In their older ages, many retired folks focus on hobbies, their families, and staying as mentally and physically active as they can. After all, they want the same things that everyone else does: happiness and good times.
There is always a reason to keep your head up and your legs active. Nobody knows this better than a 101-year-old man who has not only lived a full life but is still living it up every day in every way. Take notes, because Orville Rogers holds the secrets to both joy and financial success…
Born in Texas, 1917, and raised in Oklahoma, Orville Rogers has the typical characteristics of a Southern gentleman: he’s generous, kind, patient, romantic, and optimistic. That’s probably what made him the healthy wealthy 101-year-old he is today.
Inspired by Charles Lindbergh (who was famous for flying monoplanes), Orville decided he wanted to grow up to be a pilot when he was only 9 years old.
As soon as he finished high school he attended the University of Oklahoma to study mechanical engineering. There, he met the love of his life, a woman named Esther Beth Shannon.
Upon graduating in 1940, Orville was hoping to study at seminary school back in Texas, but he didn’t get the chance — he was drafted to serve and protect the Allies in World War II.
Through his service in the Air Corps, Orville transitioned from training as a flying cadet to becoming a highly skilled pilot who trained others. Later, he was drafted again to fight in the Korean War.
On the home front, things seemed to be going just as well: Orville and Beth got married in 1943, and once he completed his military service, he became a commercial pilot for Braniff airlines, all the way up until his retirement at age 60.
Unable to fly commercially, Orville continued pursuing his passion for flying in the cockpit of his personal airplanes until he turned 79. He told one magazine, “I owned three different airplanes, and I enjoyed every one of them.”
On top of practicing his favorite hobby, he remained physically active as well. When he was 50, he read a book called Aerobics by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, which inspired him to start running. In his 90s, he was ready to take it to the next level…
In March 2018, Orville set a slew of records in 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1,500-meter races. A few years before that, he “slaughtered the world record in the mile,” as he described it. That wasn’t an easy feat since his 100th birthday passed in 2017!
“Some people think I run because I can, but that’s backward. I can because I do,” Orville said. He also credits his longevity to a healthy diet and his supportive friends and family, the latter of which includes 3 kids, 14 grandkids, and 11 great-grandkids.
One might wonder how an elderly man, even one who was a pilot, can afford 40 years of retirement after raising three children on a single income. But Orville actually made some very smart financial decisions in his lifetime.
He had earned $1,550,000 through his career, but at the same time, he and Beth gave away $34 million to many different organizations, including the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas. How could this be possible?
“I believe the only way we could have accumulated so much wealth was by giving it away,” Orville said. Still, he also had a few tricks up his sleeve – after all, in 2018 he still had $5 million squirreled away to get him through his retirement.
Orville actually began saving money for his retirement in 1952 when 401K plans didn’t even exist yet. Life expectancies were much lower at that time, so people didn’t plan much for life after 60.
What he didn’t put away in savings, he invested in the stock market after studying Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. He must have had a head for business because he began collecting payouts quickly.
“The key to success in any investment is periodic investments over a long time,” he said. As the years pass, savings will accrue interest. Then interest rates will apply to the initial investment, plus cash earned from interest – and the savings will start to pile up.
While Orville’s age may be a rarity for people born in 1917, chances are much greater that people born after the 1980s will become centenarians as well, or at least live well into their senior years. A small pension will likely not last that long.
A person who retires at 65 could be living off of retirement plans, pensions, social welfare or their own savings for over 3 decades, and many don’t have more than $200,000 saved. The severity of this issue is not to be taken lightly.
Experts suggest saving for at least 3 decades as well as creating extra investments as Orville did. Still, this isn’t always easy, as people may face low income or high, unexpected expenses that can burn through their savings quickly.
Therefore, it is absolutely key to thoroughly study investments, save even more for rainy days, and most importantly, to start sooner rather than later. Spending money is fun, but we all want some financial security, right?
While Orville is setting records on many levels, he hasn’t always had it easy. He carries the weight of serving in two wars, lost a son to the Vietnam war, and lost his beloved wife Beth to old age in 2008. Still, he remains as chipper as always.
Most of all, Orville wakes up happy each morning because of his positive state of mind. “I’m enthusiastic about life,” he said. And on his 100th birthday in 2017, he shared a similar sentiment with ABC News. “How great it is to be alive,” he said.
Other centenarians have shared their keys to health and happiness. As with Orville, these long-lasting individuals didn’t always have the most conventional approaches to life.
