Is Over 50 Too Old?

I recently turned 54.

When I was young, 54 years old was ancient, nearly a Grandpa.

Now that I’m 54, I don’t feel any different than I did at 20; in fact, I feel even more pumped up than I did back then.

Every year I set my goals that I want to accomplish. The last few years I have upped the game and focused on fewer goals, but ones that are more impactful.

This year was no exception. My big goals focused on relationships, side income and fitness. I feel good about the other areas of my life; career, spiritual and emotional.

1. Relationships

I have an introverted side that is harmful to my relationships with others, especially my wife and daughters and closest friends. I am making a conscious effort in 2015 to spend more time with those I care about.

It means less time on projects and I have to estimate that they will take longer than they have in the past. So what. People are more important.

My conversation skills leave a lot to be desired, so when I want to hang with a friend, I invite two or more and that makes things easy for me to keep the talk going.

Time with my family can be as little as watching a TV show once a week, or going out to dinner and talking. I have also made an effort to be more thoughtful on occasions like Valentine’s Day and leaving notes to tell my wife and daughters I love them.

2. Fitness

I ate like a pig over the holidays, and I gained a few pounds.

I fasted one day and lost it all. My body fat percentage is still high; I want it to be 10% and I’m at 12.5%, but I don’t want my weight to drop too. I want to keep the muscle I’ve gained over the past year.

Mapping out my progress on my monthly basis has been great. My monthly goals are small enough to be achievable. For example, in February I need to maintain my weight but reduce my body fat percentage to 12%. I can do that easily.

I have also been motivated this year to accomplish feats of strength; 25 pull ups and 25 hand-stand push ups, for example.

I listened to a podcast where a guy was in the gym and watched “an old guy over 50” do 22 hand-stand push ups. The guy speaking on the podcast was motivated by the old guy and decided to become a personal trainer. It motivated me to want to break that guy’s record, and I did it last month. I am up to 26 hand-stand push ups, whereas a year ago I couldn’t do one.

3. Side Incomes

I believe that a person should never fully retire.

What I mean is to never sit around the house and watch TV, living off of social security.

I want to have side incomes (several) that will provide enough income that I don’t have to drain my savings when I quit my job. I also want these side incomes to involve activities that I love doing.

If I make $10K per year off of five activities, that is $50K of income that I won’t have to pull out of my savings and it will last longer. Plus I will enjoy doing them.

Last year, I took a course on trading stock options. I really enjoy trading and can see myself doing this until the day I die. I paper traded for months, but moved to trading real money and made a profit in January. I also started trading options from my IRA account, a few months ago, and I’m about even despite getting into some oil stocks (these are making a nice come-back).

I decided to try and market my personal finance knowledge in a product I call Visual Money Pilot. This is an Excel spreadsheet that provides a simple method to budget, save, payoff debt and monitor your net worth in a nice time-efficient manner.

It has worked for me and I want to show others how to do it.

It took almost a year to put together the spreadsheets, write the ebook and record the training videos. I went online this month. I am hoping to sell several of these per month and that it will lead to some personal finance coaching clients.

I have taken several writing classes with the hopes to one day write a book. It is a ten year plan for me. I know I don’t have the skill level right now, but improving a little bit each year will get me there.

Later in the year, I will brainstorm what I try next.

SUMMARY

Hopefully you are like me; over 50 and still feel like you have more to learn and give. I personally am looking forward to the rest of my fifties and my sixties and what I will do with my time.

Thank you for reading this post. I appreciate you doing so.

Investing in Education

the value of education

I recently heard a quote from someone that went “If you put money into your mind no one can ever take it away from you”.

That hits home with me. I am a lover of learning. My dream job would be to be a professional student and spend the rest of my life learning new things. Funny how things come full-circle. I hated school as a kid. Of course, I used to hate vegetables and now I love them too. It makes me think of my last blog post where I go back in time to talk to my younger self LINK.

