The Key To Living Longer: Fear Being Alone Far More Than Going Broke

The key to living longer: fear being aloneI’ve always told my wife that if all goes to hell, at least we’ll still have each other. After all, we met during college when neither of us had any money. We were happy just spending time together between classes in the Sunken Gardens at The College of William & Mary. Having to start over with nothing wouldn’t be so bad.

I’m convinced part of the reason why some couples choose to have so many children despite the cost, the stress, and the time commitment is because they too, fear being alone one day. Having nobody visit you in the hospital when sick is depressing. Having to play children’s games at a nursing home is no way to live out your remaining years.

For me, being alone is far scarier than going broke. When you lose someone, there’s no guarantee you’ll ever be able to find someone as good. But if you lose all your money, there’s a good chance you’ll recover through some ingenuity and hustle. 

The Risk Of Social Isolation

I truly believe the key to living longer is having someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. Having close personal relationships and a strong community to interact with are the top findings why certain communities have longer lifespans than others. Check out the chart from Susan Pinker’s TED Talk.

How to live longer

Living to 100 and beyond. Click to watch the Ted talk

I’m thankful for all the detailed comments left on Financial Samurai, even the unpleasant ones, because they share windows into different people’s souls and promotes new topics of discussion.

Here’s a comment left by JD on my uncontroversial post entitled, Things Worth Spending Max Money On For A Better Life that is incredibly insightful about why someone people are alone. If you read the post, you know it simply provides suggestions, not commandments, on where you might want to pay a premium to live a better life.

Why not just put anything down? Couldn’t disagree more. With this advice you’d go from frugal to broke in no time at all. You could justify buying anything and everything.

Mattress at the top? My mother was conned into buying a pricey new one by her brother. When you’re old and in pain the bed you’re lying upon in immaterial. I’ve tried it from time to time. It’s okay but not worth $1,000+ but when I’m tired I can sleep anywhere on anything. The people pushing beds are making killings on TV because people are foolish to believe their hype.

Home Appliances & Home Theater systems are Scams. They’re built cheaply designed to break down–All of em! The more money you pump into them doesn’t guarantee quality or quality or longevity anymore. A crap movie is still a crap movie regardless of how big the screen or high the resolution. Maybe you’d like to push Kueric coffee machines too. Fear and Status sell. Means nothing.

Dental Care is overrated and relies upon Fear to sell. A magical sonic toothbrush? Really? They pay you a few bucks to hype this? Just basic brushing, a minimum of once a day is all that’s needed. Even flossing has been proven to be excessive if not dangerous.

Work clothes & shoes – Hint: if you’re Retired (i.e. Not Working!) it matters not!
Especially if you’re not a socialite and enjoy doing things by yourself.

Food – Some of us Enjoy the Simple pleasures of Simple food. I’m surprised you’re not hyping caviar here as well! Junk food is only bad for you if you thrive on it excessively and make meals of it. For some of us it’s what makes life worth living.

Car Safety is another one of those things relying on Fear to scare people into shelling out money. Once upon a time frugal sites said the same thing. All cars made today are basically safe but it is the Drivers behind the wheels one must watch out for. You’re safer driving a stripped-down basic car than one loaded with electronics so you drive while watching a DVD and yelling on a phone while studying a schematic of your car!

Such detailed intentional objection. I figured there must be more to JD’s story so I asked him to share more about himself, and he did.

I’m frugal, and the real deal. I’m financially independent with a high net worth. I’m also not a hypocrite. The simple things in life are free and once you get used to them, luxury living is rather petty and obviously to impress the masses. Furthermore, everything I’ve typed up there is true and I can back each and every statement up.

I’m not negative, I’m real and honest. I’ve also debated people to death and I don’t intend to waste my time doing so online again. Everyone lives in their own realities with their own priorities, petty as they may be. It’s why my personal relationships have never worked out. My own preferences have been exotic and queer to most people at times. I’ve turned down steaks for Big Macs, for instance. Because they taste better to me.

If you want me to reiterate a few. Planned Obsolescence pretty much wipes out the need to buy “the biggest, best, most popular, and coolest” of appliances (in conjunction with the “bathtub” curve regarding breakdowns). A $300 refrigerator will last as long, if not longer than a $3,000 one with a ridiculous touch-screen and wi-fi system, and certainly require less maintenance and make life.  Easier for you. Oh, sorry, no bragging rights with an Ordinary refrig.

That’s what it’s all about: Status; impressing the guy next door. Maybe you need such recognition, but I do not. The bottom line is that I saved $2,700 which is more money in the bank making interest. Plus, I’m not pulling my hair out over a touch screen that’s malfunctioning and a unit that needs software updates etc. I could extend this analogy to include all manner of modern “smart” tech which makes live miserable in the long-run, including fancy thermostats which need their batteries replaced constantly and maybe even recalibration. All for Look At Me I’m Better Than You gratification, and a cumulative drop in wallet dough. If you’re secure in Yourself you care not about appearances to project upon others. You are indeed Comfortable and truly at peace. I’ve splurged in the past and I almost invariably feel guilty afterwards. Because the outcome simply was never worth it. Maybe I just need a shrink.

Frankly, I’ve found this website a disappointment. Your early articles were generally good, but you’ve changed over the years. Perhaps this wife of yours has had an influence on your psyche. It’s why I’m not married. If you want real financial know-how, checkout Bell’s Living Stingy blog. Not 100% in agreement of course but I do tend to agree mostly with his lifestyle (minus the BMWs and his sometimes quirky politics).

