I was contacted by my great-great grandson from the future and he gave me a time capsule for sending a one-time, one-way message to myself, the young Jim Wheeler. I was given only one hour to draft it before the privilege expired. Having sent it off, I now post it here for general viewing. I am not worried about revealing these secrets to the public because most run counter to human nature and most people won’t believe them anyway.
My gggrandson’s note told me that the rules for time-messaging prohibit revealing specific historical information such as stock names or the dates of disasters, but general guidance is permitted. He mentioned that space is limited.
Jim, here is guidance from the future you (me) that will serve you well. Do not question how it arrived on your desk. Just trust it.
- Observe moderation in all things. Or at least consider it. It’s amazing how well this works.
- Saving means security and peace of mind. To save money, spend less than you earn. While this may seem simplistic, there is a secret to it, and it is this: keep track of what you spend. Keep receipts and enter them in a record. This includes cash and loose change. You are going to be surprised by certain developments that will make this easier to do as time goes on (I can’t say more). Another help: when you can, have a chunk of your paycheck automatically sent to some kind of savings account.
- To invest successfully, use dollar-cost-averaging into a low-fee mutual fund for bonds and stocks. Use the asset-allocation concept of putting part into stocks and part into bonds. A good rule of thumb for the allocation percentage is to subtract you age from 100 to get the percentage of stocks to have. Diversify. As soon as they are invented, use “index funds” for both stocks and bonds – it lets you sleep a lot better. Do not panic. Stuff is going to happen.
- To be healthy, get regular exercise and eat right. The importance of this grows as you age. Do not get too heavy. In this regard, quantity is critical, especially when it comes to meat. You don’t need much meat. Eating habits are just that, habits. If you eat slowly you can enjoy things like pizza and french fries. Just don’t eat a lot of them. Determine the quantity before the meal. You don’t need bread and potatoes every day, but when you do have them, minimize. Try new vegetables such as edamame, a fancy name for young soybeans. Very nutritious and tasty with a little soy sauce. Fruit is very good, especially apples. Buy good ones, it’s worth it.
- If you get really bad back pain, see a good specialist.
- Avoid debt when you can. Mortgages and car loans will sometimes be unavoidable. Credit unions will in general be kinder than banks.
- Do not over-consume. Don’t buy more house or stuff than you need. Be selective – every expensive thing you buy complicates your life.
- For your life’s career, follow your talents, regardless of the job market and relative salaries. Happy is the man who is good at what he does.
- Do not be quick to choose a mate. Wait until the chemistry overwhelms you. You won’t be sorry, and you won’t have to wait long.
- Career is important, it is security for you and your family. But family comes first whenever possible.
- Get a copy of “Desiderata”, a poem written by Max Ehrmann in 1927. It has good advice.
- And, finally, whatever you do, . . .
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