There is no financial excuse not to give up your seat for the elderly - opinion

There are many articles against giving up a seat on transport for the elderly, and many of them cite financial reasons.

 A bus operated by Superbus. (photo credit: SUPERBUS/COURTESY)
A bus operated by Superbus.
(photo credit: SUPERBUS/COURTESY)

Growing up, we were taught that if you saw an elderly person, someone disabled or a pregnant woman on a bus, you got up and gave them your seat. Earlier this week, I took a bus to work. There were no seats to be had, so I stood. No problem for me as I sit enough in the office that standing is actually good for me. 

At the stop after I got on, a gentleman, probably in his early 80s, got on the bus. He was carrying shopping bags in both hands. It was a struggle for him juggling the bags and holding on to the railing as the bus pulled away. 

I looked around and almost everyone was looking down, engrossed in their cellphones. Finally, after about five minutes, someone noticed the man and got up to give him his seat. But before he could grab his bags and walk over and sit down, a 20-something woman came over and stole the seat! I was shocked. 

The elderly man, not wanting to cause a ruckus, quietly stood there. I gave the woman an angry stare, and then begrudgingly she stood up and let the man sit. 

What angers me even more is that I have seen this happen multiple times recently, especially with pregnant women. People just won’t get up and give them their seat.

A money changer holds Turkish lira banknotes at a currency exchange office in Ankara, Turkey October 12, 2021.  (credit: REUTERS/CAGLA GURDOGAN)A money changer holds Turkish lira banknotes at a currency exchange office in Ankara, Turkey October 12, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/CAGLA GURDOGAN)

When I got to the office I decided to Google terms like “giving up your seat for the elderly,” etc. and I found countless articles against the practice. Huh? What has happened to us as a society?

Later that same day, someone sent me a TikTok video. The video was produced by someone whose moniker is “The Educated Wallet,” and he was discussing how stupid budgeting is. 

He started by saying that budgeting creates a “negative mindset. It creates a negative feeling toward money.” He then went on to compare budgeting to a diet. Just like with a diet you need to restrict certain foods, so too, budgeting restricts things you can buy. 

He concluded by saying that budgeting sets us up for failure, because eventually we will give in and buy something extravagant and then will feel bad about ourselves. 

I am sure that if you go ahead and keep buying things with money that you don’t have, your self-esteem drop off the charts when you file for bankruptcy!

WHAT THE Educated Wallet doesn’t understand is that budgeting is incredibly empowering. Instead of the money being in control of you, you are now in control of your money. You decide what to spend your money on and what not to. While I don’t put much stock in modern psycho-babble, just imagine how being in control of your money will impact your self-esteem. It will be amazing.

Some of you may think I am a modern, Renaissance-type of man. In fact, I am actually sort of old school. Some might even say that I am out of the Stone Age. 

I believe in old-fashioned values and think they last the test of time. Whether standing up for someone on a bus, or only spending money that you have, these are basic, elementary values that benefit all of us.

There is only one way to make sure you have a financially secure future. That’s to do it yourself. 

Take control of your own financial situation. Start by sitting down and doing a budget. By doing this you can get a clear picture of how much money is coming in versus how much money is going out for expenses. 

Once you have a budget, then you can set up a disciplined savings plan. Start thinking about your long-term goals and needs, and then speak with a financial professional. A professional will be able to create a long-term financial plan for you and help determine how much needs to be saved, monthly and annually and at what rate of interest in order for you to achieve your financial goals.

I recently met with a client who inherited a sizable amount of money. He had told me that his parents were both salaried workers who never made a six-digit annual salary. He was blown away by how much wealth they had accumulated. 

I said that they just followed the rules of being financially responsible. They saved every month, never bought anything on credit or that they didn’t have money for. He confirmed that by saying they did everything by the book.

You don’t need to be making a huge salary working in hi-tech. If you live a modest lifestyle, put away money consistently, you too will be able to retire comfortably.

Let’s turn back the clock and start incorporating some old-fashioned values. Take control of your own financial situation and start building a secure financial future.