THE BIG “60” – Con Koutsikas
THE BIG “60”

Well, today I turn the big 60!

​I must admit, I don’t feel any different physically than when I hit 50.  I have looked after myself.  I regularly attend the gym and eat well albeit I do have to battle to control the sweet tooth!  Other areas of my life, however aren’t quite where I expected them to be at this ripe old age.  As I ponder this milestone, I look back and ask myself why and importantly, what have I learnt over the years.  It’s fair to say that I’m not the only person to have or currently be experiencing the same challenges, so in the hope of benefiting others I’d like to share.

I have made many errors of judgement with the benefit of hindsight and a good few which can only be described as being of biblical proportions!  These are definitely some tips I would share with my younger self.

Don’t tolerate a crap relationship.

The signs were there very early on with my last relationship.  I knew it was going to create major issues but I felt embarrassed to end it. My ego couldn’t admit I had made a mistake.   What would my family and friends say?  5 years on and after nearly destroying my relationship with my family, I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired.  If it’s not working then get out!!

Get financially educated.

I’m still blown away that schools don’t teach financial literacy.  If you’re lucky enough to have had it taught at home then good luck.  If you weren’t, you need to take it upon yourself.  The harsh reality is that the majority of people in retirement will be reliant on social security.   Even an elementary knowledge will save you from a fair amount of pain and in my case, a bucket of pain!

Don’t buy “stuff” to impress people.

I’m not sure who said it first but I have seen many people quote it.   “People buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, to impress people they don’t like.”  It pretty well sums it up.  Let’s be really honest, you don’t need 5 televisions or 15 watches.

Friends today, gone tomorrow.

People will come in and out of your life.  Some will stay for a short time others for a long time, rarely will it be a lifetime.  I struggled with this for a long time.  I had friends in my thirties who I thought I would end up sharing a room with at the retirement village but stuff happens.  People change and their priorities change.  If you have to fight to keep people in your life, they are not worth being in your life.  I read somewhere people come into your life for a reason.  It can be for an experience or a lesson.  Don’t be sad or angry but embrace the experience and move on.

Cars are expensive.

Someone once told me, cars are like racehorses.  Anyone can buy them but maintaining them is another story.  Why didn’t they tell me that 40 years ago!  If you haven’t worked it out yet, they are a depreciating asset and sadly I got caught up in the “buying to impress”.  I’m not suggesting you should drive a bomb but you should avoiding borrowing to buy a car and remember a $20,000 car does the same job as a $50,000 car.

Money IS important.

I’ve been on both side of the fence and let me tell you emphatically MONEY IS IMPORTANT.  It’s not about stuff you can buy with money it’s the experiences and the choices it affords you.  Health care, education and work.  I have always drummed it into my kids the value of money and choices YOU get to make in life.  I’m convinced the majority of people who say money isn’t important, have never had.

Winter will come

As sure as the seasons come and go so will challenges appear in life.  I was ignorant (often!) that summer and spring (the abundant times) would last forever but I can assure you they don’t!   Financial, health and relationship challenges are inevitable.  It’s not a case of if but when.  Now, some health challenges you can’t prevent or foresee but financial and relationship challenges are really a case of you reap what you sow.   Those outcomes are a direct result of your actions or inactions.

Don’t ever challenge “worse”

When you think you have hit rock bottom and things couldn’t be or get worse, I assure you they can!  As a famous comedian once said, “don’t ever challenge worse”

And finally, when you do feel you’re at rock bottom, NOBODY is coming to save you.  The only person that can save you is you.  The great Jim Rohn said “Accepting responsibility for where you are is one of the greatest signs of human maturity” I created my mess, I have the power to change it.

I look forward to your feedback and until the next edition, my name is Con and I am

“The Con Versationalist.”

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