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Investing, Writing, and Being Grateful

May 23, 2021 by  
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Like I said in my previous blog, money has not been the best reward that I’ve received over the years. The best reward has come from helping people and it’s fantastic when they take time to give thanks and tell me how very grateful they are for helping them. That makes me feel great.

A few days ago, I received a wonderful letter from Jay P. DeCima, also known as “Fixer Jay”. I want to share some of his words with you. He begins with, “Hi Mark; I hope you are well.” I was well and his letter made me feel even better!

He went on to say, “You may or may not remember me. I’m a real estate guy. I participated at several of your real estate seminars and conventions during the mid-1980’s. I was a speaker at your week-long seminar at your Salt Lake City home. William Nickerson was my long-time friend and mentor.

“What triggered this letter was a re-listening to the tapes you and Bill Nickerson recorded with Dick Hamilton as the moderator. The tapes were recorded in 1987 sometime before CD’s replaced cassettes. Recordings were made at Bill Nickerson’s beachfront home in Aptos, Monterey Bay, near Santa Cruz, California. Mark, I’m not exactly sure about your age, but your web page shows you graduated from Ames High School in 1962. I graduated from Shasta Union High School, Redding, California in 1952 and I’m one month shy of 87 years old.

“After listening to the tapes, something you said stuck in my mind (what’s left). At 87 years old I’m lucky to remember even playing the tapes! You said, without any fanfare or hesitation, that you planned on living 101 more years until you reached the age of 144. I must say, that’s quite a plan! Nickerson guessed 100 years. If you wish, we could call that a mulligan or I’m totally agreeable with giving you a ‘do over’. But given the water that’s passed under the bridge, are you still sticking by the same estimate? Forgive me, Mark, I just had to ask.

“Your website shows you’ve written a new book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. Congratulations. I have oodles of passion, I just can’t tell for how long! I’ll order a copy. Perhaps it will shed some light on this longevity issue.”

 (By the way, I sent him a copy before he could order it.)

“I too have taken up the pen in my twilight years. I write real estate how-to-books. I’ve written six books. Three are self-published. My titles can be viewed on Amazon under the author’s name Jay P. DeCima (aka) known as Fixer Jay.”

(Note to readers: I too started by self-publishing since it can be so hard to get a publisher. After you have self-published a book or two, however, that gets their attention and then they are more agreeable to publish your books for you.)

“Both investing and writing have worked well for me. I had 300 screaming tenants at my high-water mark. I stayed so long I even miss the tenants. Senile perhaps might offer a better explanation. Mark, I’d love to hear from you sometime. We can talk about real estate, book publishing or even aging. Your choice—I’m open.”

So, I called Jay today and had a wonderful, long conversation with him. What a terrific guy! Managing Tenants & Toilets is one of his book. What a great title! You can order it by calling toll-free 1-800-722-2550 or send a fax to 1-530-223-2834.

Aging and the Brain

May 2, 2021 by  
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Ernestine Shepherd, named the oldest competitive female bodybuilder in 2010, is still very active today, although not competitive, at 84 years old.

Having just turned age 77, I’ve caught myself thinking way too much about my age which has not helped me at all. It has got me worrying more about aging. But then my son sent me a book on aging that talks about how much our thinking can affect how we age. I started the book and have been amazed.

The human mind is a very complex and interesting part of our bodies. It can be a huge help to us but it also has the potential to harm us. I’m halfway through the book and am learning so much about how the brain can help our aging selves. If we use our brain correctly, it can actually be a big factor in keeping us younger than our actual number of years.

The book, Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age, was written by Jo Ann Jenkins who, at very young age, became the CEO of AARP. Jo Ann said she wrote the book, “because I believe there is a bigger conversation to be had — focused not on just the historic burdens but also on the potential historic benefits of living longer.”

She goes on to say we need to change our thinking and change the conversation about what it means to get older. Our minds and actions should be not about aging. Our lives can be lived feeling much younger and doing so much more than people several generations ago could or would do.

She makes the point that, “Science is making longer lives possible, and we’re just now beginning to realize the opportunities those longer lives offer. People are reinventing work, searching for purpose, embracing technology, and opening themselves up to new experiences like never before.”

