“The Challenge Is Not To Touch It!” (And Other Things I Recently Overheard)

“The challenge is not to touch it!” That’s what I overheard a 65 year old guy telling a 13 year old kid the other day while checking out at Target :)

I *of course* had to switch lanes so I can get closer to eavesdropping territory, and from what I could tell they somehow got on the topic of becoming a millionaire, and more particularly how HE became a millionaire by the time he hit 65. (And probably earlier)

To say the kid was glued to every word coming out of his mouth was an understatement. Who doesn’t want to become a millionaire??? And why aren’t they teaching THAT in classes?? I guarantee attendance would perk right the hell up with a juicy word like that thrown in. No kid cares about budgeting and financial management – they all just want money! :)

But I digress…

Once this guy had this kid’s attention, he started dropping all his nuggets of wisdom on him:

  • “Start now while you’re young!” (yup)
  • “It’s better to put *something* in there every month, even if it’s not a lot.” (double yup)
  • “Let compounding do all the rest.” (you’re on fire, sir!)
  • And then the whopper of them all which we’ve already touched on twice – “just don’t touch it!

It really doesn’t get any easier than that… I considered chasing the kid down and asking for his email so I can follow up with him over the years and see if he acted on his advice, but I figured that would come off a bit too creepy :) Plus, do 13 year olds even have emails? (What am I saying, they all have like 10 iPhones and computers these days – those bastards… I could barely get my hands on a Gameboy at that age!)

Anyways, that’s how you get a young person’s attention right there. Or *anyone’s* attention for that matter. Everyone wants to know how to become a millionaire, but none of them want to “learn” about finance! You gotta lure them in first and THEN hit them with the knowledge! It’s trickery 101.

Millionaire stuff aside, here are some other fun convos I’ve overheard lately. Why stop there, right? :)

“I got 8 homes… pairing down to 3”

At first I thought this guy was a baller or something, but turns out he was actually retired and wanted to offload some of his real estate to better enjoy his time and money! And good for him! He looked about 70 or 75 so if you’re not going to enjoy it then, when are you??

“I’m not as materialistic as my mom!”

Haha.. I wish I could have heard the rest of that convo, but unfortunately I got caught looking and had to turn straight ahead while of course minimizing the screen in case she were to come over and confront me :) It’s hard work sleuthing sometimes!

Then this one was as sad as it was surprising:

Me to an elder friend of mine: “Well you’re looking sharp today, sir!”
My elder friend back to me: “I’m going to my 4th funeral this week.”

Ugh… Just another reminder of how precious life is!! Turns out one of his friends had a brain hemorrhage out of nowhere and was dead 10 minutes later. At 55 :(

I’ve blogged about this before, but MAN does my tune change anytime I’m round these guys here at my local coffee shop. They’re a group of about 4-5 guys in their 70s and 80s, and all they do is talk about life and what’s important to them without all the b.s. and petty crap we’re so used to hearing. It’s like I get a shot of reality every time I sit next to them. No one’s afraid to be themselves 100%!

(What I also find fascinating is that they pass around the obituaries every morning taking turns reading it. I asked them if they do it to look for friends, and they said that yes – it is one of the reasons – but the main one was to LEARN about all the cool stuff people have done in their lives! Said you never get to hear anyone’s stories until they’re gone, and its quite a shame since everyone has led pretty interesting (and different) lives. Now I check the obituaries myself whenever I come cross a paper :))

But we’re not going to leave here on a sad note, no sirree… So let me hit you with my favorite line of all recently. Cracks me up!!

“Stay away from those amoebas!”

(A teacher saying goodbye to his students)

Haha… Have a great week everyone. Stay away from those amoebas AND from touching your money! They need some time to multiply :)

For more overheard stories, check out this juicy post by Mr. Money. Who apparently likes to talk about himself in 3rd person now.

[Cute little meerkat pic by Jans Canon]

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  1. Mrs. Mad Money Monster | @madmoneymonster January 11, 2017 at 5:28 AM

    Oh man, I remember my first Gameboy! So exciting! When I was a kid, my video game didn’t even have a full color screen. Sorry, you unlocked a memory. Haha!

