Carla Seely Column: ‘A Wise Man Once Said’

June 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

[Written by Carla Seely]

A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking with my 98-year-old grandfather who, until quite recently, was actually still living in his own home. What amazes me about my grandfather is although he is physically starting to slow down, mentally he is still “quick as a whip” and is never short of an opinion.

Carla Seely Bermuda Nov 21 2015 TC

We chatted for a while and he told me about his sister [my great-aunt], who struggled financially most of her life because, as he put it, “she might have made two pounds, but she always spent three”. He said he struggles to even recognise the world he lives in now, as over the course of many generations we have slowly lost the concept of reality. So I asked him for some pointers and this is what he gave me:

a] Save a dollar for every dollar you spend

If you allow more cash to head out the door than you save, you are always going to be swimming against the current.

b] New doesn’t always mean better

Second-hand stores don’t just help families and people in need. They allow regular, everyday people to keep more money in their pockets.

c] Learn how to fix and maintain what you already have

Learn to fix things instead of simply replacing them. Most of us have that one relative or neighbour who has those “MacGyver skills” and who can fix a lawnmower with a ball of string… learn from them.

d] Don’t be wasteful

Reuse what you have. Think of another use for the item before it is worn out and must be thrown away.

e] Pension is your pathway to your future

Always put more than the mandatory amount away each month: your end game must be as important as the here and now.

f] Learn how to cook

It’s cheaper than eating out and it’s a great way to bring family together.

g] Be prepared

Bad luck happens to everyone, no one is immune. It doesn’t matter what happens; it’s how you prepare for it that counts.

h] Credit will destroy your finances if not used wisely

He reminded me how he didn’t get his first credit card until he was 62 years old, and then it was only because he was going overseas and couldn’t book a rental car without one.

i] Life is full of sacrifices

What are you prepared to give up in order to get what you want? You can’t have it both ways.

j] Being envious and jealous is childish

There are always going to be people who have more than you. The question is, why do you care?

It’s amazing how differently we view life now. We have placed our wants before our needs, refused to save for that rainy day, and have a desperate need to feel accepted by a society which places such importance on climbing the social ladder. So how do we get back to reality and stop living in a land of make-believe?

Should we follow the advice of a “wise old man” who was born in 1919, learned how to make lemonade from lemons and was wise enough to end up owning the whole orchard?

Clearly, our focus must shift, and we need to retrain our brains to make our finances a priority; whether that is sitting down and creating a realistic budget or increasing our pension savings, it is essential to create a plan that will ultimately pave the way to financial freedom.

- Carla Seely is the Vice President of Pension and Investments at Freisenbruch-Meyer. If you would like any further details, please contact her at cseely@fmgroup.bm or call 441 297 8686.

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