As we age, we really need to focus on our health, our wealth, and really work hard to develop a very good sense of our purpose at a middle age or older. That can extend your life in a big way.

Jo Ann preaches how life enhancing it is to think like a younger person, emphasizing that we should try new things, take chances, and not fear aging. She also tells the wonderful story of a 79-year-old lady, Ernestine Shepherd. “With her flat stomach, toned arms, and excellent health, you’d never guess this female bodybuilder is seventy- nine years old… following the death of her sister and many health problems and depression, Shepherd set a goal to get in shape. She was declared the World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010.”

Wow, what a great story. That should motivate all of us to go after our big goals no matter how tough they may seem and put our fears aside. Yep, it can all be done in your mind, in our great brains.

I do want to talk more about this subject of aging and some of the other things our brain can do to help us stay young, active, and productive. So, next week’s blog I will continue down this road.

You Don’t Have to Age

April 18, 2021 by  
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 Source: New York Times, Oct. 31, 2006 Photo Jeff Miller, U of Wisconsin

I am only 35 months away from hitting the big 80, so I have been thinking about age a lot lately. That’s why I’m pulling from an old blog post of mine, one that hits close to home and that I would like to share with you.

Have you ever wondered what you will look like when you reach age 85? More and more Americans are living that long and longer. Statistics from the Society of Actuaries and the Annuity for the year 2000, shows that a male, aged 65, has a 50% chance of living beyond age 85 and a 25% chance of living beyond age 92. A female, aged 65, has a 50% chance of living beyond age 88 and a 25% chance of living beyond age 94. But what will make the difference for any one of us?

There is some evidence to show that calorie restriction and resveratrol could make the difference between which side of those life expectancy statistics you’re on.

Above you see two rhesus monkeys. The one on the left eats a calorie-restricted diet, while the monkey on the right eats a normal diet. Both monkeys are in their late 20s. Their normal lifespan is 30-40 years. As you can see, they look to be in quite different conditions. Here is how the New York Times made note of their differences:

At 28, getting on for a rhesus monkey, Matthias is losing his hair, lugging a paunch and getting a face full of wrinkles.

Yet in the cage next to his, gleefully hooting at strangers, one of Matthias’s lab mates, Rudy, is the picture of monkey vitality, although he is slightly older. Thin and feisty, Rudy stops grooming his smooth coat just long enough to pirouette toward a proffered piece of fruit.

Tempted with the same treat, Matthias rises wearily and extends a frail hand. “You can really see the difference,” said Dr. Ricki Colman, an associate scientist at the center who cares for the animals.

The scientists believe it’s the restricted calories that made the difference between the condition of the monkeys but have found that resveratrol, a molecular mimic of calorie restriction, may deliver the same benefits without food deprivation. There is more human testing to be done, but researchers themselves became so convinced of this they begun taking resveratrol pills themselves.

How does resveratrol work? Studies have shown that Resveratrol turns old cells into young cells. Old cells typically accumulate extra copies of ribosomal DNA that clog the cell and impair cellular function. Resveratrol reverses this.

I think it may also be important to note that recent studies indicate that resveratrol works best when taken in small amounts. There are varying opinions on how much that actually is, however. From 200mg a day or less to simply drinking a glass of red wine has been suggested. The idea is that more is not better with this compound. Too much can actually block the mechanisms that allow resveratrol to help keep up young.

So, if you want to look good as you age, you can go on a nutritionally smart restricted calorie diet or try resveratrol or a little of both. Also, don’t forget to keep having novel experiences, make and reach for big goals, stay social, and exercise. We all get older every year, but there is no reason to age faster than necessary.

Just Believe

July 19, 2019 by  
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To live a very long life is a very good thing, at least if you truly enjoy the years along the way. Time is such an interesting thing and it goes on and on, whether you and I are alive or not. I find it very interesting that the older I get the faster time seems to fly by. I’ll never forget when I was 15, counting down the days and months, wanting them to go faster so I could get my driver’s license. Do you remember those slow years when you were a kid, maybe waiting to get your license or counting down the days till Christmas?

