and says retirement is ‘the enemy' of longevity. Here are his 3 top tips to live a long and happy life

MoneyWise logo: MainLogo MoneyWise 4/29/2023 Bethan Moorcraft
3 top tips from the world's oldest doctor © GMA/Youtube 3 top tips from the world's oldest doctor

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At 100 years old, the world’s oldest practicing doctor knows a thing or two about how to live a long and happy life — but you might not like everything he has to say.

For Dr. Howard Tucker — born on July 10, 1922, in Cleveland, Ohio — a key secret to longevity is meaningful work.

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Tucker received his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1947 and he practiced neurology for 75 years — eventually earning the Guinness World Records title of the world’s oldest practicing physician.

The chipper centenarian has lived a remarkable life, sharing many happy years with his wife Sara (who still practices psychoanalysis and psychiatry at age 89), his four children and 10 grandchildren.

While Tucker says “good genes and a bit of luck” can help to extend your life, he also follows a few simple lifestyle rules that boost his health and happiness.

Delay your retirement (if you can)

After his record-breaking career, Tucker’s contrarian view on retirement might not surprise you.

“I look upon retirement as the enemy of longevity,” he told TODAY shortly after his 100th birthday. “I think that to retire, one can face potential shriveling up and ending in a nursing home. It’s fun staying alive and working… Every day I learn something new.”

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could stop Tucker from practicing his trade. He continued treating patients for five or six days a week during the pandemic — when his age would have classified him as high-risk.

The 100-year-old did eventually stop seeing patients in 2022, but he continued working twice a week teaching medical residents at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland.

While he’s acknowledged that some jobs are too physically or emotionally demanding to keep into old age, Tucker thinks you should consider delaying retirement if you enjoy your career and are still able to work.

“I’m going to caution (people): If they retire from their work, they should at least do something as a hobby, whether it be communal work or self-hobbies… you need a stimulus for the brain daily,” he said.

There can also be some financial benefits to delaying your retirement — even by just a few years.

Only 24% of Americans nearing retirement age (60-67 years old) believe they have enough money saved to live out their golden years in comfort, the Schroders 2023 U.S. Retirement Survey revealed.

A few extra years of saving and strategizing with the help of a financial planner can make all the difference and help to ease any money concerns you may have in later life.

Also, if you wait until age 70 to start claiming your Social Security benefits, you will get a much bigger payout than if you claim at the earliest possible age.

Read more: * 'Hold onto your money': Jeff Bezos says you might want to rethink buying a 'new automobile, refrigerator, or whatever' — here are 3 better recession-proof buys

Stay fit and healthy

Tucker is a sprightly centenarian who likes to keep busy — both physically and mentally.

He’s never smoked, he has a healthy diet — thanks to his “excellent chef” of a wife, who includes greens with every meal — and he drinks alcohol in moderation, allowing himself the occasional martini.

To this day, Tucker loves to exercise.

“Swimming, jogging, hiking, and skiing well into my late-80s has kept me strong and healthy,” he wrote in an article for CNBC.

In his tenth decade, while he’s “not quite as active as [he] once was,” Tucker still claims to go at least three miles on his treadmill “at a brisk pace” most days a week — with the help of Turner Classic Movies to overcome boredom.

He’s also taken up snowshoeing after his family banned him from skiing in his late 80s following an accident.

Staying fit and healthy into your later years can come with its financial advantages. For instance, you might be able to shop around and find cheaper health insurance to cover unexpected health emergencies — which no one is immune to, even those with lucky genes.

Learn something new every day

Upon receiving his Guinness World Record in 2021, Tucker said: “I would tell my teenage self to learn each day as if I were to live forever, and to live each day as if I were to die tomorrow.”

Tucker has practiced this philosophy for decades. To this day, he keeps on top of the latest advancements in neurology by studying and reading.

And he didn’t stop at medicine. He went to law school at night in his 60s and passed the Ohio Bar Exam at age 67 — while doing his normal doctor's day job — simply because he was interested in the law.

More recently, this love of learning has seen Tucker getting help from one of his 10 grandchildren to understand new technology and apps.

“The whole world is full of computers and they live by computers. If I want to stay in this world, I’m going to do it,” he told USA Today

If you’re like Tucker and are keen to explore new opportunities in technology, you might want to check out online investing and money-saving tools that will put your money to work for you.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.



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