Last week a man said he was going to an organ recital after 10 AM our meeting. I was interested, so I asked him where the recital was and who was playing. He laughed. He explained it was not about beautiful music. He was going to listen to his buddies whine about the deteriorating status of their bodies. Then, I laughed, too.

Like it or not, I’m over 50 and so are most of my clients. As youth turned to middle age and then to, well, this age, I’ve been paying attention to the guys around me. They seem to divide into two camps when they consider the rest of their lives.

The Grumpy Old Men

I am sad when people who used to be problem solvers, adventurers, and “go-to” guys have drifted into grumpy, fragile old men. You know, the kind who complain… about everything. They complain about the weather and kids today, the high price of everything, and how things used to be better.

They don’t just complain, they quit doing things that stretch them. They quit trying new things. Instead, they settle into talking about the past, going over the same ground. Instead of setting a course, they drift into inaction. Fortunately, not everyone succumbs to the gravity of the familiar.

One of my 55+-year-old kayaking buddies warned a group of us that he would walk out if we became just a bunch of hot-air “remember-wheners.” I liked him before he said that and admired him after he drew a line in the sand. You must make an effort to avoid drifting.


A fellow coach challenged me to start a ROMEO club, The coach who made that suggestion is social security age and married to his first wife. ROMEO is an acronym.

It stands for Retired Old Men Eating Out. My coach suggested that I gather two to five other guys and get together for a meal. During our meal, we should challenge each other with questions like these.

What was the most exciting thing you did last month?
How will you help another person in the next month?
What are you learning?
What have you failed at in the last 90 days?

My coach was challenging me to forge an alliance of men committed to living till we die.

What’s next for you?

Maybe you are not yet lucky enough to have my years. Maybe you’re a generation ahead of me. Will your tombstone report that you found the ultimate soft frozen yogurt? Or that you made people smile when you showed up?

Research gives us good answers about what the happiest people value as they age. Many elders value relationships more than trophies and being a great friend with a few good people, more than wealth or fame. They value experiences over cash. If so, then let’s prioritize our relationships and build up our store of experiences.

I know a fellow with two left feet and a mediocre sense of rhythm. Most weeks he and his bride take dance lessons. Usually, he is the worst dancer in the building. But he and his wife value the time and experience together and he is getting better, however slowly.

My hunch is my buddy will eventually be able to lead the bride of his youth around a dance floor and make her look good. Many younger people with more potential will watch and admire the mature couple, but few will copy them. I want to be that guy. My skills may be as pitiful as his, but I admire his intention to show others how classy his wife is.


What about you? What relationships do you value and cultivate? What experiences do you plan to stretch yourself?


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

Click here and find out how Terry and his team can help you make the most important financial decision of your next decade.