The Senior View

Financial Advice for Every Decade:
The Senior View

It was when I was in my 20s that I heard an excellent lecture. The topic was “Goal Setting” which had not been something I’d understood very well at the time. “What are your Goals?” was a question I’d heard but I never had been able to articulate any sort of comprehensive answer.

The lecturer said people have trouble defining their goals because the subject is too broad and needs to be broken down into sub categories which can be addressed directly. He felt there were five basic areas in life which we could make goal defined decisions: Family, Community, Financial, Career and Religious/Spiritual. Further he said it helped to further have two separate categories for these – Long Term and Short Term goals. What a difference that lecture made for me. I could refine my view of the future by looking at various aspects of my life and finding reasonable and achievable prospects.

Now, nearly 5 decades later, I still look at my future with these ideas in mind. Reviewing these things as a septuagenarian I can offer these thoughts for you to consider:

     – Keep in touch with Family and Friends, even if you don’t have something specific in mind.

Time has a way of evaporating and missed opportunities aren’t easy to recover. A phone call, a shared meal or a remembered birthday will always be appreciated.

     – Seek out where you may be effective as a volunteer.

Everyone likes a helping hand. This isn’t a matter of just saying “yes” each time someone asks for assistance, but looking for chances to do things at which you’re good, as that will give you maximum reward. It’s also a good way to keep involved in your community and even expand your circle of friends.

Further, you’re at an age now where your years of learning have given you a wealth of information. It’s time to figure out how to offer your useful experience and “pay it forward” to another generation. Sometimes opportunities can be found at a local community center, library or even offering to be a guest lecturer at a local college in your area of experience.

     – Seek to achieve at least a “Zero Slope” to your Net Worth.

While circumstances of one person’s life are going to be different than the next we should make an attempt to balance our current expenditures with disposable income. Perfect balance would give zero slope and anything we can do to tilt the slope to the positive will help fight inflation and keep our life style stable.

     – Take the time now to review your estate plans and documents to ensure they are up to date and still valid.

Wills and Trusts, Medical Power-Of-Attorney and other such papers need to remain current as our lives and those around us change. Everything we can do to make the plans move easily along will be appreciated by those who survive us. And, just since you did review things recently, don’t forget to revisit the review process in a couple of years. Keep them current.

     – Make an effort to spend time in reflection.

Turn off the evening News and instead use that time to consider the things about which we can be grateful. This could be considered a spiritual or religious activity and possibly more rewarding than trying to swallow the latest dose of Current Events. Share your impressions with others when it seems appropriate. Find a local Writers Club or other similar group where you can learn, share and collate your ideas and writings. It could be the start of something to which you will add for years to come.

As the lecturer suggested, you can sub-divide these ideas into Short and Long Term goals and projects. At the end of his lecture, he asked us to address an envelope to ourselves. Further he asked us to put on paper our short term goals in each category. Guess what? A year later I received my list in the mail! It was a comfort to see that I’d stayed on track for the most part on my new goal setting targets.

– Tom Veale