Battered, Broke, Bankrupt, and Old? - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Battered, Broke, Bankrupt, and Old?

Dec 05, 2014


One of my readers, PT, sent me the following "confession":

I have no savings, no significant assets, and bad credit. And to make matters worse, I just hit 60 and I feel like everything is suddenly starting to go wrong with my body!

Give it to me straight, Mark. Is it even possible to save myself at this point?

If you have ever felt financially or physically "old," this essay should be helpful. For the answer to PT's question is yes. And not a qualified yes - a definitive yes!

Virtually all financial and most health problems can be solved. When you are young, you feel the truth of this instinctively. But as you age, your psyche's natural optimism sometimes fades. The burden of debt and joblessness - even aches and pains - seems terminal.

But that is an illusion. You can fix all your financial problems, one by one. And you can acquire wealth. In fact, if you really want to work at it, you can become wealthy in seven years or fewer. And you can do all this starting at age 60.

Things are easier now for older people. Sixty is the new 40!

What You Can Do in Your 60s

Let's begin with PT's health issues, since without good health, it is difficult to put your full energy into your business and financial objectives.

He doesn't have a terminal illness. He has diminished energy, occasional muscular fatigue, chronic aches and pains, and the growing feeling that his body is "falling apart."

Your doctor may tell you that these are inevitable symptoms of aging. And there is no doubt that the body is designed to wind itself down as it ages.

But that doesn't mean that you have to give in to physical debilitation and the mental gloom that goes with it. By taking advantage of new discoveries in nutrition and exercise science, you can be strong, energetic, and pain-free all the way through your 70s and even your 80s.

I provide myself as your example. I come from a family that is predisposed to obesity, heart and digestive problems, and depression. My genetic bad coding started messing with me in my late 30s.

Knowing next to nothing about nutrition, I spent about 20 years gaining and losing weight as my strength, flexibility, and stamina gradually diminished. Then, in my early 50s, I began consulting for the natural health industry. This gave me an inside view at all sorts of breakthrough studies that helped me understand how I could eat, exercise, and relax more profitably.

Today, at 63, I'm in very good shape. I'm not what I was at 25, but I'm able to work 16 hours non-stop, wrestle with men less than half my age, and spend six days climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

About a year ago, I took a battery of tests that measure my "relative age" in terms of lung capacity (extremely important), visual and mental acuity, heart strength, and even something that measured the flexibility of my blood vessels. In every area, I tested at least 10 years younger than I am. In several areas, I tested 20-plus years younger.

The point: You can regain some measure of youthful vigour, stamina, and optimism by implementing a good eating, exercise, and sleep routine...

Accomplish great things at any age
Source: Arvind Balaraman / Shutterstock

How Much Can You Accomplish?

Behind PT's question is a common prejudice: that our years for being productive are between 30 and 60. There is no doubt that you can change the world in that middle third of your life. But you can accomplish great things in the last third, too.

To prove the point, here are a few examples of what these well-known people have been able to do in their 60s (or thereabouts):

  • Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, was 65 when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC. As demand for his tasty chicken grew, Sanders opened a restaurant. And the rest, as they say, is history.

  • In 1954, at the age of 52, Ray Kroc opened a hamburger stand - when most people his age were retiring. Kroc revolutionized the fast-food business when this hamburger stand eventually became McDonald's.

  • Car icon and businessman Henry Ford was 60 years old when he created the first car assembly line.

  • At 70 years old, Golda Meir became the fourth prime minister of Israel - and the first woman to hold the post.

  • In 2004, at the age of 82, Robert Galvin, retired longtime CEO of Motorola, started Galvin Electricity Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to transforming and improving the nation's power grid to 21st-century standards.

Consider this: As of 2009, the latest year for which information is available, persons reaching age 65 had an average life expectancy of an additional 18.8 years (20 years for females and 17.3 years for males). That means we sexagenarians have many more years to live well and thrive!

How to "Save" Your Financial Future

Do you empathize with PT? Here's my advice.

First, stop reading all the doom-and-gloom material that is out there. Yes, debt burdens our world economy. And yes, that debt will be paid one way or another. But you are not going to make yourself any richer by worrying about it.

Spend your reading time about motivational subjects and acquiring knowledge.

Second, believe this: It is perfectly possible - even likely - to eliminate debt and acquire wealth within seven years if you are willing to do the right things.

That seven-year term is a personal projection, but it's not without basis. It comes from what I've done many times over in my own life and what I've been able to help other people do many times over.

When you are young, seven years seems like an eternity. But at 60, you now know that it will pass faster than the blink of an eye. That's why it's so important for you to take my advice seriously and put it to work immediately. If you wait even a week to get started, you will find it easy to push it off another week and then a month, and before you know it, those seven years will have passed, and you will be in the same bind you are in now.

The third thing you must do is take responsibility for the financial mess you are in.

There is no doubt that you have been lied to and misled. There is no doubt that you have been preyed upon by a host of "wealth stealers" - bankers, brokers, lawyers, insurance agents, and medical professionals whose job is to separate their clients from their money. There is no doubt that the government has been taking its pound of flesh from you while you struggle to survive.

But none of that really matters. These forces and people don't care about your financial problems. They won't help you. You must accept the fact that only you can turn your life around. You have to step up to the plate. You must make a serious personal commitment to change.

Don't Forget to Live Rich

I don't believe in "retiring" in the traditional sense. I don't believe in giving up meaningful work, for example. I have many friends who tried replacing work with golfing and grew tired of it all too quickly. Of all the activities one can do in retirement, golf is probably the worst because it defies what you want to do with your time: improving yourself by practicing something that you think is useful. If you are not a professional golfer, you can't possibly say golfing is useful. And as to improving your skills? It just doesn't happen!

Another great mistake people make when they retire is that they give up their active income. There is nothing you will regret more - in terms of financial decisions - than to substitute passive income for an active one.

The Bottom Line

Being 60-plus years old is not a problem. It's an opportunity. You are older now, and that means you should be wiser. You should be able to use that wisdom to make good choices.


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5 Responses to "Battered, Broke, Bankrupt, and Old?"


17 May, 2015

We have only two options in life; either to WEAR OUT or RUST OUT. It is better to wear out because we will enjoy our life by being active in some useful avocation, we will be productive to others as well. Further being in touch with positive and productive people, we will also develop our skill to remain active. Living requires planning and effort and not DYING!. Your approach to life is positive and useful to others.


26 Dec, 2014

just Iam going to retaire after 9 month i.e on 1-10-2015 .what to do I apresiate the idea of use wisdom to make dood choices do something keep busy.

Like (2)

Manoharan Ramasamy

14 Dec, 2014

Dear Mark, My hearty thanks to you for your encouraging article. I am an optimist. As I am 60 years old at present, I start feeling differently. However, this article encourages me to feel more confident ! Please keep it up !!

Like (1)

shriram singh

12 Dec, 2014

what is this seven year activity?

Like (2)

Mohanlal Bareja

05 Dec, 2014

My dt of birth is 02-10-1941, I am of 73 now and my children are well and are living with me in my made house in a posh colony. But we hasband and wife don`t want any help from them and we are running a small shop of photostate E-ticketing and Patanjali Retailers. Otherwise I am a retired engineer and well in health I think now even we can save a bit for our last years. We don`t know whether it is 5 or 10 yrs or so. I am trying to be a member of your club and we have paid 1st instalment of Rs6244. And out of your lessons I have learnt and decided to save at least this amount. Now what do you advise? We should make this saving a routine or we should be greedy to become the member?

Like (1)

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