Peering Into the Future

by TTMK on October 21, 2013 · 9 comments

coffee_and_looking_into_the_futureI got a look at the future recently, and it was interesting.  Actually, it’s a future I hope doesn’t happen!

So, I was at a coffee shop trying to get some work done offsite.  Not sure about you, but I find that on occasion it can be productive to get a change of scenery and work done elsewhere.  Anyway, not long after I sat down to get working on stuff, a pair of elderly ladies took the table next to me.   There were plenty of open tables, but for whatever random reason they happened to choose the exact one right next to me.

Not a big deal, I noticed but didn’t really care.  Who could get bothered by a couple of little old ladies, right?  These are the type of people we want to be extra nice to, and should have respect for.

I didn’t get bothered, but I did notice their conversation as it went on.  I couldn’t help but notice it because they were extremely loud, or at least one of the ladies was.  As a result, I was treated to an interesting discussion on the woes and worries of people who appeared to be in their late 70’s or early 80’s.

Here are some of the things that I heard them say – and note that I’m paraphrasing as I don’t remember exact words (but you get the idea)

“She’s so fortunate.  She’s able to travel to interesting places and go visit her grandkids, that must be nice”

“I’m scared of living alone, what if I have a seizure? I don’t want to be laying on the ground alone for days”

“I can’t meet you here too often since the coffee is so darned expensive, I usually go where I can get it for a less”

“At least she has a husband to fix things at home”

“She doesn’t recognize him anymore, her kids are exhausted taking care of her.  I hope I outlive dementia”

“He didn’t leave her enough money”

“I’m really lonely.  It reminds me of when I was a kid and didn’t have any brothers and sisters”

These are the kinds of things these ladies were talking about.  Loud enough for anyone to hear, especially someone sitting right next to them.

I had a couple of thoughts as I tried in vain to effectively multitask through this:

  • Feeling bad for them, as their lives seemed to be a far cry from what they might have been when younger
  • Getting a good reminder of what people really need much later in life

With respect to the second point, they weren’t talking about driving upscale cars, taking trips to exotic islands, buying a McMansion, or anything of the sort.  These types of things didn’t even seem to be on their radar screen.

Rather, they were talking about the basics.  Being healthy, having enough money to be comfortable, having companionship and being with family.  These are the things they seemed to be focusing on and what they valued.

That all makes sense, and it’s good to get a reminder from those older than us once in a while that when younger should align how we spend our time and money with what’s most important.

My Questions for You

Have you ever gotten a random, out of the blue reminder about money and/or time priorities?

Do you agree that we can actually learn much from older people?

 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

SuburbanFinance October 21, 2013 at 8:06 am

I get these all of the time when I am talking to my dad about his future. It’s not that he opens up and tells me about his fear, but that he’s so delusional with what he will be able to do.

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TTMK October 24, 2013 at 10:32 am

Suburban Finance – I know how that can go, people sometimes don’t want to confront reality. It feels better to ignore the looming problem. I think that in some way, shape, or form, each of us does this in some aspect of our lives.

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Little House October 21, 2013 at 8:44 am

I’ve only started worrying about out living my husband recently. We’re still young (or at least on the young side) but I’m much healthier than he is. I really don’t want to out live him by decades and it’s statistically relevant that women out live men by quite a few years. With that said, I do think that making sure you have enough money for healthcare is really important.

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TTMK October 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

That’s a really good point you make, and one that I don’t think of as often since I’m a guy. You’re right, women statistically tend to outlive men – all other things being equal – from what I’ve read too. Another factor to keep in mind.

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Money Beagle October 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

Yeah, it seems that we spend our lives trying to achieve various things and once we get to the point where we achieve them, they’re no longer the top priority.

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TTMK October 24, 2013 at 10:28 am

Best to get those financial priorities figured out as early as possible!

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Andrew@LivingRichCheaply October 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

You make a great point with that story. Everybody wants the fancy car, exotic vacations, and luxury homes, but what is most important and what should be the priority in life is being healthy, having enough money to be comfortable, having companionship and being with family. If only people learned this sooner…and not wait until their 70s to learn this!

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TTMK October 24, 2013 at 10:27 am

Andrew – thanks, and you make a great point that it’s ideal if people don’t wait until being 70+ to learn that. Social security-eligible years aren’t the best time to figure out financial priorities.

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thepotatohead October 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Family is definitely the most important thing in my mind. Being healthy and around long enough to enjoy them and make great memories is way more important then any BMW or Mercedes. I hope to be healthy in my old age (hope to make it to an old age). I actually had lunch with one of my grandma’s friends over the weekend. My grandma died over a decade ago but her best friend is still going strong at 92 and as independent and sharp as ever. She said her secret was just to stay active. I hope to be as with it as her if I make it to that age!

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