People said, "A man is never grown up until 30." I would say a man never tries to be smart until 50. At least that was in my case.
After age of 50, I knew I could no longer work harder to get ahead, but I needed to work smarter in order to be an "old winner." However, I found out that it was a bit too late, when you are already 50 or older, to start to learn how to work smarter. I wish I knew this when I was younger. It is funny how I overlooked this idea of working smarter in my younger years.
I only knew how to work harder to gain more.
In fact, there is a better way to manage one's life. A smart starting point is to check up on your life, to make a list of your current lifetyle, and to figure out how much money you actually need to maintain this lifestyle or a lifestyle that would be even a bit better than the current one. What I have found was that I really did not need as much money as I originally thought to keep my current lifestyle.
For what I need to eat, I do not necessary need to shop at a more expensive, fancy food market, rather than the casual ethnic food store where the same food usually costs much less. For what I need to wear, I do not need those brand name jackets. I only need clothes that will keep me warm as those from Walmart. (I am not endorsing Walmart.) Will people look down at me for being too cheap? After 50, my life is for yourself not for impressing other people.
At age of 50, you just cannot fake anymore about your wealth. If you are poor, regardless what kind of jewelry you wear. If you are rich, the world also knows. When you are over 50, you just cannot fake it any more, not even your age.
Another smart thing I have learned after 50 is that I started to count my net income instead of telling myself what I made in gross. As a self-employed person, I could easily live in an illusion of having a high income but remain poor because high business expenses can eat all that I have made.
I used to love to hear words from people praising my achievements. Now I see this attitude as being silly. Now that I am over 50, I love to hear people criticize me and my work. Because when people say how wonderful I am, I learn nothing. When people criticize me, because they care, and I learn.
Sweet words of praise can put one into a self-indulgent dream, but harsh words of advice can wake one up. That is a Net Gain Good.