I thought for this post that I would share all the ways I learn.

1. READ QUALITY BOOKS

I keep a list of books to read. There are lists like this one LINK that display the top fiction books ever written. Many of these books make everyone’s list and the reason they do is cause they are timeless classics that are really really good. Everyone should read them.

Non-fiction book titles I find from reading other people’s blogs or listening to podcasts. The good thing about many of these top non-fiction books is they are relatively short and can be devoured in a day or two. I try to read at least 52 books per year. It is easy to read a short non-fiction book every week, but a long fiction story like War and Peace may take several months to read. I find that summarizing the book or following along with book summaries helps a great deal with the comprehension.

One of the most valuable skills I have learned is to read faster. I was around 200 wpm and now I’m at about 350 wpm and want to get to around 800-1000 wpm, or 4-5x faster than I used to be. Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett stated reading as their most valuable source of learning.

2. RESEARCH ON THE INTERNET

Yes, there is a lot of mis-information out there, but there is a lot of great, often free, information too. I subscribe to a number of blogs and podcasts and keep those I really like and get rid of those that don’t interest me. I not only learn from each of these sources, but frequently the host will introduce me to other people or resources that are valuable. Try a podcast like “Entreprenuers on Fire” with John Lee Dumas. He interviews an entrepreneur every day, seven days a week and always asks for their favorite internet resource and book. I have learned much from listening to that podcast.

3. CLASSES

I spend a couple grand a year on classes. This year alone I spent about five thousand dollars. In the Spring, I studied under a coach by the name of Dan Faggella and he has helped me develop a product that I will begin selling this month. He taught me things that would have taken me months or years to learn and in less than six months from starting to work with him, I will have a product for sale.

In the next month, I have two classes; one I will travel to North Carolina to study stock option trading for three and a half days and in October I will travel to Florida to spend two days with Jon Morrow, a master blogger.

Yes these are expensive classes, but I actually budget money towards education and I know I will get a great return on my investment. Plus, I just love learning from people who are at the top of their fields. Not only do you receive great training but the amount of time it takes you to develop the skills is reduced tremendously and as we know, time is money.

I also believe there is a mindset shift when you spend good money on education. You tell yourself you are going to use this information and you will be successful with it and it eliminates a lot of fear and procrastination. You treat the learning like a job and you are accountable to someone to complete tasks at specified times, with a coach who can correct you or encourage you. It is like education on steroids.

4. TRAVEL

I have traveled to 46 states and nine countries. I have learned from almost every trip I have taken.

Experiencing different cultures, scenery, food, people, and music stimulates the mind. Some places are so different that you can’t even imagine what they are like unless you are there first-hand. Last year, my wife and I went to the middle east for three weeks and that area is culture shock for an American. It is amazing to view places you’ve only read about in history books. I realized I love middle eastern food, the Arabic language is very beautiful, and the area is not as dangerous as I had imagined (although things have changed quite a bit this year). The people we met were wonderful and their friendliness puts many Americans to shame.

I have made travel one of my lifetime goals. I hope to visit 50 or more countries.

5. HOBBIES

I have many hobbies, probably too many. I learn from each of them. Sometimes it is as simple as I learn what I love to do and what I don’t love to do.

Some hobbies, like playing instruments and fitness, have been with me most of my life. Others like working on cars have come and gone because I have no aptitude for them, but hey you never know until you try.

This year I have tried drawing and surprisingly, I have some ability in this area. I never tried before because I thought you were born an artist, but you can learn some techniques. I try one new hobby a year. You never know if you’re the world’s best at something unless you give it a chance.

SUMMARY

While there is currently debate on the value of going to college, educating yourself through methods like those above is worth every penny…at least I believe so. Some of the methods like reading and some hobbies are no or low cost to you. Others like world travel and spending time with top coaches can be expensive, but if the subject is worth it to you, think of the time you’ll save and the skill levels you will jump and whether the benefits out-weigh investing in education.