Just because I am 95, doesn’t mean I have to act 95!
This was one of the many pearls of wisdom from my grandmother on her 95th birthday.
We are very blessed in my family to have four generations still with us; my grandmother (95), her eldest, my Mum (77), me the eldest grandchild (56) and my daughter, who is the eldest great grandchild (31).
Because we live in different towns, it’s not often that the four of us are together, so this year, being a milestone birthday, we decided to spend a special weekend together.
My grandmother is an amazingly resilient woman. She lives independently, has her daily walk, enjoys a very active social life and has only recently given up her volunteer work at the hospital – looking after the old people would you believe! As she says, she has a good life.
My parents emigrated to New Zealand from England in 1960 as young newlyweds and the 6 week boat trip doubled as their honeymoon. They left behind friends and family and landed in New Zealand knowing no one. But they came for a new and better life and over the next 60 years they worked hard and created just that.
Five years after my parents took the big leap, my grandparents, great grandparents, my four aunts and uncles, having got very envious of the life of ‘milk and honey’ scenes in the photos and described in dozens of letters, decided to join them.
My grandparents always rented, they never bought their own home. Maybe because they were a larger family unit bringing up four children (number 5 was born here), plus supporting elderly relatives and money was always tight, or maybe it was what they were used to in the old country.
This brings us to the present and the four generations of us sitting in the lounge of her little home, chatting about anything and everything. There were some pearls of wisdom that came out of the day, here are just some of the lessons that I learned from my lovely grandmother.
Lesson 1. Manage your money well and spend it on the things you enjoy.
Grandma doesn’t have a lot of money, but she applies great wisdom to it. She uses the ‘Bucket’ system and one of these accounts is for her fixed cost bills (power, phone, etc), so she always knows that these are always covered and doesn’t have to give them another thought.
She even has a Rainy Day account, just in case. If she had to call out the doctor, for example, she knows she can and so has peace of mind.
The rest of her money is for her to enjoy and this is how she allocates that.
She loves to cook and bake, so buying good quality food is important to her. She is very smart in her shopping, loves a bargain and while she lives alone, she still batch cooks. She will cook a full roast with all the trimmings (and lots of gravy, hmmmmm), then portion it into single serves and freeze it. Not only does this mean she eats very well, she is also bringing her portion costs down by buying in bulk.
She has a very active social life and has no hesitation to use taxis if she needs to instead of public transport (she can’t get her head around Uber 😊). By being clever with her grocery spend, most days she meets up with her friends for coffee.
Next on her list is her hair (which woman doesn’t have this!). She was a model in her younger days so looking good is still important to her and every 6 weeks you can find her at her hairdressers. A chance to have a good chat and catch up on the latest magazines.
What I love about Grandma’s money management system is that she intuitively (and from necessity) uses a system that we teach our clients – the Bucket system, so she knows that all her bills are covered.
She doesn’t have a budget. She quite happy with her Bucket system and allocates her money according to what is important to her and what makes her happy.
There was an interesting conversation between Mum and Grandma during the weekend. Mum couldn’t get her head around why she still went to the hairdresser, surely that was an unnecessary expense. But my grandmother ardently disagreed.
You see, Mum didn’t see that the hairdresser wasn’t just for her hair, yet Mum is totally happy going out for coffee with her friends. Grandma’s visit to her hairdresser was just has important as my Mum’s coffee with her friends. It’s not so much the hair (although, as I said, she does like to look nice) as much as it’s a social thing and of course feeling good about herself. It is a need.
Lesson 2. Just because I am 95, doesn’t mean I have to act 95! We have choices.
We don’t have to conform to the stereo types around age, sex or race.
We can choose to be happy, we can choose to be grumpy, we can choose to be anything we like!
We can choose to be fit and active or we can choose a sedentary life.
We can choose to act broke, or we can make the most of what we have and enjoy ourselves.
What choices are you making and who is making them?
My mentor psychiatrist Dr. David Krueger says, “if you don’t start making your own choices, someone else will make them for you and you might not like what they choose for you.”
Start examining your life choices now and if you don’t like what you see, it’s time to make some changes.
Lesson 3. Eat the best food you can, stay active, look after your social connections.
That’s her secret to reaching 95, although good genes probably help.
If you are struggling to work out your own financial priorities or just have no idea what you are doing with your money and want to make some changes, then come and talk to me. I can help you build a money management system that is tailored to your needs, fits with your lifestyle and will help you achieve your financial goals.
When you are ready to talk, we are here to listen and help. Drop us an email or click on this link to find a day and time that suits you to have a chat with us, we’re really very friendly. Best of all – it’s free!