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The Wealthy Retiree, Part 1

Quaero, the handyman at a local senior living complex, was thoroughly discouraged as he flipped, violently, through the Sunday paper.   His wife, Maria, sensed something was wrong during their normally peaceful Sunday breakfast together. 

“What’s the matter?”, she asked concerned.  Quaero’s eye’s narrowed as he screwed up his face to answer,   “I guess retirement’s not gonna happen any time soon.”

                  “What makes you say that?” Maria replied.

                  “Have you seen the headlines recently?  The market is all over the place, bonds and cash are not paying anything, and our house has fallen in value dramatically.  There’s no way we’ll be ready in four years.”

                  Quaero, now 58 years old, had planned to retire when he turned 62.  Maria had no words of comfort for his concerns.  She knew he was right.  Their normally relaxing breakfast was overshadowed by the specter of a career with no end in sight.

                  The next day at work, Quaero was repairing the sink for one of his residence, Will Pecunious.  As  Quaero completed the project and was cleaning the counter, Will handed him a crisp, new $100 bill.  It was well known throughout the community that Will had money.  He spared no expense on any aspect of his life.  Quaero loved to be called to Will’s apartment for repairs.  Despite the fact that the repairs were covered by his rent, Will was always a generous tipper.

                  “Wow, thanks Mr. Pecunious!” Will blurted out excitedly.  “That is very generous, but I can’t accept it.  It’s too much.  The repairs are covered.

“I know, Quaero, that’s your tip.” The old man fired back.

 Quaero’s mind wandered back to the conversation he had with his wife the previous morning.  He was growing curious as to how Will, at 83 years old, had become so wealthy.   “Mr. Pecunious, what did you do for a living?"

“Please, call me Will.  I was a janitor at the high school.” Will replied with pride.

“A janitor!” Quaero couldn’t believe his ears.  “Wow, did you win the lottery or something?” he asked as he chuckled.




“Internet tycoon?”

“Nope” Will said, now with a cryptic smile on his face.  It was obvious he was going to make Quaero ask.

“I don’t get it.  How could you have been a janitor and be doing so well for yourself?”

“I was smart with my money, especially in retirement when all my friends were making big mistakes, I avoided their knucklehead moves.”

“Really, that’s the secret to your success?” Quaero replied stunned. 

“It’s really that simple.” Will said with an air of self-confidence.

“Can you teach me what you know?” Quaero asked rather excitedly. “I’m supposed to retire in 4 years and I don’t think it’s going to be possible”.

“Whether it’s possible is up to you, but I would be happy to tell you my secrets of retirement success.  In exchange, I want you to do something for me?”

“Anything, just name it?” Quaero jumped at the chance.

“Each day you come by to learn, I want you to bring me a sandwich from ‘D’Angelo’s’, the deli on the corner.  I’ll even pay for it.” 

“I’m not sure if I….”

“It is what I require for my services” Will insisted. “The nurses in this place won’t let me eat real food, and Jello’s starting to get boring.” Quaero peered into the old man’s clear blue eyes with a strained look.  Will, as if reading his mind, spoke quickly, “I’m 83 years old, what exactly is in a sandwich that is gonna kill me at this point?”

“Alright, it’s a deal.” Quaero accepted his logic reaching out and shaking Wills hand. 

“Great, we’ll start tomorrow with lesson #1, ‘To pay off or not to pay off, that is the question’.  Be here at 3:00.”  

“I will and thanks for the help” replied Quaero as he turned and walked through door and down the hallway.  For the first time in a very long time, he was excited about his financial future.


Next Issue:  Lesson #1:  It’s not what comes in"

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