In addition to filling our lives as much as we can with good stuff, we should also try to increase our lifespans. And there are ways to do that. Years ago, I read a book by an anthropologist, entitled How to Live to Be 100. In the book the author reported a study of the people who live in the southern Soviet Union the area of Georgia. These people have an average lifespan of over 100 years. How do they do it? The author pointed out that the Georgians diet is somewhat different than ours, but not radically different from other people who don’t live so long. Their level of activity is also not particularly unique. In the end the author concluded that these people lived long healthy lives because they expected to live long healthy lives!

But it doesn’t work just to think or hope you’ll have a long life –you have to expect it and really believe that it will happen. Personally, I would suspect that, with that kind of thinking, but in their they really did watch what they ate and spent their time wisely doing things that didn’t harm their bodies. The other thing that helped extend their lives was the way society there treated older people – with more respect and honor.

No matter how long we expect to live, we should plan to do as much with our time as we can. It is said that time is money, and indeed it is. With extra time you can make extra money. Time is also happiness, if it is well used. Time is also joy and contentment, peace and pleasure and love, but only if we use it wisely.

Many years ago, I drove through East Chicago Heights in Illinois, which is not the most desirable urban area. I was absolutely stunned to see the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who lined the street that warm summer night, doing nothing but just standing there. I learned later that this was a normal practice there. When we do nothing, however, we receive nothing in return.

I’m not suggesting that we not take time out to enjoy ourselves. Enjoyment and recreation are rewards we can give ourselves after we’ve worked hard and done a good job. The law of life says that hard work and struggle must precede the joy and fulfillment of accomplishment. And without that there is not a true enjoyment of life. When we are productive, it almost always lifts our spirits and contentment factor.

Okay, so I am going to work on my own brain, and I do plan on living a very, very long life. 100 years old doesn’t sound like that big of a number now, because I’m 75% of the way there already. How about you? Are you going to set a big number goal and really go after it? If you do, the one big thing you’ll have to then is to just really believe that you’re going to do it.

Adding Years to Your Life

March 22, 2019 by  
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I have been writing this weekly blog now for many years and, as those of you who have followed my blog know, the main theme is me being a coach and a leader directing people to make their own fortune. And, of course, the key or formula to making millions is pretty straight forward, as you no doubt have seen in my writing and, hopefully, have implemented and gained big profits from over the years.

But you may have noticed that I wander off the financial theme from time to time. The issue of “great health” has filled many of my blogs. Maybe it’s just me, but the older I get and the more money I make, the more I can’t help but take a hard look at the health issues. They are so very critically important to all of us.

I mean, think about it … if you make a billion dollars, does that money keep you from kicking the bucket or having terrible health? Oh sure, you can go to the best doctors in the world with all your money but there is a lot more to good health than going to the doctor. So, yes, money is important but without good health money doesn’t mean near as much as when you have millions AND great health.

In my daily planner I have two pages with two lists of good advice and healthy habits that are frequent reminders to me to take the best roads to great health and longevity.  The first list, which I put together back in 2002, has the title “20 Ways to Add 20 Years to Your Life”. Now, I want to share that list with you, hoping that it becomes a good reminder to take great care of your health:

20 Ways to Add 20 Years to Your Life

  1. Eat salmon often, not beef, and take one gram of fish oil daily
  2. Eat unrefined whole wheat bread.
  3. Be wise don’t supersize. Replace protein with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and small salads.
  4. Exercise 3 to 5 days a week, even if it’s just taking long walks, but always remember that it’s food that’s the big factor for weight control vs exercise.
  5. Scientific studies have proven that mice that are fed a lot fewer calories than the control mice lived much, much longer and had healthier lives. It can and does have a similar effect on humans.
  6. Be happy. Smile a lot to other people and even to yourself in the mirror. That smile helps release the good brain chemicals of dopamine and serotonin.
  7. Get a good night sleep. Go to bed and get up at consistent times.
  8. Learn to love cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and other vegetables.
  9. Use olive oil instead of butter.
  10. Laugh, dammit. Laughter releases those good brain chemicals which helps you relax and even boosts your immunity.

Okay, I know I said that the title of the list that I have in my planner and I look at several times a week was “20 Ways to Add 20 Years to Your Life ” and I’ve only listed 10. Well, the other 10 will be covered in my next post, plus I’ve got another note on a few signs and habits to give you longevity.

