Editor’s Note: The Bonner & Partners offices are closed for the holidays. But don’t worry, you’ll still receive Bill’s daily Diary right to your inbox. Today, Bill examines what it means to live well, and why America’s boomers need perspective now more than ever.
What should you do if you are running out of time and money?
This is the question we get from readers over 50… over 60… and sometimes over 70.
We baby boomers were famously saying “Na… na… na… Live for today.” Now, it’s tomorrow. And many of us – often through no fault of our own – are having trouble making ends meet.
In the Diary, we write about the world of money. About economic policy and how it affects us.
But what if, in your world of money, you are running short? What should you do to get more?
Check under the seat cushions? Rob a bank?
What Really Matters
You are 70. You have no money. What do you do?
Sell your body for medical experiments? Invent a new app?
Sophisticated trading systems and expensive investment programs are not a good idea if you fall into this category.
They are for people who have money already. If you have money, want more, and enjoy the thrill and challenge of financial adventure, they can be highly lucrative.
But what if you don’t have money already?
We don’t know anything more than anyone else on the subject. We don’t have any secrets. But after thinking about it, we have some ideas.
This is not advice. This is just what we would do if we were in that situation…
First, we would go back to philosophy – Democritus, Epicurus, Zeno, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Lucretius (not to mention Jesus of Nazareth!).
They argued – albeit in different ways – that what matters in life has little to do with wealth or status. What matters (at least according to Plato’s description) are courage, wisdom, justice, and temperance.
We would add beauty and dignity. And a good wine. And a good cook. But nowhere on the list is a Rolex or a house in Malibu.
The nice thing about Plato’s list… as well as the whole Epicurean/Stoic/Ascetic creed… is that it doesn’t cost much!
As many philosophers and religious teachers have said, wealth may get in the way of the things that matter. It may distract you and reduce your real happiness.
You may be better off without it…
A Better Philosophy
We are not ducking the question. We are just putting it in context.
If you want more money, you first have to understand what you want it for… and how it might affect your life.
Our goal is not to “come to terms” with financial misery. Nor is it to submit to poverty – even happily. Instead, we want to master poverty… to live better.
As Nietzsche put it, we aim to “set to dancing with arms and legs.” And for that, we need context.
Tomorrow – a simpler, better philosophy… and how to use it to get more money!