Turning 50? Well, at least you’ll have your crystallized intelligence

We get the Wall Street Journal at home — it helps to be married to a financial journalist whose company pays for it. I love the WSJ Saturday paper, where it’s less about stocks and more about books, wine, gadgets and cars. But today’s headline was a bit of a downer for those of us turning 50 and beyond: Declining Cognitive Ability Presents Challenges to Boomer Finances. The article includes one of those lines I hear often as a turning 50 joke — it’s all downhill after 20. More specifically:

“Fluid intelligence — that is intelligence displayed in things like memory tests — decreases dramatically with age. In fact, ‘it’s all downhill from age 20’ ”  said David Laibson, of Harvard University.

Darn, I thought it was all downhill after 80.

The good news for us baby boomer: “Crystallized intelligence — memory, wisdom and so on — does increase over time, but less so, on average, in senior years.”

But one question: Does there all have to be a “but” after turning 50?