Frugal Friday: Can You Ride Your Motorcycle Into Retirement?

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Cable Television

Happy Friday everyone! For those of you in the States we had the joy of a four day work week thanks to it being Memorial Day on Monday. We actually were able to take the day off which is not always the case for us, but it always feels so difficult to come back from a three day weekend. I’ll not be sharing an article today, but instead discussing an episode from one of the few shows I like to watch – American Pickers.

For those of you not aware of American Pickers, it’s a show on the History Channel where two “pickers” travel throughout the country in search of “rusty gold” as they call it. Essentially, they’re looking to buy unique items such as antiques and they then flip them in one of their two stores in Iowa or Nashville. The main reason why I like this show is that Frank & Mike – the pickers usually weave a historical aspect into it which I like being a history nut myself. There also tends to be some moments that can make you cringe as they run into some serious hoarders that have major issues letting go of their junk.

Anyway, the latest episode featured a guy who owned a 1910 Royal Pioneer motorcycle. I do not know anything about motorcycles, but both Frank and Mike acknowledged that they’re extremely rare…meaning that there are only a handful of them still in existence today. Being as they’re both major motorcycle nuts, Mike started to make an offer on the motorcycle of $35,000. After rebuffing the offer the guy, Pat, made a statement that set off my PF blogger radar – “I do not have a retirement plan.

I instantly went from a casual viewer to one that was interested to learn more about this guy. He was obviously in his late 50’s to mid 60’s and lived in the house he was born in, so we should be able to assume that he is mortgage free. To take one look at the house you could tell that orderliness was not driving him. He had stuff literally everywhere and his prized motorcycle was propped up by Folgers cans. Throughout the episode he was able to talk Mike up to $55,000 for his motorcycle. Pat waxed poetic about how many of the things he had could not have a price tag because they were so rare and full of memories, but I found myself shaking my head seeing that he had no plans on what he was going to do for his retirement planning. To be fair, the show does not cover the financial health of those it features, but one has to wonder how he is running his financial life if the shape of his house was in such disrepair and quite literally full of stuff.

I do not wish to bash the guy as he seemed to be a genuinely nice guy, but it was apparent that his worth and his hope was placed on the possessions he had. The ironic thing was that he was very unwilling to part with any of the items of value he did have. What I was able to surmise throughout the episode was that he was aware that he did need to have money saved up for retirement, but he simply did not make it a priority and viewed his growing collection of stuff as the priority.

To be fair, I think many of us can fall into the same trap of not making our long term financial health a priority. We all do it when we make those everyday decisions to spend money as opposed to saving it. I know that it can’t always be boiled down to a plain black and white situation, but in many cases it think it can. I believe it requires being aware of what your priorities are, what you hold of value and seeing what the long term impact of those decisions can be. It’s also not to bash having something you like to collect, or having a hobby, but those also need to be viewed in light of the end goal.

Having something to enjoy and make life more interesting is ok, but doing it at the expense of potentially forfeiting your long term financial health is another. The sad thing is that even though he was able to finagle an additional $20,000 out of Mike I think it’ll be of little consequence. Sure, $20,000 is a lot of money, but how much is it really to someone who admittedly does not have a retirement plan in place at his age? This is also not to mention the fact that Pat might also just go spend the “found” money on some new piece of junk. Call me a cynic, but I doubt that it’ll impact Pat’s retirement planning, or lack thereof.

Well, on to the good stuff. Even though it was a shorter week, there was no shortage of great blog posts. If you have the time this weekend, I encourage you to check out some of my favorite blog posts of the week.

If you’re a fan of American Pickers, check out their latest book – Kid Pickers: How to Turn Junk Into Treasure for great tips for kids and adults alike wanting to get started on finding rusty gold!

Blog Post of the Week


Without Purpose, Money is Just Paper on Tackling Our Debt

I loved this staff post by Shannon. She shares a story about explaining to grade schoolers that money, when broken down is simply paper and it’s what you do with it that matters. Are you making your money work for you, or are you enslaved to it by regularly giving in to instant gratification and having no end goal in sight? Shannon summed it up best when she said to make financial decisions that align with your values. Once you align those two it really can make financial decisions easier and will generally serve you much better in the long run. How do you make money more than just paper? Check out Shannon’s post and you’ll be well on your way to figuring that out.

Other Blog Posts That Ruled


An Inside Approach to Entrepreneurship Overseas: Interview with Olim Dives Co-Founder on Untemplater

4 Decisions That Will Cost You a Fortune on Krant Cents

Resist the Urge to Upgrade Furnishings in Your New Home on Money Life and More

Odd Search Terms

Are rich people really rich…No, they’re just lying!

Get rich quick penny stocks…You don’t need penny stocks when you could be playing the lottery!

Has WalMart gotten better…Let me think…NO!

How to become rich fast with no money…knock over some ATM’s (I kid, I kid)

How to become Irish…Isn’t everyone a little Irish?!

I am 62 and only have $50k saved, what do I invest in…Horse racing! (I kid, I kid)

Wake up scratching my head…Must be those damned lice again!


What are your thoughts? How do you balance having a hobby and saving for retirement? Do you have anything fun planned for the weekend?


Photo courtesy of: TheeErin

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • They don’t have Memorial Day in Grenada but I was still celebrating abroad! Not much planned for the weekend. Hopefully it’s relaxing!

    • John says:

      I am hoping for a relaxing weekend as well, though I am paying dearly for taking the day off…so I fear it may be a working weekend.