    Anyway, I love the old guy telling the youngster about investing and becoming rich. I’ve been doing this with mIne since she was able to talk. She always knew that when I left for work it was because work gave me money for things I did for them. And she knew that the money was used to pay our house and the things we used every day, like: water, electric, and food. Now that she’s 7, I’m teaching her the power of investing. I call it “buying companies” and make her buy companies with half of all the money she gets her tiny little paws on. She now happily buys a toy with birthday cash for $25 and forks over another $25 to me to buy her more companies. I drill into her head almost daily that the more money she has, the more time she’ll have to “play” throughout her life. She likes the sound of this. It’s to the point that whenever I tell her something, her first response is, “let me guess, it’s about money.” Ha! I love it. Hopefully some of it sticks.

    Thanks for sharing these stories. …especially the one about the older gentlemen who read the obituaries. In my opinion, our relationships are the most important things in life. Money just gives us freedom. And freedom gives us options. :)

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:23 PM

      YES!! LOVE THAT!

      Imagine if we ALL started investing 50% of our income from 7 y/o??? We’d all be millionaires! And wouldn’t know the difference of anything else if we stuck to it too, man… I think we need to form a movement where all kids are forced to do this so that our world is saved once we’re long gone ;)

  2. The Green Swan January 11, 2017 at 5:43 AM

    Great quotes and tips! And if I may add another, “be smart about how you spend your money”. Anything not spent can further add to those investments and let them multiply!

    1. Josh @MoneyBuffalo January 11, 2017 at 7:16 AM

      Can’t agree enough. Spending money is a fact of life, but, it can be just as important as not spending (touching) it in the first place as well if spent unwisely.

  3. Liz January 11, 2017 at 7:07 AM

    Love the quotes and tips! And the reflection on what’s really important in life. I got another reminder about that on Monday, where I found out the reason there was an ambulance at work last week was because a co-worker had a major heart attack and passed away. I haven’t worked with them in a few years, but it was a shock. She’d been with the company for 36 years and was in her mid-50’s. It’s a reminder that you can only count on today and don’t know what the future holds. We need to make sure we’re working on making our obituaries fun ones to read!

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:43 PM

      Freaky :( She worked her whole life!

  4. Miss Mazuma January 11, 2017 at 7:16 AM

    I love overhearing guys little nuggets of wisdom. Sometimes it is exactly at the right moment – like the answer to something you’ve been pondering for days. :)

    These old dudes sound super! I’m pretty sure my grandpa would be in that bunch if it was nearer to Chicago! At 90 and 86 my grandparents are still really active. They go to cards every week (or host it), still drive, and go to Cubs games whenever they can (even taking the bus an hour to get there so grandpa doesn’t have to pay for parking!). Every time I go to their house they are talking about their friends or parties from their past and every conversation end with “He’s (or she’s) dead now.” So matter of fact! It’s become a running joke now that every story they tell ends with a hit…little mafia humor from the fam. :)

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:47 PM

      Awww haha….

      And you know what the crazy thing is? I bet they *live* more than most of us young folks glued to our computers and phones (and jobs) all the time. I have such a love and hate relationship with technology – and being a self-employed blogger just amplifies both sides! :)

  5. Freedom 40 Guy January 11, 2017 at 7:24 AM

    Love the idea of reading the obits to learn about all the cool things people have done in their lives. i’ve honestly never thought of it in that way and it really changes my mindset on it. I think I might start looking at these from time to time now.

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:53 PM

      yeah, now I think about it every single time I see a newspaper laying around!

  6. Band of Savers January 11, 2017 at 7:35 AM

    Reminded me of my favorite column in my colleges newspaper called “Overheard on Campus” where people would send in all the ludicrous pieces of conversations that they would overhear. Stuff like, “I’m about to graduate and still haven’t gotten married, what am I going to do now? I didn’t come for a degree I came for a ring.” So sad but always fun to laugh about.

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:55 PM

      That. Is. Awesome. Haha…

      I used to run a piece in our school paper every week where we’d go around asking a bunch of students the same (usually, funny) question, and then take a headshot of them and print our favorite 5 or 6.

      In the beginning I did them pretty conservatively, but then I got bored and started doing them at parties while everyone was drunk – even going as far as taking a picture of a beer can and pretending it was answering the question :)

      I thought I was pretty hilarious (and the school did too). Turns out, some of the drunk people we featured did not when their parents took a gander and saw all the nonsense they were talking about. I got pulled off the column not too long after that – hah.

    2. Primal Prosperity January 11, 2017 at 9:39 PM

      Band of Savers – When I was in college, we used to say those girls were there for their MRS Degree. :)

  7. Apathy Ends January 11, 2017 at 7:37 AM

    Haha, gotta love the check out line knowledge drop. Hopefully it stuck and that’s not the last lesson for the young man.

