In a Dec. 15 story posted on billboard.com, singer and songwriter Toby Keith explained how Clint Eastwood inspired the hit song, “Don’t Let the Old Man In.”
Sharing a golf cart at the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am 3M Celebrity Challenge, Eastwood mentioned that he would be starting work in two days on a new movie, “The Mule,” in which he was both director and star. The production start date happened to be Eastwood’s 88th birthday.
Per the story, “Struck by Eastwood’s relentless energy at an age when many are content to sit and reflect, Keith asked how he keeps going?” Eastwood replied, ‘“I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in.”’
Inspired, Keith wrote the song featured in the film.
As the age wave rolls on, the youngest members of the Traditionalist generation (1925-1944) turn 75 this year. The oldest members of the Baby Boomer cohort (1945-1964) turn 74, moving deeper into Medicare and Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) territory. Conversations about retirement, cash flow sustainability, aches and pains, and golf scores are major topics.
You know exactly how old you are, but as the renowned philosopher Satchel Paige asked, “How old would you be if you didn’t know?”
In the Biblical creation story we are told, “The Lord from the earth created man, and in his own image he made him. Limited days of life he gives him and makes him return to the earth again.” (Sirach 17:1-2) We cannot escape the fact that we are mortal as well as spiritual beings. When we will “return to the earth” only our Creator knows. In our journey to our eternal spiritual home we will encounter the slings and arrows of life, ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies, pleasures and pains.
Aging is a fact. How we handle it is up to us, including the choices we make. Channeling Satchel Paige and Charles (Chuck) Swindoll, our attitude about aging is more important than the fact of chronological age.
Swindoll, who will be 85 in October, is a Christian pastor, author, educator, and founder of Insight for Living in Texas. He famously observed, “Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, money, circumstances, than failures and success, than what other people think, say, or do. It is more important than appearance, ability, or skill. It will make or break a business, a home, a friendship, an organization. The remarkable thing is I have a choice every day of what my attitude will be. I cannot change my past. I cannot change the actions of others. I cannot change the inevitable. The only thing I can change is attitude. Life is ten percent what happens to me and ninety percent how I react to it.”
Save the above quote in your personal “Life Transitions Planning” and “Retirement Planning” files. Pass it on to your children and grandchildren.
Stuff happens. How we plan for it and how we react to it, matters. In life centered planning, we ask crucial “What if?” questions. There are threats all around us, some as simple as walking down stairs, getting out of a bathtub, or driving a car. We work to build wealth, assets, incomes, and other resources to sustain us in times of challenge. We incorporate insurance into planning so as to outsource financial costs of certain risks. Acknowledging our mortality, we create well-thought-out living and testamentary estate plans.
We recognize that family and friends, those who love and care for us, are the true treasures in life. Financial success can be ruinous if one is bereft of purpose, lost in a spiritual void. Attitude is more important than facts! Don’t let the old man in!
Eastwood’s film, “The Mule,” is based on a true story about a veteran of World War II who in his 80s takes a job as a courier for a Mexican drug cartel. In many cases, life should not imitate art. Smuggling drugs is not recommended as a supplemental retirement income pursuit. A prison is not my idea of a retirement home!
Lewis Walker, CFP®, is a financial life planning strategist at Capital Insight Group; 770-441-3553.
Securities and advisory services offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA). Lewis Walker is a registered representative and investment adviser representative of SFA which otherwise is unaffiliated with Capital Insight Group. He is a Gallup Certified Clifton Strengths Coach and a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA®).