A Busy and Purposeful Life

February 9, 2018 by  
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I am so very impressed by people that keep themselves involved and busy with work, social connections, play time, and, yes, no matter what their age is, investment goals.  Look at Warren Buffett—he’s 87 and worth billions but is still out their investing.

Speaking of age 87 and of someone who keeps on moving and staying involved, take a look at my January 10th post. After I wrote about my very talented tennis buddy, I asked him if I could post his full name and a photo of him in my blog. So here he is, standing to my left in the photo. Ken Greenbaum, a super, great, inspiring example for me and many others, looks a lot less than 87 years old. And you ought to see how he runs! He plays a great game of tennis.

Right after writing that January 10th blog post entitled “The Key for a Longer and Healthy Life”, I read a great article by Claudia Dreifus in Kauai’s Garden Isle newspaper, entitled “When Work Brings Joy, Why Quit?”  The author highlights 3 great examples of people that have not let aging slow them down.

“On most mornings,” Claudia writes, “Jack B. Weinstein rises at 5:30 to exercise. At 7, a car takes him from his home on Long Island to Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, where he is a senior Federal District Court judge for the Eastern District of New York.” That morning routine might sound pretty ordinary until you find out that the man is 96 years old. That is very impressive and it no doubt helps keep him alive and healthy.

For Adolfo Calovini, a 82-year-old New York City high school teacher Dreifus writes about, ” the need to earn income is part of his motivation. The approximately $110,000 annual salary he earns … is a necessity.”  When asked if he’s ready to retire, Calovini shook his head, saying, “to me, teaching is about life. This is what I do. I can’t see a time when I wouldn’t.”

Then there’s the 88-year-old Dr. Kandel.  He works in a research laboratory at Columbia University. “I like what I do. Keeping engaged keeps you intellectually alive.” He goes on to say, “If you are healthy and enjoy your work, continue. At the very least, it gives you additional income. Even if you don’t need it, the money can be for your kids and grandchildren.”

I don’t know how old you are but I’m getting up there in age myself. The more I think about it, however, and the more of these stories I hear, the more it motivates me to do everything I can to prolong my life and health and create my own great story of keeping busy and purposeful far into my later years.

Making the Next Year Last Twice as Long

April 8, 2016 by  
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Is it just me or does it seem like every year time speeds up?  Today, April 8th, is my 72nd birthday. It seems like my 71st birthday was only about 3 or 4 months ago! So now what do most of us do on our birthday? Yep, we celebrate.  But do we actually rejoice that we are getting older and closer to the end of our life?  Or maybe we are celebrating that we survived one more year?

The question really is, though, is there a way to slow down the passage of time?  Before I get to my ideas on that, I must tell you that one year ago I said to my wife without thinking it through, “Ya know honey, I don’t think I want to have any more birthdays,” and she quickly and wisely said, “Oh babe, I really think you do want at least a few more!” Duh. What was I thinking?

I guess when we are celebrating our birthdays what we really are doing, or at least what we should be doing, is some thoughtful reviewing of what we’ve spent our time on and what we’ve accomplished in the past 12 months. It should be rather like what we do around New Year’s eve.  And then after our reviewing we should take time to do some planning and goal setting for the next 12 months.

As far as what I think will work to slow down the passage of time, I have noticed that when I work at becoming totally aware of the present moment, in the ‘right now’, it does seem to slow down the clock a bit.  This last year I kind of moved away from taking notice and enjoying the ‘right now’ moments and spent too much time thinking about what I am going to do in the future.  True we all need to take time to plan and set goals but after we’ve done that we really need to concentrate our efforts to do more of living, enjoying and rejoicing in the moment. And that is what I plan on doing a lot of now before the big 73 rolls around.  Yep I’m going to slow Father time down.  Let’s all try to do that and see if it will make the next 12 months more rewarding and satisfying and, just maybe, those 12 months will seem to take twice as long to travel though. Let’s all slow the next 8760 hours down by living in the great ‘right now’.

How to Live to be 142!

May 8, 2015 by  
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You no doubt have heard the rumor that all of us humans will die someday. Of course, I don’t believe every rumor I hear and this one sucks. I just don’t want to believe it! So maybe I’ll call for a huge boycott. You know, get a bunch of us older people together with big signs saying “We are boycotting death!” or “We refuse to die!” or “Death sucks and we won’t participate!” Well, it’s a nice thought but it probably won’t work. Oh yes, if we did it in front of a TV station they might put us on the news so everyone could get a big laugh out of it, but I don’t think that will help us avoid death or even prolong our lives by much.

