Marcus Today on Life – Dont Let the Old Man in

ASK YOURSELF HOW OLD YOU’D BE…IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW THE DAY YOU WERE BORN The Mule is a recent film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood is now 88 and plays the lead role as a grumpy old man who goes out kicking. It leaves you wondering whether the film doesn’t reflect a lot of Eastwood's own reality, and that of a lot the Twilight generation, as it provides a window on “limited lifespan” living which in this case includes "not giving a damn about just about everything", to the point of his “casual acceptance of corruption”. The soundtrack to the film is a Country and Western song by Toby Keith who, the story goes, met Eastwood on a film set and asked him how he kept up the pace. “Don’t let the old man in” was the reply and that’s the name of the title track. It has the thought-provoking line “Ask yourself how old you’d be if you didn’t know the day you were born”. You can listen to that on the video at the bottom of the article. When it comes to the stock market and the twilight years, I am reminded of a talk I gave over a decade ago at the RACV Club. It was in the middle of the day and naturally enough after my hilarious dissertation on the benefits of long term investment one senior member quickly stood up and took the floor. “What is it about you stockbrokers,” he said, “that you all seem to think that old people are long term investors.” We do don’t we. He continued. “In fact this very morning my stockbroker rang me and started talking to me about Telstra’s five-year plan and the benefits of reinvesting dividends and achieving long term compound returns”. “But I am 79,” he said “and according to my insurance company’s actuaries, that means I have just 3.5 years to live. Mate, I have absolutely no interest in Telstra’s five-year plan because, quite simply, I’ll be dead.” A mild ripple of applause. He went on: “I don’t want long term returns, so stop selling them to me, I want income, I want enough to be ripping up Route 66 on a Triumph Rocket, or schmoozing babes in the Roman Room at the Ritz. Not listening to Telstra’s five-year plan. So don’t give me your long term compound growth bullshit. Give me sex. And give it to me now!” And like a blue-rinsed thundercloud, the midday crowd at the RACV Club rose as one to ovate him. “So what are you doing here,” I said, “Why aren’t you in the Roman Room at the Ritz?” I asked. He replied “Well there’s something else you need to know young man. There comes a time in your life when things move not in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years, but in organs, and when the only organ in your body that can still pump blood is your brain, the stock market is as close to sex as you can get. So here I am”. An AIA (Australian Investment Association) Member, Robert C Gould, wrote a book a couple of years ago called “Don’t Let the Old Man/Girl in”. It might interest some of you. The cover says that “He/She never knocks. He/She rings no bell. He/She slides in unseen. And then….that old Man/Woman…is YOU!”. It is aimed at people over 60 and delivers Fifteen Commandments. Here they are:
  1. Accept a social invitation always – you will never experience amazing outcomes, exciting new plans, fresh faces and surprises if you don’t.
  2. Be athletic one hour each day – move in any way you can for one hour a day without compromise. The benefits are, quite simply, priceless.
  3. Adopt role models – study/adopt the traits of the admirable, people who have taken the risk and got a result – it reduces risk, saves time and the result is known.
  4. Be a gentle man/woman – the magic of gentleness over anger, bitterness and grumpiness.
  5. Dress half your age – slumped physiques shrouded in dull, colourless, shapeless garments say old. When you look old, others see you as old and treat you as old. So you are old.
  6. Watch over your family – as you get older, you are promoted to non-executive director of your family’s board of directors. You are a readily available source of wisdom.
  7. Mow your own lawn – relying on others to do simple tasks means losing self-reliance. Develop self-reliance.
  8. Do a good turn every day – it nourishes your soul.
  9. Foster a sense of the ridiculous – die smiling. Having a sense of fun, seeing the funny side, being of good humour, ready smiles, bright eyes and a lightness of being attract family and friends.
  10. Drop the drink – as you age your body will not cope with maintained alcoholic intake, reduce your consumption.
  11. Lose weight, just shrink – there are no fat old men. How do you handicap a racing thoroughbred? Place weights on them to slow them down.
  12. (S)train your brain – or lose your mind. Brains are like brawn. Lifts mental weights.
  13. Live within your means – money is not important, but it is up there with oxygen. Develop financial toughness, be financially honest, deal with your own financial facts.
  14. Unload stuff, let it go – you are no longer in the accumulation phase. The competition for the best cars, houses, boats…is over. Hold, make do, or replace. Being a material man wearies you, it is behind you. Unload and de-clutter. Throwing away stuff makes you feel free.
  15. Aspire to a simple life – disengage from activities that create hassle and anguish. Do not compound your own life’s complexities with those of others.
My Dad is 85. He is in a nursing home on the Isle of Wight. He is older than he needs to be. I wish he had taken some note of this list – exercising in particular. I am playing golf with people older than him – one in particular who continues to beat his age off the stick. Maybe there is something in this for you too, before its too late. Enjoy this video while you read it again. The song is "Don't let the old man in" by Toby Keith.

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