Advice from the Centenarians

I recently attended funerals for individuals who were older than 90 and 100 years old. As usually done at funerals, family and friends shared stories about the deceased. One theme that emerged at both funerals was that the older generations were more frugal. Shaped by the depression, they spent less than they made and had no expectations for assistance. At the funeral people repeatedly quoted the refrain, “Live beneath your means.”

Living beneath your means is a great lesson that some people have no concept of; instead they choose immediate gratification via debt. Another wise quote passed on to me at one of the funerals: “It is not about how much you make but how much you save.”  It may mean giving up something in the short term for safety and security down the road.

Government is made up of people, and government’s results are dictated by those same people’s expectations. It seems like fewer people want to manage government by the numbers. Instead, they leave the ramifications of short-term gratification to someone else in the future.

I miss those who have passed. However, their life lessons live on.


  1. My older relatives also encouraged wise investments. The city had invested $15 million on back-grounding, hiring, and training of about 100 officers that have fled SJPD within the past year alone to other agencies. There are easily another hundred in the background phase with other departments and are on the way out of the door within the next few months alone.

    Maybe Pier, you should spend some time prioritizing the investments the city has made in its police officers which is now experiencing a negative return on investment that would have made Enron look like a better risk.

    • What a great investment in our future Measure B turned out to be. Before, I could only take my kid to the library on Sunday for 4 hours, and then, only to the downtown branch. Measure B got rid of the “supplemental check” that some received – many of them quite well off – because their regular check wasn’t enough due to the fact that they only worked say 10 years for the city. Working for those 10 years did get them lifetime medical but they complained anyways.

      • Please check your facts before you post your ignorance.  No one who works 10 years for the city gets lifetime medical.  Maybe you should use your library time with your kid to better educate yourself.

      • prescient, you have several “gross conceptual errors” in you post.

        (1) Pre-Measure B no Police/Fire employee could retire and collect anything after only 10 years employment UNLESS they had attained the age of 55 years. Measure B bumped the age up to 57.

        (2) the supplemental check has nothing to do with the number of years a retiree worked and was not abolished by Measure B’s passage.

        (3) The money that covered the “supplemental check” comes from the Retirement Fund and by law cannot be used for anything other than retirement fund debt. Sooooo whether or not someone gets a supplemental check does not impact library hours in any way as libraries are funded throught the “General Fund.”

        (4) An employee has to work a MINIMUM of 15 years AND have accrued more than 1200 hour of UNUSED sick leave – then all that is covered is the cost of the lowest cost provider for the retiree ONLY.

        If you want to champion Measure B, as you say in another post – the least you could do is know what the hell you are talking about.

      • So let’s say I work for the city from the age of 45 to 55, I get lifetime medical and a supplemental check. What a deal. The supplemental check comes from retirement fund debt, then spend it reducing that unfunded liability. It does eventually affect the general fund. Show of hands, who thinks the supplemental check was a good thing?

    • At the cost of about $100,000 to $150,000 per recruit. Nice investment. You can be sure that a vast majority of those hired to replace the SJPD officers that have left for greener pastures , will also leave for greener pastures. San Jose is now a training facility for other BETTER agencies!  HAHA , ITS NOT LIKE YOU WERE’NT WARNED. Lets start hiring the 2nd or 3rd best qualified instead of the very best. Get used to the smell because San Jose STINKS

  2. If everyone was thrifty and tried to save more than they spend, our economy would fall into a depression due to lack of demand.

    And I really hope that you’re not trying to use personal spending while carrying debt as a metaphor for government spending while in the midst of a recession. As someone who is actually running our city, you of all people should realize that the two concepts are in no way similar.

    This is what happens when we pick our leaders based on charisma.

  3. Hey Jackie, what do you think our elders would say about spending 15 thousand to repaint a brand new library?
    Where’s the award fr that idea?

    • Some in the police and fire departments get over $100,000 for unused sick time. What a great idea. I would much rather spend $15,000 on a library then that. Look I’m born and raised in San Jose. My kids are in San Jose. When it comes to San Jose, I’m all in. When I first started visiting this web site, I was shocked at the fact the all comments were about measure B. Well if that’s the way it is, I guess i’ll have to be one of the ones who speak out for it.



  4. Mr. Oliverio:
      I just attended my mother’s 90th birhtday last weekend with my seven brothers and sisters, their spouses and offspring. About thirty five people. I am happy to report my mother is in great shape and will surely live to be 100 years old. Never has my mother or any member of my family lived beyond their means. We live within our means!
      Your suggestion that one live beneath their means is an insult to all who work for a living. Living beneath your own means, Mr. Oliverio, would mean spending less than $100k per year. Many working people have never made this much in three years. You really don’t have a clue, do you? You are one of a group that hopes to steal the pensions from the hard
    working employees of the City of San Jose. Many City employeesthought that depending on a pension for retirement was within their own means. Shortchanging working people of promised benefits only validates why you appear to think all should live “beneath their means.” God forgive you because no working person should!

  5. Pierluigi, You are so full of yourself that youactually believe the nonsense you post here!

    You and a majority of the council through your fiscal philosophy have sacrificed safety and security in the present and the future FOR WHAT? 

    For the Rose Garden? For parks? For public swimming pools? For Libraries? For an A’s Stadium? For more city service burdening high density housing? To police the Downtown PBID with police officers under the insane secondary employment policy as a cost saving measure while imposing job performance standards in the form of illegal quota’s?

  6. More advice from the Centenarians….“Your word is your bond!” and “A contract, is a contract, is a contract!”  But city hall’s interpretation is the Centenarians have alzheimers when talking about contracts…..PLO confirm that the police department has gotten over 30,000 applications for the current job openings?  PLO you’re still the greatest!!!  Keep up the good work!!!!

  7. He is joking ?  One only has to look at the spending of the City council to see what a load this is.  PO how about since the city is broke the city eliminate all none essential spending, no travel, no parties, no dinners, no tickets to shows, no $200 bills for donuts and treats for the days meeting, No speeding the A’s because is not needed it might be a want buts in not needed. how many millions have been poured into the A’s and now they are not coming unless the city hands over $100,000,000 to the giants.  I have an idea post your city credit card expenses on here so people can see how much you waste each month while living outside your means. The council and mayors office consume over 10 million each year.  so who is spending … !!!!!!!!!!
      Maybe you should do you job with some integrity. Those 90 year old people would say it is important to do things that make your parents proud of you. I wonder is your father proud of the silly things you write on here.

  8. The world would indeed be a better place if frugality was practiced more widely and more people managed government by the numbers.  Spending Uncle Sam’s cash in lieu of pulling out his credit card would go a long way in eliminating future fiscal crises.

  9. Pier,

    Speaking of financial decisions, I see the city accepted a federal grant to hire 27 new firefighters. I applaud this decision as the right thing to do.

    Why did the city however turn down a similar grant from the federal government to hire additional police officers? Our police department has reached a point of being way beyond a crisis level in staffing. Our officers are being put in extreme peril as well as being physically and mentally exhausted and burnt out.

    Do you honestly thing an academy starting this fall of 36 officers will do much good? By the time they complete the academy and the FTO program and become solo officers, another 100 officers will have left for better paying departments where their professional service is appreciated and the physical and emotional toll is not so high.

    Congratulations on the passage of Measure B and the earlier ballot measures. You promised this would increase public safety. It has done the opposite; officers are fleeing this once great department.

    Rather than you and the rest of the city council, mayor, and city manager spend time patting yourselves on the back, or what “green” measure you are going after next, I suggest all of you focus your attention on trying to do something to retain the officers that are left at the San Jose Police Department. That might be considered a good “investment”.

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