What I Learned From a 99 Year Old Retiree
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from my favorite retiree…
- He taught me how to plant a garden
- How to catch a fish
- When I was 15, he let me drive his car
- I’m pretty sure I learned sarcasm from him
- He taught me how to gently care for loved ones
- He also risked his life to protect those same loved ones.
And countless other lessons along the way.
Today I want to tell you a little bit about my grandpa… his retirement experience… and the legacy he is still leaving for generations to come.
Happy Birthday to Grandpa!
This week, my grandpa turned 99 years old.
But because of the coronavirus crisis, we couldn’t celebrate in person.
So instead, we did the best we could with what we had. And I’m so thankful that each of my kids was able to spend a little time on FaceTime wishing him a happy birthday.
Even just shy of a century old, Grandpa is still the perfect picture of health.
He lives by himself, takes care of his dog Trooper and drives his Jeep to my parents house two miles away. They’re basically “sheltering in place” together so my parents can help him with anything he needs.
Grandpa still has a sharp mind with a witty sense of humor. Just this week he was joking with my son David about how fast his car would drive and asking me about some of my research on Deere (DE) the tractor company.
I hope when I’m 99 years old, I have just as much energy as he does — plus the mental sharpness to be able to enjoy good conversations with my kids, my grandkids, and who knows… maybe even my great grandkids!
A Good Retiree and a GREAT Man
Some of you may remember me talking about Grandpa and the way he approaches retirement.
Officially, Grandpa retired as a tool and die maker for a manufacturing company decades ago. But as he likes to say, “I don’t let a lot of grass grow under my feet.”
He stayed busy after retiring doing a lot of jobs — some that paid, and some that were just for his enjoyment.
- He is well known in Indiana for his epic vegetable garden
- He delivered office supplies for a local business
- He fixes everything for everyone (furniture, engines, tools, you name it!)
- He and a crew drove vehicles across the country for dealerships
- He helped some local businesses with administrative tasks.
And all of this while caring for a physically challenged daughter and being an amazing husband to my Grandma. (She passed away five years ago and we all miss her deeply.)
I really don’t know how Grandpa finds the time for all the things he does. Even now, at 99 years old!
But I do know that he’s living a full and rich life, focusing on the things that really matter — which is the way retirement really should be!
Pushing Through Adversity With a Smile
I truly wish you could meet my grandpa today.
If you spent just 5 minutes with him, you wouldn’t be able to get his smile and his laugh out of your mind. He’s just got an infectiously joyful personality.
But just because he smiles all the time doesn’t mean his life has been easy.
Grandpa fought his way through Europe during WWII. And I know he lost a lot of buddies along the way. I remember him tearing up several times when I asked about what the experience was like.
Grandpa also had his share of sadness with family members as well. I remember my great-grandparents (his parents) and Grandpa lovingly caring for them as they aged and eventually passed away when I was a child.
And I already told you about Grandpa caring for my Aunt and my Grandma for years. Pushing through what must have been very challenging days — sometimes for weeks on end.
He’s lived though economically prosperous times, and seasons full of uncertainty and loss.
Yet, despite the challenges I’ve seen him walk through, Grandpa has always kept his head up, maintained a positive attitude, and made sure his family members knew that they were loved.
That’s an important lesson for all of us — especially in this period of uncertainty with the coronavirus crisis.
I’m truly grateful for the example that Grandpa has given me — and my kids — of a man who is enjoying his retirement throughout many different seasons and circumstances. He’s figured out ways to make ends meet, while still focusing on the things that really matter.
That’s exactly what I want for all of us during those great retirement years!
So tomorrow, we’ll get back to talking about markets, retirement, and growing and protecting your wealth.
But today, I wanted to celebrate the life of my Grandpa. And hopefully his legacy can be an inspiration to you as well!
Here’s to growing and protecting your wealth!
P.S. If you’ve got a similar person in your life who has been a great example… Or if you have questions about how to make your retirement funds last… Or even if you just want to wish my grandpa a happy birthday… I’d love to hear from you! Send me an email at EdgeFeedback@StPaulResearch.com.