Terry Morrow is a good friend of mine, and a few years ago we had an interesting conversation.
“Well, Gord, where do you think you are in life?”
I gave him a stunned look and replied, “What do you mean?”
“Well,” Terry said, “We’re in the final third. The final third of our lives.” That phrase will stick in my mind forever.
It was December 2017. I had just turned 60 and had just returned home from my first overseas holiday to Iceland and Ireland. I had worked for over 42 years at CIBC, and was getting tired of the job and taking its problems home with me every night.
I looked at my investment holdings. The last 10 years had been good for the equity markets and with dollar cost averaging and dividend reinvestment, I had more than enough money. I decided to retire and did so on July 2, 2018.
I’ve been single all my life, but I do like volunteer work and being involved in the community. This Observer reporting job has been good to me. And that’s what’s brought me to the final third.
I know a lot of good people that work hard but are having a tough time making ends meet and raising their families. Wage increases are not keeping with inflation. Many are struggling just paying for gas, water and power.
But on the flip side, I know of many that carry thousands of dollars in their chequing accounts and others are millionaires many times over.
That is the point of my opinion piece. Why in the world do people hang on to their money? People die tragically and without notice every single day. Why take it to the grave?
Buying day-old bread for a few cents off? No name ketchup instead of Heinz? Compliments ice cream instead of Dairy Queen or Chapman’s? A flip phone instead of an Apple?
Driving a rusted old 2003 jalopy with millions in the bank? Not renovating your house because the cost of lumber is too high? Not generously tipping a waitress? Not going out because it costs too much? Hoping and waiting that prices will go down? Not likely.
We are all guilty of procrastinating. And one day, we will look in the mirror and ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I do this before? I had the money. I simply liked looking at the balance in my bank account.”
My twin nephews will be inheriting a good sum of money when I am dead and gone but I am trying my best to kickstart the economy while I am alive and well. Since retiring, I have visited Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. I am travelling to Egypt and Jordan next month with more trips planned in the coming years.
Once the 2023 models are out, I plan on trading in my vehicle. Likely to another Lincoln or maybe a Tesla.
And, after all these years, I have recently completed thousands of dollars in home renovations. New cupboards, appliances, blinds, flooring and paint throughout. Nearly everything was purchased locally which helps our local businesses.
So, to all of you with money. Get out there and spend it! Buy a car, renovate your home, donate to a worthy cause. Quit complaining about the price of gas and the amount of income tax you pay. Spend your money, don’t keep it in mothballs. And if you’re of that age, enjoy living your final third