Although JD said a lot of unflattering things about me and this site, it’s good he followed up with details about his beliefs. Here are some of my observations:

1) There may be some self-esteem issues because he thinks having a nice TV, refrigerator, bath tub and wi-fi system is for showing off to your neighbors instead of for the owner’s personal satisfaction. I’m not sure how our neighbors will ever know about our nice equipment unless we invite them over to a bath tub or online gaming party.

2) Guilt for spending money despite having a high net worth. Many of us have this problem because part of the reason why we got to a high net worth is by being frugal. Old habits are hard to quit.

3) JD is alone. By comparing things with others, bringing up my wife, his shrink, and his failed relationships, it seems he either enjoys being alone or desperately wants to find someone.

How Not To Be Alone

If you want to live longer and happier, then it’s probably beneficial to find someone to go through life with according to the research. To be loved and accepted is all we can ever ask. Although there is no guarantee of finding someone, we can at least improve our odds by doing some of the following:

1) Ask whether you’d be happy hanging out with yourself for hours. Pretend you’re stuck for five hours at an airport due to a computer system malfunction. Would you enjoy your company? Or would you not be able to stand yourself? The airport test is one of the key determinants every applicant must pass when applying for a job that demands rigorous work hours and plenty of travel.

2) Find ways to look at the positive. JD decided to look at my post as an offense to his frugality. Even though my post wasn’t forced upon him or cost him anything to read, he got triggered by my suggestions. Meanwhile, most other people decided to see the positives of the post and share some of the things they value the most. The more you can see the good in things, the more people will start seeing the good in you.

3) Turn on your grateful switch. Whenever I sprain my ankle, I’m thankful I didn’t break my ankle. Whenever my wife is feeling tired after a long night, she is thankful she has a son to be tired for. In the very simplest terms, if we can be grateful for just being alive, our world will change for the better.

4) Smile. Nobody can resist a big toothy smile. Strangers will automatically smile back at you for no reason. A smile is like a powerful magnet that draws people to you. The next time you’re zooming down fresh powder, dancing to your favorite tune, or riding a jet ski, notice how sore your cheek muscles get after the session is over. It’s because you’ve been smiling nonstop without anybody noticing. The more you can smile, the happier and healthier you will feel.

5) Focus on solutions. Problem solvers don’t just accept a bad scenario, they find a way to go around the wall. There is no greater turn-off than the person who complains why life isn’t fair and then sits on their ass all day. The water cooler gossipers at work invariably are the first ones fired. One of the reasons why blogs have taken off is because journalists only report the news, while bloggers not only share the news but also offer actionable steps. When you can build some credibility by consistently doing what you say, attracting others is an inevitability.

6) Take care of your mental and physical health. Nobody will love you if you can’t love yourself. Loving yourself starts with taking care of your mental and physical well-being. You don’t have to look like a swimsuit model or have the mind of the Dalai Lama, you just have to consistently work at reaching your healthiest potential. Stay active. Keep an open mind. Read voraciously. Practice what you’ve learned. Forgive yourself and others.

7) The more people you meet, the higher your chances. Meeting someone you can connect with is a numbers game. Sharing a common interest is the easiest catalyst to start a meaningful relationship. I have one friend who is always on a date despite not being particularly attractive. He’s not afraid to ask every person he meets for their contact information because he’s not afraid of rejection.

8) Stay hygienic. For the love of God, shower, wash your face, brush your teeth, and floss no matter what JD says about not buying a Sonicare tooth brush! If you smell and are dirty, nobody will want to come close to you, let alone kiss you. Ask your friend(s) if you smell, because some people do and have no idea. Let your natural pheromones attract other people in ways that only science can explain.

9) Develop emotional intelligence. If you’re clueless, it’s dangerous because you may not know you’re clueless. This is also called the Dunning-Krueger effect. An emotionally intelligent person understands another person’s viewpoint and works to socialize in a manner that’s agreeable. An example of an emotionally unintelligent person is one who asks things like, “can I pick your brain” without first developing a relationship or providing something of value. Communication skills are key to a high EI.

10) Be generous and kind. Showing generosity and kindness is one thing if you have everything. Showing generosity and kindness when you have nothing is next level humanity. A woman by the name of Kate McClure raised over $360,000 for a homeless man through a GoFundMe campaign after she ran out of gas on an interstate in Philadelphia. Johnny Bobbitt Jr., walked a few blocks and bought her some with his last $20 and asked for nothing in return. Johnny has a second chance in life after drugs and alcohol derailed his plans.

We Are Programmed For Companionship

Having a lot of money is pointless if you have nobody to share it with. During my days in finance, I met plenty of wealthy, but lonely folks who had let their desire for wealth consume them. Every single one of them regretted working so much in their 20s and 30s, and not working more at finding someone they could come home to.

There’s no denying that luck plays a role in finding a companion. But I’m certain we can all do more to increase our chances at finding someone if that’s what we want.

Relationships are hard to maintain because we tend to take each other for granted. Marriage is constantly a work in progress. But I say it is better to have loved than to never have loved at all.


The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Couple

Marrying Your Equal Is Better Than Marrying Rich

Financial Dependence Is The Worst: Why Each Spouse Needs Their Own Bank Account

Readers, why do you think some people remain alone? What are some other ways to improve our chances of finding the one? You can read more of JD’s comments on love and life in the post, The Best Financial Move I Made Is Something Everyone Can Do. They are fascinating to me because they are the opposite of my beliefs. 

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