Read “Still Stupid at Sixty” so that you’re not still stupid at seventy
Blake Steven’s book is one of those rare books that actually triggered a change in behavior in me. I’ll tell you how in a bit, but first, a little about the book, “Still Stupid at Sixty.”
Mr. Stevens looks back on a lifetime of poor financial and lifestyle decisions that leaves him financially strapped at the age of sixty and unable to retire despite earning huge salaries at the peak of his career. He shares anecdotes from his life, and is brutally honest in identifying poor decisions he had made in pursuit of the trappings of wealth, indulging his interests, overestimating the value of convenience and comfort, etc. He analyzes his mistakes, provides examples of what he could have done differently, and provides tips on how you can avoid heading down his path in life. And best, he does all that in a way that comes across as practical without being preachy.
On the one hand, I don’t have many of the “demons” that Mr. Stevens does. I religiously price-shop, agonize over small purchases for myself (I once spent two weeks debating whether to buy a $40 handbag…), am militantly set against buying decorations for my home, and house-hunted for two years before finally taking advantage of a depressed real-estate market to nail the best deal my real estate agent has ever seen in his career.
But on the other hand, I have “demons” of my own. I hate cooking, so we eat out frequently as a family. We appear to toss out at least half of the food we bring into the house because it actually sits around long enough to spoil in the fridge. We indulge our children, I confess, excessively. My instinctive response to my son’s, “Mom, I want a…” is to go straight to Amazon to buy it. As it is, there are enough “one-offs” each month in our credit card bill that add up to a substantial amount over time.
Mr. Steven’s cure is not to hack and slash. It’s about trimming down the excesses. An unrealistic diet won’t work, but cutting out a few calories here and there, regularly likely will. He offers many practical ways to trim down the excesses without noticeably impacting the quality of your lifestyle. His prescription is both realistic and acceptable. (Besides, the word “deprivation” makes me shudder.)
I’m glad I’m reading this book prior to the age of forty, when I’m still within my prime earning years, so that I can avoid writing the book “Still Stupid at Seventy.”
I mentioned that his book actually promoted a change in my behavior. Today, I cooked dinner with the food we had in the fridge and freezer. We had chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce, and snap peas with large shrimp (oxymoron, yes, I know) and pineapple in a mango chutney sauce, served over steamed rice. It was almost as good as a restaurant, and we saved at least $50-60. (Enough for another handbag…)