However, there are things we can do to postpone the inevitable and live longer, stronger and in great health. In fact, there are some researchers that are “inching toward the seemingly impossible: a cure for aging,” according to the February 23, 2015 Time Magazine article. Maybe you saw that issue. On the cover was a picture of a cute baby with the headline “This Baby could Live to be 142 Years Old”. That headline certainly grabbed my attention and yes, I read every word of the several stories covering what the researchers have discovered and what we can do right now to postpone our own demise.

The main story was about “Mouse UT2598″ and the discovery of a compound called Rapamycin which seems to dramatically slow aging, at least in certain cells. If this compound works for humans it could increase lifespan to around 142 years. The research going on at the Jackson Laboratory and the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, is in its early stages and researchers don’t recommend that humans start popping Rapamycin pills just yet says David Harrison because there are some down sides they have discovered at this point in their research. But the good news for me at age 71 is that they have seen that, “Rapamycin is also neat because it works even when you start quite late in life”.

So if this compound isn’t for humans just yet what can we do about it now? The obvious answer, at least to me, is to do everything in my power to stay healthy, in hopes that science figures out how humans can safely take Rapamycin. And the most effective and proven ways to do that is by eating the best foods which, according to the researchers in the Time magazine article include fish, fruits, veggies and extra virgin olive oil as well as calorie restriction, periodic fasting and consistent exercise with maybe a bit of yoga and meditation.

Do all that and you will have a significantly better chance to live longer and maybe hang in there until they perfect Rapamycin for humans. If doing all those things that you can do and should do sounds like a tough challenge, then listen to the words of William James. What he said many years ago has helped me to better my life when I could see that I needed to make changes and knew that it was going to be a big challenge. “If you change your mind, you can change your life”. I have that burned into my brain and hope you do the same.

 

 

 

We All Age but We Don’t Have to Get Old

January 17, 2014 by  
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On January 8th I launched what I call my “90 Day Super Quest”. That quest is my ambitious goal to get myself into the best possible physical and mental shape of my entire life!  My birthday lands on the 90th day of this quest–and I turn the big 70 this year!

I am a week into my “super quest” and I’m right on schedule with my workouts which include tennis, weight lifting, sit-ups, push-ups and stretching.  As for the mental side of my quest, I’ve been doing pretty good keeping up with reading, writing, making new friends and spending lots of time with old friends as well as my family, of course.  But, I’ve noticed a problem.  It’s that old demon … that negative inner self-talk.  Since I’ve set the 90 day goal I’ve been way too focused on my age and the fact that I am getting older. That number 70 has dominated the chatterbox inside my head and not in a positive way.

However, today, I just happened to pick up a book that I’ve read and written about many times and it flopped open to page 55 where the word “aging” jumped out at me.  It’s the book that Susan Jeffers wrote entitled Feel the Fear and Beyond. This is the follow up book to Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Here’s what she says about aging and what your inner voice should NOT be saying about the subject:

“I am getting older now.  Aging is horrible. I wish my body were young again.  Look at those wrinkles.  Who could love a face that’s old? I hate it. Pretty soon no one will want to be around me.  When I was young, I could dance all night.  Now I don’t have the energy.  Why do people have to age?  I wish I could be young forever.”

And here is what she says we should be saying to ourselves:

“I love aging.  My children are grown and now I’m free to do the thing I put off doing.  I’m glad I joined the gym.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in such great shape.  I’m going to learn all I can about keeping myself in the best of health.  I have so much to look forward to.  I learn and grow every day of my life.  I wouldn’t want to go back one day.  Why would I want to go back?”

With all my focus on hitting 70, that number became set in my head, like a heavy, unmovable, concrete block.  I have now realized that I need to get rid of that and ask myself the question that I used to ask so often, something we all should probably ask ourselves whenever we think about aging: “How old would I say I am if I didn’t know?”.  When I ask myself this question I can honestly say I come up with the answer of 44.  So I guess on April 8th I will be in the best physical and mental shape of my life as a 45 year old. That sounds pretty good to me!