The Best Advice You’ll Ever Get: 22 Life Lessons From the Elder Generation

There are some life hacks that the older generation can share with us that they have clearly benefitted from over the years since they can already see the results of some of their habits and actions and know what worked and what didn’t.

What Are Some Life Hacks That You Clearly Benefited From?

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Someone asked on Reddit, “What are some life hacks that you clearly benefited from?” and specified that only people who are Gen X (b. 1980) or older respond. The responses included some great advice and life lessons that had to be shared!

Here are some of the responses (lightly edited for clarity). Maybe we can learn from them!

Related: The Secret Household Hacks Your Mom Never Told You 

1. Don’t Stress About the Small Stuff

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“Don’t stress the small stuff and it’s mostly small stuff in life. Another is that things have a tendency to work themselves out – even if you don’t have all the answers now, you will figure it out,” one person responded.

It can be hard to remember this adage, but it’s true. Don’t stress about the small stuff. It will be ok.

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Quit

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“Don’t be afraid to quit. End things that bring a net negative to your life. Be they jobs, a pair of shoes, or relationships. It’s OK to give things a chance to wear those shoes to see if they break in, to keep trying to see if you can save a relationship, but at some point, you’ve just got to say nope, this isn’t going to work and end things. End the relationship, donate the shoes, and quit that *** job; why are people so scared to leave a job? Find another one and quit the old one, change jobs, change careers,” one person wrote.

This is such great advice. Don’t stick something out just because you think you need to.

3. Don’t Put Things Off

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“I don’t think this is a hack so much as advice, but don’t put off doing the things you dread doing. They still have to be done (or there are consequences for not doing them) and you just spend time thinking about having to do them,” wrote one person.

A Habit To Cultivate

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He continued, “This was a habit I cultivated in high school and have followed through on throughout my life. I always did my homework early, read textbooks steadily, and prepared for tests over time. It made my life a lot less stressful. It’s especially important not to sit on daunting tasks because they just seem harder the longer you avoid them. Get on top of and keep on top of stuff you don’t want to do. It’ll make those tasks seem easier as time goes by, and you’ll feel freer when you’re in your downtime.”

Related: 19 Frugal Habits That Will Change Your Life 

4. Don’t Gossip

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“Don’t speak badly about others behind their back. It’s just not good form. Think about the last time you heard another doing it – didn’t you think, “I wonder what they say about ME when I’m not around?” advised one person.

5. It’s Ok To Give Up

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“It’s ok to give up on a book a few chapters in if you aren’t into it. Same with a TV series or movie. I used to always hang on to the end because I started and figured I would eventually get something out of it. Wrong,” answered one person.

6. Regulate Self-Criticism

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“Learn to regulate self-criticism. There’s a difference between dropping a pizza on a rug(1) and running someone over cause you are drunk(100),” said one person, “Rate the error/mistake from 1 to 100. Apply fair criticism. Vow not to repeat X and move on.”

7. Lower Your Payments

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“It’s way smarter to get approved for the longest mortgage you can (30 yrs, 40 yrs, whatever) and pay it aggressively and take comfort that you can make lower payments if needed,” one person said, “My wife and I paid our 30 year mortgage in 16 years this way, knowing full well we could opt for lower payments if our finances changed.”

8. Create a Budget

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“Create a budget and stay within that budget,” one person wrote. Another added, “Yes, and budget *below* your means.”

Creating a budget and living frugally are the two best money hacks you can find.

Related: How To Make a Budget That Actually Works 

9. Work on Your Marriage

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One person got real about marriage. They said, “When you marry, your life belongs to someone else. Work for them, and they work for you, and the marriage prospers. When you have children, your marriage belongs to someone else. Work for them, and the family prospers.”

Related: How Budgeting Saved My Marriage

10. Walk

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“Walk as much as possible while you’re still young,” wrote one person. Another added, “And keep it up as you age.”

11. Get Help

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“Seek medical and mental help as needed, even if you don’t believe it’s ‘that necessary’. Many medical things can’t be helped if you wait, or you may lose time in your life from waiting,” wrote one person.

Pushing off important medical and mental help will almost definitely backfire on you.

Related: 10 Most Frugal Things People Admitted Backfired in Their Face 

12. Don’t Let People’s Expectations Stress You Out

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“The more you do. The more people expect from you. Don’t let people’s expectations overwhelm you or stress you out,” wrote one person.

Another added, “Reminds me of “the reward for hard work is more work.” More or less the same.”

13. Go To Bed Angry

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“It’s ok to go to bed angry. It’s better than being tired and saying something you will regret,” wrote one person.

Another agreed, “Whoever said that whole “Never go to bed angry” thing doesn’t get it. Half the time the fight is BECAUSE one or both of you is tired. Just go to bed and wake up refreshed in mind, body and attitude. More often than not, you will realize the issue was blown out of proportion.”

This is so true. When you are tired, you cannot approach things logically and respectfully. Go to sleep and deal with big and small issues when you are not tired.

14. Listen to Your Body

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“When your body warns you, heed it,” advised one person.  “Especially as you age. Right now, mine is telling me it’s time to tap out after 40 years of heavy industrial workload. Physical, long hours and walking on concrete has reduced back and knees into sounding like truck tires crunching under gravel. Steel toe boots have rendered hammer toes, bunions and shifted 4th and 5th toes at weird angles. At 60, it’s time to hang up that blue-collar uni.”

Listen to your body!

15. Do It Now

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“If it takes less than a minute, do it now. Hang a coat, make a bed, wash a dish, clean a counter. It really helps to live in a clutter-free environment. Your stress will be less, and you usually can find things quickly,” one person responded.

This is great advice. Do all the small things as you go, and you won’t have all the things you need to do pile up and become overwhelming or unmanageable.

Related: Messy House? Super Easy Ways to Keep it Clean

16. Drink Water and Eat Vegetables

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“Water is your best friend, and so are veggies. I put a bunch of frozen veggies in the blender and mix them with water. Think the diet and moderate exercise is why people think I look young,” one person said.

Having a good diet is a great way to take care of your body. Eat more vegetables and only drink water; you will feel much better.

17. The Golden Rule

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One person answered with the basics, “I live by the Golden Rule. Don’t talk to others in a way you wouldn’t want to be talked to. Treat others as you would want to be treated.”

18. Ask Questions

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“Whenever you feel tempted to make a statement, ask questions instead,” someone wrote.

This is really good advice and help you become a lifelong learner.

19. Say No

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“Politely and clearly saying no is the most powerful lesson I’ve ever learned,” one person answered.

Learn to say no and set clear boundaries.

20. Use the Stairs

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“If there are stairs, use the stairs. It’ll do wonders for you,” one person responded.

If you are able to, then getting in those minutes of extra exercise, especially if you live a sedentary lifestyle, will do wonders for your health and body.

21. Do Right

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“Do what you think is right, and always take the high ground in difficult situations. You may not be right, but you will learn and never regret your decisions,” someone answered.

This is great advice to learn from.

22. Don’t Read the News at Night

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“Don’t open email, read or listen to the news, or discuss heavy subjects after 6:00 pm. Ever since I started doing this in my 40s, the quality of my sleep improved,” someone answered.

I guess this means staying off social media, also!

Life Advice

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These life hacks turned into great life advice and lessons from which we can learn. I hope you enjoyed this Reddit list of life hacks older people clearly benefitted from.

Don’t forget to check out these 30 Boomer Opinions That We Actually Agree With.

This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved.


Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.