As we approach New Year I’m sure we’ll read many articles about how to improve our life – whether by reinventing ourselves into the person we think we’d like to be, or by adopting life hacks.
I love a good list and this one was put together by the Skipton Building Society whose researchers asked 1000 people aged over 65 and in retirement to pass on their advice to the younger generations.
As you might expect, being sensible with money is a dominant theme! For example, “don’t go into business with family, avoid lending money you’re likely to need back and never let the sun set on an argument with friends”.
Here’s what else the survey discovered:
“Among the basic financial common-sense advice such as pay off debts rather than spending money on luxury items and try to pay off your mortgage as early as you can, are nuggets such as save the long working hours until the children fly the nest, and spend quality time with grandparents as they won’t be there forever.
Retirees also cite the importance of doing something every day that makes you happy, and trying not to worry about what other people think.
All great advice and easier said than done but the point is we have the luxury of time to at least try some of these.
The over-65s can look back on mistakes they have made and opportunities they’ve missed during the first two thirds of their life, and try to encourage their children and grandchildren to follow a different path.
When it comes to finances, retirees are brimming with useful tips for youngsters – such as plan for retirement rather than burying your head in the sand.
‘Spend some, save some’ is also advice commonly passed down by people over the age of 65 – with many feeling you should holiday as much as you can, while you can.
Retirees are quick to suggest people should start saving at a young age, and recommend people don’t lend money they may need back.
In relationships, elderly respondents believe you should marry someone who makes you laugh, and make sure you stick by old friends even when making new.
Those in retirement also say you should never rely on just one or two close friends – create a network of many, and when it comes to keeping friendships, never go into business together.
Never give relationship advice as you’ll always be wrong, keeping a happy wife means having a happy life and continue having date nights after having children are also top relationship tips.
The top 50 Pearls of Wisdom also includes some practical guidance for those who haven’t yet reached retirement – such as always trust your gut feeling, always lose gracefully and be persistent.
Retirees also recommend flossing regularly as dental problems are awful, make friends with the neighbours and only pack what you can carry yourself. I can second that one!
Pursuing hobbies and interests outside of work, trying to secure a job which you enjoy and treating yourself once in a while are also things retirees have learned are important over the years.
Older generations are also keen for people to ensure their children know the value of money, and also encourage them to teach their children how to budget from an early age.
The study shows 51 per cent of retirees polled do have some regrets about their working years – of these, 19 per cent wish they’d worked fewer hours and four in 10 wish they’d made more of an effort to pursue their dreams.
A further three in 10 people wished they’d created a better work life balance, while 45 per cent would have put more of their earnings aside into savings if they could turn back time.
Now in retirement, 17 per cent are struggling with money, while 28 per cent say their health is their biggest concern.
More than half of retirees look at younger members of their own family now and wish they would start taking their family more seriously.”
TOP 50 WORDS OF WISDOM
- Pay your bills and stay out of debt
- Pay off debts rather than spending money on luxury items
- Pay off your mortgage as early as you can
- Plan for retirement rather than burying your head in the sand
- Teach your own children how to budget from an early age
- Be kind
- Spend some, save some
- Teach your children the value of money
- Pursue hobbies and interests outside of work
- It’s okay to need help
- Don’t make decisions when you’re angry
- Treat yourself once in a while
- Spend more time with the children before they leave home
- Don’t complain about getting older: not everybody gets the privilege
- Start saving at a young age
- Manners maketh man
- Do something every day that makes you happy
- Try to not worry about what other think
- Travel / go on more holidays while you can afford it
- The most important person in your life is the person who agreed to share their life with you – treat them as such
- Neither a borrower nor a lender be
- Never lend money that you need back
- Make new friends but stick by the old ones
- Always trust your gut feeling
- Marry someone who makes you laugh
- Always lose gracefully
- Take criticism constructively
- Spend quality time with your grandparents as they won’t be there forever
- Don’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up
- Make sure you get a job doing what you love
- Always sleep on a big decision
- Get to know your neighbours
- To thine own self be true
- Never let the sun set on an argument with friends
- Start thinking about your retirement before your boss does
- Never go into business with family or friends
- Happy wife = happy life
- Don’t work long hours, save it for when the children have left home
- Nothing worth doing comes easy
- Only pack what you can carry yourself
- Be persistent
- Do what you can to live close to your grandchildren
- Floss regularly, dental problems are awful
- Always avoid inconveniencing others
- Never give up what you want most for something you want now
- Don’t rely on one or two close friends, create a network of many
- Never give relationship advice – you’ll always be wrong
- Continue date nights with your partner after having children
- Never make someone a priority who only makes you an option
- Clean less
So there you have it. Do any of these resonate with you? Personally number 37 is a bit of a favourite and I’ve never had any trouble with number 50!
I guess the main takeaway from this which we should all remember is simply “life is shorter than you think”.