  • pauline says:

    At least he got money for his bike, had he been into modern bikes and not classic he would only have a depreciating item! My BF collects art and old coins and is pretty good at flipping them, no, that is not his retirement plan but when you have an eye and can buy low and sell high there is money to be made.

  • Gosh…retirement is so expensive. That’s my takeaway from your story; how long will that money last him? I also really enjoyed “Without Purpose, Money is Just Paper.” Hope you have a great weekend!

  • Matt Becker says:

    Thanks for the shout out! It’s always sad to hear about older people without any retirement plan or savings in place. I understand why it can be difficult to start early, but it’s just so helpful to get those extra years of savings and compounding and once you get close to retirement age, it’s so hard to catch up.

    • John says:

      No problem Matt! I agree that it can be so difficult to catch up, especially when someone completely fails to make it a priority.

  • When we had cable we LOVED watching that show!!! It seems that lots of people they feature kind of have that same “no retirement” plan. I hope they have little or no debt/spending habits to go with their no plan. At least that will help. 🙁

    • John says:

      We like watching it as well, though it can be a bit over the top at times. I agree, that seems to be the typical individual they run into, I have the same hope as well.

  • Some people just don’t want to let go of things and will spend all day listening to you up your prices. They like the memories more then making money. With a home paid off and probably no expectations he is probably happy with his situation.

    • John says:

      I agree Thomas, he probably is happy with his situation. Though, I wonder what times will be like if he does find himself in need of money.

  • krantcents says:

    Thanks for the links, I am in good company.

  • Great reads! Hope you have a great weekend. And motorcycle insurance is crazy expensive by itself.

  • Mackenzie says:

    I’ve never watched that show before, but can I say that a motorcycle from 1910 sounds so freakin’ awesome! Wow 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

  • I have a car hobby and they are not inexpensive hobbies. They only way I purchase new parts or accessories is if I saved up for them in advance. It makes the restoration process extremely slow, but I would rather retire with a good amount of money instead of fixing up a car. It is all about priorities and each person has different ones. I hope you have a good weekend John!

    • John says:

      I agree Grayson, we all have to prioritize. I was actually thinking of you as I wrote this. I think you’re taking the right financial approach to your car hobby. I am sure it can be easy to allow the finance aspect to get out of hand and by saving for it helps balance that out. You have a great one as well sir!

  • Priorities are a weird thing, John, because everyone’s are different. As far as saving for retirement, I just don’t think people understand that it should be a priority because saving early will give you the leverage to support any type of lifestyle you want to live. You can’t work forever, so you’re going to need something there to pad your wallet in your old age. Social Security isn’t really that great of a paycheck.

    • John says:

      That they are JM and I saw that everyday for several years. It just never made sense to me as it seems like such a simple principle when you boil it down to its most basic level. Hopefully people like this man will not have to pay for their mistakes.

  • Sicorra says:

    Thanks very much for the include John! Really appreciate it. I love Shannon’s post as well. Have a great weekend.

  • I’m glad you enjoyed my post at Tackling Our Debt and appreciate the shout-out! So many people put so much emphasis on that little piece of paper but it’s what you can actually do with that paper that makes it valuable. The children at the event were from affluent families so it was eye-opening to see their perspective on money. Have a great weekend!

    • John says:

      Not a problem Shannon! I bet it was interesting to see that perspective, it’s a reminder how we can be teaching our children. You have a great weekend as well.

  • Jai Catalano says:

    He will understand balance soon. He can’t have all things on possessions. It’s all fun and games but where does it lead you during the latter years. Hopefully not broke.

    • John says:

      I agree Jai, I hope it’s not broke. I shudder to think of the amount of stuff his loved ones will have to go through when he passes.

  • He coujld probably make up for it if he sold some of his possessions but maybe he doesn’t want to. It’s his choice in the end and some people are happy to carry on. This may be unfair on their relatives but maybe he doesn’t have any to worry about.

  • I used to watch that show all the time. Most of those people are a special kind!

  • Alexa says:

    My hobby is blogging and in the pf world I get reminded of retirement plans everyday 🙂 I love American Pickers. I think some people aren’t worried about retirement plans. He may be content with the stuff he has and living off of social security. Maybe he thinks if he needs extra money he will just sell some stuff.

    • John says:

      I agree Alexa, though that does not make it the wisest thing to do. 😉 He could sell some of his stuff, though he’d have to be willing to do it first. 😉

  • Thanks for the mention!!!! Hmmm….the Irish inquiry has me thinking of a really bad pick up line….

  • Could you imagine being that age with no retirement plan? I couldn’t even imagine caring that much about possessions that I’d look past my own retirement. That’s your future!

  • Sad part (well one of many sad parts) of the story is that there are probably many more people who have no retirement savings and nothing of value to sell. At least if this guy decides he needs the money he can sell some of of his other stuff if he chooses.

  • anna says:

    That’s a little heart breaking to know someone in his 50’s or 60’s doesn’t have a plan yet – I hope he saves the money instead of buying something with it. I watched “Pawn Stars” a lot for the same historical reason – the main guy on there seemed to know a lot about a lot!

    • John says:

      I agree Anna, I felt the same way myself. I’ve watched Pawn Stars once or twice, but could never get into it for some reason.

  • Thanks for mentioning our post this week 🙂 I meant to tell you earlier but the post got buried in my reader…

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