8 Life and Money Lessons Shared by the Elderly

I have made decisions in my 20s or 30s that I’m sure I will regret later in life. I’m probably not alone.

A 25 year old making a choice believes he has decades of recovery time if that choice is poor. Yet, the elderly would warn otherwise. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have grandparents around to ask how they would have done things differently.

Fortunately, The New York Times recently ran an article that sought the accumulated wisdom of grandparents everywhere, entitled: “From the Elders to the Kids: What I Wish I’d Known”.

Much of the advice involved money. While the article itself is interesting, the unsolicited comments truly delivered the lessons many of us need to learn and re-learn.

Below are 8 verbatim comments that embody the life-lessons retired folks had for younger generations:

1. You really do not need the latest phone/computer/car/vacation, what you need is to have a security net so that you can kick back some when you are my age. My husband and I have lived well below are means for years. It is just recently we have begun to spend more freely because we do have a large nest egg put away. You will be astounded by how quickly it can increase by just putting a small percentage away every paycheck.

2. You might not make it to 67. My parents were disabled at 50. My turn came at 45. So get it together and start saving YOUNG.

3. I am 73 and am a semi-retired attorney. Best advice I ever gave myself was to get a profession where you can hang out your own shingle if a salaried job disappears. I lost my last “job” at age 47 when my boss lost his election and I have been working solo ever since and loving it.

4. Plan for the future as if the worst might happen, that you might not be able to work as long at a highly paid salary as you’d hoped. Be prepared for disaster.

5. Don’t put off everything you want to do until retirement. I’ve seen lots who are now unable to travel or do what they want due to health and money problems.

6. My best advice is to minimize debt. Debt will cost you far more in the long run than any other financial transaction. Save money, make smart purchase choices. And watch the small expenses- coffees, t-shirts with the latest catchy slogan, subscriptions to publications you seldom read. They add up.

7. Retirement may not turn out the way you thought it would. I ended up selling my home, moving in with my mother, subverting all the plans and things I thought I would be doing in retirement to elder care and taking care of a huge yard on our small farm.

8. Realize that many of your relationships are probably tied to work. Once they are gone, and if you have to move it’s a very difficult task to reform those kinds of relationships, especially if you are unable to get out.

If you know someone young that could benefit from this advice, share this article. Sharing is caring.

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