    Can’t really put together a convo in my head that includes “I’m not as materialistic as my mom” – we should get you a discrete listening device, you can attach it to your computer and tell people it’s a camera.

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:56 PM

      I’ll gladly accept that as a late birthday present :)

  8. Mustard Seed Money January 11, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    I can only imagine what would have happened to you if you were trying to solicit that 13 year old’s email address. ‘I promise officer I was writing an article for my website.’

    Hahha..jk. But it would be fascinating to know what the kid decided to do with the advice. Hopefully he’s smart and took it all in.

  9. Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto January 11, 2017 at 8:19 AM

    My Dad (83) does breakfast each week with a bunch of old guys. When I’m in town visiting, I never miss those breakfasts. The most honest, transparent and wise words in the universe. Old people don’t have enough days left to be worried about political correctness.

    It’s refreshing, as is your post today! (Just remind me to look for you lurking in the shadows whenever I’m having a convo in a coffee shop)

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:58 PM

      I would love to go to those breakfasts!!! They have SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE in their heads too, but for some reason no one ever tries to pick it!!!

  10. Paul January 11, 2017 at 8:35 AM

    I overheard a mom scolding her kid. The kid said something like “I want it”, the mom replied “well I want a million dollars but I’m not getting that”. Made me sad a bit. That mom unwittingly is setting her son up for a lifetime of low expectations. Coming from a lower middle background to where I am at now has really made me realize how much your own thought process has to do with your success and how much class warfare comes from within. It’s also made me realize that, as the saying goes, if someone says something is impossible remember it is only impossible for them.

    Also, telling a 13 kid not to touch it….Dude that convo could have spiraled quickly. lol

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:59 PM

      Haha… I missed the start of the conversation so I’m assuming it didn’t start right at that :)

  11. Seeking Saturdays January 11, 2017 at 8:42 AM

    Yeah the death thing gets me every time. Life is going great, we’re on top of the world and then hear about someone you knew is gone. It’s so weird, but always ends up being a reminder that we’re on the right track to enjoy life as much as possible.

    On the millionaire thing, I wish some old man pulled me to the side and told me to start earlier! I guess that’s goes along with the question “When should you plant a tree?”: 10 years ago & today. (or when should you start saving?)

  12. Joe January 11, 2017 at 8:48 AM

    Seniors and little kids are so funny.
    Jr. kept repeating “Oh my god, look at her butt, hahahaha.” Apparently other boys were saying this in kindergarten…

    1. J. Money January 11, 2017 at 2:59 PM

      That or he was listening to Baby Got Back!

  13. Jon @ Be Net Worthy January 11, 2017 at 8:49 AM

    When you said, “the trick is not to touch it,” I thought you were referring to the Master of My Domain Seinfeld episode…but I digress.

    Nothing like getting wisdom from old people, right? They have nothing to hide or lose from speaking the god’s honest truth. What’s surprising too is how people complicate their lives. Listen to the old guys for a while and you’ll realize that life can be pretty darn simple.

    Thanks for sharing!

  14. Alex January 11, 2017 at 8:49 AM

    Great post, and adds a dose of reality to your blog. Saving money is important. Having financial freedom is important. Avoiding debt is important. I do all of these things…..save what I can, max out my 401k, put money aside from birth for my child’s college fund, bought a house that cost half of what Wells Fargo told me I could ‘afford,’ have a couple side gigs, etc……

    All of this is well and good, but the reality is still that we’re all going to die someday. While I certainly don’t want to live my last years broke and on the street, I also dont want my time to end while sitting on a giant nest egg that I was too afraid to touch (hopefully I live to 100, but I could also only live to 40).

    Key is always to strike a balance between enjoying life and saving for the future and this post is a great reminded of that. Thank you.

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:46 PM

      You know that, brother… We need a way to be reminded of this EVERY DAY too somehow cuz it’s hard to always keep in mind!

  15. ESI Money January 11, 2017 at 8:49 AM

    I’d go a step farther and say “just don’t look at it.” ;)

    Once my kids SEE something and want it, it’s hard to get them to pull back.

    For me, though, it’s ok to touch. I can get about as much enjoyment at looking at and holding something as I do from owning it.

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:46 PM

      True that.

