What have I learned in fifty years.

What have I learned in 50 years.

I recently noted that this post of mine from almost three years ago got the most recs ever for any of my posts, so I thought I’d repost it for the benefit of those of you who recently joined the board. (I made slight additions). Here it is:

I was recently looking through my 50th Anniversary college yearbook, in which I had answered the question: What have you learned in the fifty years since graduation? This was my response, if any one is interested.

What have I learned in the fifty years since graduation? It’s probably too late to really benefit my classmates, and the younger people who might actually benefit probably won’t read this, but here goes:

The one asset you have that is priceless is your youth. Money doesn’t compare. It’s incomparably better to be thirty and have fifty thousand dollars than to be seventy and have five million. It may be nice to have the five million, but there is nothing you can do with it that will give you the pleasure of being thirty. Therefore, profit from every day and don’t waste a single one.

The second most important asset is your health. Therefore, don’t wait to retire until you have lost your youth and health and are too old and tired to enjoy starting a new life. No one on his or her deathbed ever says, “I wish I had spent more time in the office.”

True happiness consists in being content with what you have, today, not in getting what you think you want, tomorrow. It’s always “today,” and if you put off being happy until tomorrow, it never gets here. It’s incredibly important to think about this seriously and at length and understand it. You will not suddenly become happy in getting a new car, a bigger house, a new piece of jewelry, or whatever.

Having a good relationship is tremendously important. Relationships are never perfect, but in a good one you should have a feeling of satisfaction. If you feel tense, put down, or attacked most of the time, it’s time to leave. It’s the same for jobs. There is an inertial tendency to stay in a bad relationship or a bad job and to subconsciously think, “In my next time around, I’ll be happy and live the way I want.” There is no next time. Don’t waste five, ten, or fifteen years. You don’t get them back to live again. Do it differently now, this time.

I hope that you are all reasonably content and in as good a state of health as can be expected.



A great post Saul and here’s the video for it:

Baz Luhrmann - Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen



Such Goode advice Saul. So, so true. Only one life, make every day count.


Could not agree more. When we first got married my wife when asking for things would phrase it, "I’d be happy if we could get (fill in the blank). She stopped because I always ask if she was happy now, and if not, how would (blank) change the equation.

Happiness is a state of mind, and has nothing to do with how rich you are. I went to college in Guadalajara, Mexico, and I met a lot of really poor Mexicans that knew how to enjoy life. Family, friends, singing and tequila was all that was necessary. Roll it forward 40 years and substitute red wine for tequila and the equation still works.

I will be retiring soon (within a couple of months) and my wife suggested we put it off. And I asked what for, while we are not rich, we aren’t poor and I want to travel. Working and long trips to faraway places don’t work well together.

Finding this discussion board has certainly opened the horizons of my travels. We are off in April to Spain for 3 weeks, then Africa to safari for 34 days with my sister and brother in law and then 2 weeks in England before returning home.

Thank you to all that contribute, it has been a great learning experience. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks?



Thanks Saul,
Also for me, having a child and spending as much time enjoying and cultivating that relationship has meant a lot to me.
Best of health and longevity to you!

Thanks Saul your thoughts really hit home for me. Here where I live we have an expression, “I have rode some good horses and jumped some high fences” And for me it is true both figuratively, and literally.
At 19 I had the best job I ever held. Cowboy on a big 13,000 acre ranch. 40 dollars a week from daylight till dark and morning and evening feedings every other weekend. But being 19, wild as the wind, and living on the poverty line was still better than being in my 60’s and sitting on a nice comfortable portfolio. No real regrets I still work with horses and volunteer at a horse rescue non profit, and have been retired since I was 53. But all that being said I still hear the words from a favorite song in my head now and again. “If I could roll back the years, back when I was young and limber, loose as ashes in the wind, and had no irons in the fire”.


What a wonderful, personal post, Saul. My kids are 26 and 28; I shared it with them.

As Eckhart Tolle always says, “live in the Now.” It’s all that you have.



Thank you so much for re-posting this Saul. They are words to live by and to remember every single day. I’m going to print it out and put it where I’ll read it often.

I’m in my 60’s, single and can easily get caught up in useless stuff and I’m very much aware that I better make use of the time I have left and live it in a positive way. The most important thing, as you say, are my relationships with others.

Thanks again.

Lucky Dog

Interesting post Saul. 50 years ago this week I saw a young girl in a neighboring town that took my breath away. I looked at her this morning and she still takes my breath away. In addition she gave us a son who is just like her. I am a blessed and happy man.


Recent(ish) lurker on this board, huge fan of the board, the approach, the community. I’m learning new things every day here, more about my investment bias than new opportunities (the one is getting unstuck, the other unbound).

I’ll share this as my first post on the board in line with the sentiment in this thread, from one of my favorites, Kurt Vonnegut:

True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.

I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel ‘Catch-22’
has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Not bad! Rest in peace!



Great post and philosophy Saul. Thanks for posting it again as I missed it the first time.

One thing I’d like to add is to invest in your health, without it, your other investments don’t matter much. I retired over a year ago, leaving a year before mandatory (65). Having maintained a regular running routine I feel pretty good for an old fart and can enjoy spending some of my investments.