1. Alida Victoria Grubba Rudge (113-years-old): She was born in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil in 1903 and credited her long life to keeping her mind sharp by playing any card game or brain teaser she could find.
The 110 Club
She also claimed that having a healthy diet was to credit for her century-long life. She didn’t eat any fried foods or sweets, but she made sure to drink a glass of dry wine before meals.
The 110 Club
2. Elizabeth Sullivan (106-years-old): The Texas Rangers fan attributed her century-long life to her favorite soft drink, Dr. Pepper. She started drinking it when she was in her 60s, and knocked back three cans a day!
USA Today Sports
“People try to give me coffee for breakfast,” she said. “Well, I’d rather have a Dr. Pepper. Every doctor that sees me says they’ll kill you, but they die, and I don’t, so there must be a mistake somewhere.”
Max Faulkner / Star Telegram Archives
3. Emma Morano (117-years-old): At the time of her passing, she was the last known living human born during the 19th century. Born in 1899, Emma was alive during three different centuries. This strong woman who kicked out her husband in 1938 and never married again, owed her long life to a WWI doctor.
Alessandro Garofalo / Reuters
Living in Verbania, Italy during WWI, a doctor diagnosed Emma with anemia. He gave her suggestions on how to increase her red blood cell count, so she added eggs to her diet. She ate two raw eggs in the morning with a biscuit, and then a small one omelet for lunch, every day until her death.
Antonino Di Marco
4. Pearl Cantrell (105-years-old): This senior citizen said bacon was to thank for her long life. Now, most people try to stay away from the greasy treat, but Pearl ate it daily and claimed to feel so much younger than her age suggested.
In fact, her love of bacon landed her the role as spokesperson for Oscar Mayer. As a reward, the company gave her a lifetime supply of bacon and let her ride in the Wienermobile.
5. Susannah Mushatt Jones (116-years-old): For much of her life, Susannah swore off men. She claimed to have lived such a long life due to her staying single and lack of stress revolving around relationships.
Olori Super Gal / Instagram
But the more likely reason that she has lived for so long was that she never smoked or drank. She also never wore makeup or dyed her hair. She did claim to be a bacon aficionado, though.
New York Daily News
6. Emiliano Mercado del Toro (115-years-old): During his lifetime, Emiliano held many different world records because of his age. For six weeks, he was the oldest verified person alive and from 2004 to 2007, he was the world’s oldest man alive.
When asked how he came to live for so long, the jokester replied with three things: His sense of humor, love of women, and funche (Puerto Rican cornmeal and codfish dish)!
7. Agnes Fenton (112-years-old): At the age of 58, she said doctors advised her to drink beer three times a day. So for the next 70 years of her life, she drank three Miller High Lifes a day. She started to add in a shot of scotch as she got older.
Stano Murin Photography / Instagram
8. Jessie Gallan (109-years-old): Hailing from Scotland, Jessie first responded to the question of longevity by saying it’s because she swore off men. She said, “[They’re] just more trouble than they’re worth.” She added she eats a warm bowl of porridge every morning.
9. Jeanne Calment (122-years-old): Having the longest confirmed human lifespan at 122 years and 164-days-old, Jeanne claimed olive oil helps keep her feeling and looking young. Not only is her diet rich with olive oil, but she used it on her skin as well.
Olive oil must really work wonders because Jeanne also drank wine everyday, ate over two pounds of chocolate each week, and smoked cigarettes for 96 years of her life. Still, she took up fencing at 85, rode her bike until 100, and lived alone until 110.
10. Nabi Tajima (117-years-old): Living in Kikaki, Japan, Nabi has never spoken publicly about her age. Her caretakers let us in on a little secret: her diet of ramen noodles and rice mackerel sushi were responsible for her longevity! She has approximately 160 different descendants.
C. W. Holeman II / Facebook
11. Clara Meadmore (108-years-old): She owed her long and utilitarian life to abstaining from intercourse. At 108-years-old she died a virgin and is believed to be Britain’s oldest virgin. She saw intimacy as “a lot of hassle.”
12. Batuli Lamichhane (113-years-old): Starting when she was just 17-years-old, Batuli smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes per day. She stopped smoking commercial cigarettes eventually, and smoked beedis (tobacco wrapped in tendu leaf) instead.
She also believed stress takes years off of your life. She said, “People of this modern age have too much stress. And those who do not work or are idle in their old age won’t live long. So you have to be active and stress free.”