  16. Ms. Montana January 11, 2017 at 8:58 AM

    I LOVE listening in on people. I come from a long line of spies. My mom was, and still is the best. Always lurking on the other line of the land line phone or behind the closed door. =) I have to wear earbuds when I work at the coffee shop or I will just listen to other people’s conversations all day.

    I heard this gem the other day in the coffee shop, “If I was debt free, I would finally have some freedom instead of having to work just to pay off all the stuff I already have!” Preach, stranger, preach!

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:48 PM

      Isn’t that crazy? I used to spend all my money wayyyy before I got it too. I shiver just thinking about it!

  17. Mrs. Picky Pincher January 11, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    I really do think I’d like to get in on real estate investing, although I’m sure that’s too much to handle when you’re in your seventies. :)

    I know older people who go through the obituaries, too. I wonder if I’ll start doing that when I’m older? :) But that’s really cool that the focus is what the people did with their lives, not how long they lived or how they died. That’s nice. :)

  18. Mr Crazy Kicks January 11, 2017 at 9:17 AM

    Part of what drove me to quit my job earlier than later was the loss of two friends at work. Different types of cancer took them while they were both in their 40s. They couldn’t even take time to do the things they had always wanted because they needed to keep working to maintain health and life insurance coverage.

    Our existence on this planet is just a flash in time.

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:49 PM

      Oh man, that’s harsh.. To know you’re dying but still have to keep working for the insurance? our system is jacked :(

  19. Linda@Frugal Turtle January 11, 2017 at 9:43 AM

    I really need to start listening in on conversations more! I’m missing out!

    I really hope that young kid listened to and followed the man’s advice. So much good stuff there!

  20. Justin January 11, 2017 at 9:50 AM

    I just found my old gameboy. Even have the carrying case. But the external battery pack is sadly corroded. Might be time to ebay it!

    Those old guys and the obituary sound familiar. That was like the comics section for my grandparents. Open it up and boom! There’s some of your friends! Not that they were excited to see them, but more resigned to the fact that this is what is happening to all their old friends and somehow they managed to temporarily avoid the same press coverage.

    And most of their stories start with “You know old Jim from the tire factory? Well old Jim used to have this dog with the craziest – Well, old Jim is dead now, you know? – and that dog had the ugliest tail…” Most stories had the “yeah, they are dead now…” near the very beginning. Certainly helps put your own life into perspective talking to these old folks (we’ll be there someday too!).

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:50 PM

      I know!!! I HOPE we’re the ones talking about others too and not the ones they’re talking about! Scary..

  21. Smart Provisions January 11, 2017 at 10:44 AM

    Hahaha, that’s awesome.

    I hope the young man is going to listen to the old man’s advice and “not touch the money” after investing it.He’ll surely be financially free if he listens.

  22. Brian @ debt discipline January 11, 2017 at 10:56 AM

    Love the overheard conversations. I’m amazed at some of the things I hear. Just heard a co-worker say he’s glad his daughter is getting married so he can stop paying her cell phone bill. :(

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:52 PM

      What??? Haha…. that is wrong on so many levels.

  23. Sylvia @Professional Girl on the Go January 11, 2017 at 12:52 PM

    Not touching is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Especially, now that I had a huge salary increase. I kept thinking of things I could buy, but have to keep telling myself I don’t need it.

    P.S. I love when I overheard something juicy or funny.

  24. Go Finance Yourself! January 11, 2017 at 2:17 PM

    I received a black and white game boy for my bday in the second grade. That thing was awesome back then. I wish I still had it so I could show it to my nephews and see what they think of what we had to work with in our day.

    I love the older gentleman teaching his grandson about good personal finance. The schools aren’t teaching it and sadly neither do most parents. It really is as simple as he laid it out. Save consistently and don’t touch it. Basically if you can have a little more self control than a 6 year old and keep you’re hand out of the cookie jar, you’ll eventually become a millionaire. It’s that easy!

  25. Rich Growth Tips January 11, 2017 at 2:40 PM

    Do not touch your money. They need some time to multiply. When money multiplies, it is much faster than we planed. For most of people, it is almost impossible to become a millionaire by salary. It is much easier to become a millionaire by investment. When invest, we need to be patient.

  26. Kraken Fireball January 11, 2017 at 2:53 PM

    I really like the view on reading obits. It’s amazing how much you learn about people at their funerals. I think every time I go to one I learn something I didn’t know about them. I wish this would teach people to be more open about themselves and share their stories.
    Thanks for listening in for us, keep it up!

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:55 PM

      I know!! But it’s also on US to ask about their stories and lessons too over the years – especially of our older members. We’re so quick to cast the aside because they’re older, when they carry sooooo much knowledge with them!

  27. Financial Panther January 11, 2017 at 2:55 PM

    I remember reading some study or news article somewhere that showed that people who had investment accounts that they had forgotten about made better returns than people who regularly messed with their accounts. An interesting tid bit that supports the just don’t touch it mentality.

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:56 PM

      Haha yeah. Pretty wild, isn’t it?

  28. Primal Prosperity January 11, 2017 at 5:59 PM

    “Just another reminder of how precious life is!! Turns out one of his friends had a brain hemorrhage out of nowhere and was dead 10 minutes later. At 55 :(”

    My husband went to a wake last week for a guy who died of a brain hemorrhage at 35!!!!

    He had two small kids. My husband said to me: “I hope he had life insurance.”

    My first thought was “I hope the guy got a chance to really live the life he wants.” I guess we all have our ideals in life. :)

    But YES, life is waaaay too short and you need to live every day. The key is to balance enjoying your life and saving for the fact that you may live until 110. :)

    1. J. Money January 12, 2017 at 10:17 AM


      That is my biggest fear – leaving my kids like that!!!

      Then of course not “living my life” al the way :) (I don’t worry about insurance anymore as we got some – woop woop)

      But man… so sad for his entire family :(

  29. Debt Hater January 11, 2017 at 8:23 PM

    I hope that 13 year old was able to absorb some of that information is able to use it down the line! I was taught to save money, but wasn’t really taught about the power of investing and compounding interest until I learned it myself in my early 20s. The positive spin on reading the obituaries was an interesting tidbit. Celebrating the achievements of others.

    1. J. Money January 12, 2017 at 10:16 AM

      Yeah, I think “saving money” is what we’re all taught which is SO. BORING. and thus none of us ever did as kids :)

      Turning it to “watch your money make MORE money so you can be rich!” would make a totally different impression, haha…. Though of course “getting rich” isn’t exactly the message you want to be conveying, but it’s enough to at least get them going for now ;)

  30. Amanda @centsiblyrich January 12, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    I assure you, 13 year olds have email! I love the millionaire conversation. Kids absorb more than we think they do. Even when my kids don’t seem to be listening to me (which is most of the time, they’re teens) – I’ve seen evidence that they actually do! So I keep talking. I know they’re tired of hearing the money talk, but hopefully it will come to fruition later…

  31. ken ashe January 12, 2017 at 5:15 PM

    4 funerals in one week… What a bad week.

    Great read by the way.

    1. J. Money January 13, 2017 at 9:56 PM

      Thanks Ken :)

  32. Amanda January 15, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    Great post, J. I agree that we are not taught the proper money management in school. Telling our children to ‘save for a rainy day’ means nothing to them. We have to tell them the actions to take and show them how it will benefit them (FIRE.) My children are 11 and 13 and they both have jobs at our house (along with helping out just because they live here and we all need to pitch in.) The make money consistently AND they must save 50% for retirement with no exceptions. We have shown them where we are with our savings goals and how aggressive savings and compound interest has catapulted us toward our FIRE goals. They get it! My hope for them is that when they head out into the world they save 20-50% of their income in tax advantaged retirement accounts – without hesitation.

    1. J. Money January 15, 2017 at 2:27 PM

      YES!!! If they can get into that habit forever they will be living the good life!! Best parents ever! :)

  33. ZJ Thorne January 17, 2017 at 12:38 AM

    Not touching it is excellent advice in so many financial arenas. Exotic investment you don’t understand? Don’t touch it. Unnecessary withdrawal from your IRA for something silly? Don’t touch it.

  34. Free to Pursue January 20, 2017 at 8:17 AM

    Reading the obits creeped me out. Until now. Thanks for lightening it up for me a bit. Wisdom for the ages. Who needs the Stoics. Obits it is! ;)

    1. J. Money January 22, 2017 at 4:57 PM

      I’ll try to impart some newfound wisdom every week to you :)

  35. Daniel Palmer January 24, 2017 at 2:25 PM

    Nice nuggets of wisdom/humor I like that you touched on both ends of life- keeps things in perspective.

    1. J. Money January 27, 2017 at 7:07 AM

      Gotta have some fun with this stuff :)