Hi! Lori here with a very special episode for you. Andrew and Add from China232.com publish an English learning podcast with conversations, vocabulary, idioms, business English and other cool stuff that I know you’ll like. I really like what Andrew and Add are doing with their show, so in just a minute (as soon as I shut up) you’ll hear an example China232 episode. The full transcript and vocabulary list is also available for download, so you can read along as you listen. If you like what you hear — and I think you will — I encourage you subscribe to China232 through iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. Just search for China232 in iTunes or Google, and you should be able to find it, no problem! OK, without further ado, here is the China232 guest episode. It’s called “Baby Boomers”.
All right we’re here for lesson number 79 already in the VIP room at
China232.com and we’re talking about some investing, ways to hopefully make
money for all that hard-earned money that you make. You want to invest and get
some more hopefully and not lose it and we’re also talking about how that
combines with older people and why it’s good or it could be good to invest some
money in what older people are doing. We’re going to explain the situation.
There’s a lot of really cool terms and phrases that go on this and if you watch the
news, especially the business news you’re going to see this kind of stuff all the
time. All right, that sounds pretty interesting. We may as well just hit the
dialogue and see what we’re talking about.
A: I heard you’ve been investing some of your nest egg.
B: Ya. I had it in the bank and I finally realized that it wasn’t doing much better
than stuffing it under my mattress.
A: Where are you thinking of investing it?
B: I’m buying a lot of health care stocks. The baby boomers are entering their
twilight years and they are going to need a lot of medical treatment.
A: That makes sense. Are you putting your money anywhere else?
B: I’m also investing in leisure activities for all those empty nesters with money
to burn. They’ve got a lot of time on their hands and want to enjoy the fruits of their labor by doing stuff like golfing and going on cruises.
I wouldn’t mind going golfing or going for a cruise. I’m definitely up for a vacation
right now. We’re going to be going on a nice vacation that we go on every year
to Thailand in a couple of months and if you haven’t done that I highly
recommend it because if you don’t like the cold and I hate the cold, spend it on a
sunny beach. It’s a lot of fun doing that in Thailand and Thailand is awesome all
Well that was a nice advertisement for Thailand, and I’m convinced
and I will be going again this year. And if you spent a lot of money on trips when
you’re young unfortunately it doesn’t help you save up a “nest egg” and a nest
egg is a common and slang way of talking about somebody’s savings and this is
really the money a person or a married couple saves for retirement. So it’s not
saving like a few hundred dollars so you can buy yourself a new iPod.
This is talking about all the money that you saved when you retire and hopefully if you
don’t go too crazy on your credit cards, you’re going to have a pretty big nest egg
that you can enjoy when you’re older. Well if you work for a long time you usually
do save up a nice nest egg and for example I could say, he’s got a huge nest
egg. He doesn’t need to work for the money anymore. I think he should retire
now because it seems work is really stressing him out.
I know a lot of people in this situation. I’m sure we all do. They work and they work and they work and
they just get addicted to it. They just keep saving a bunch of money. They’ve
got this huge nest egg and they don’t want to retire even though they’re stressed
out of their minds. Sounds like a pretty weird position to be in. It’s a lot better
than being totally poor and broke I guess, but they should kind of relax and enjoy
a little bit of that money.
And if you want to make money and you want to do
investments it’s a good idea to get a lot of money and a terrible investment is
stuffing it under your mattress. If you “stuff your money under your mattress” and
a mattress is your bed, if you put your money literally under your bed instead of
in the bank or instead of in the stock market you’re really going to lose out over
time, and someone’s probably going to steal it and honestly the phrase came
from the old days when people were actually afraid of banks failing and they
couldn’t get their money back. So when some kind of scared people had a
bunch of money they would not put it in the bank, they would not invest it, they
would just save it at home and put it under their bed and I guess they thought
when they were sleeping nobody would bother stealing it.
Yeah, it sounds like a pretty weird idea to put a lot of money under your bed, but I guess if you have a
couple bucks maybe not the worst idea. It’s better than spending it all on nothing
and going into debt with your credit cards and having to lose your house, which a
lot of people have certainly done and some baby boomers have done it and
some of them haven’t and a “baby boomer” is an excellent phrase, and it’s a
common term used to describe a whole generation in America and these are all
the kids born in the years after World War II and in that time many people were
born in America and many other Western countries because the men would
come home from the war they’d be kind of lonely and bored. Their wives would
be there waiting for them and they’d have nothing to do except for start a pretty big family. So for the years between 1946 in 1964 there was this huge baby
boom they called it where a lot of people had babies and there was just a lot of
babies born during that time.
Yeah, and at that time people had really large
families, which also contributed to the boom. Right and that’s why it’s a good
idea to invest in the baby boomers because there’s so many of these people and
now they’re getting older and they’ve got a lot of money so you want to kind of
think about what these people are doing and sell stuff to them and they’re either
going to get sick hopefully not or they’re going to want to blow their money on
some fun activity like going on a cruise.
All right and a lot of baby boomers are
around 60 years old now and they’re also “empty nesters” which is another really
interesting and commonly used slang term and this is for a couple who had kids
and the kids grew up and moved out of the house and this is quite normal for
families. It’s just the normal way that things go in life if you have a family and if
you’re a couple and you only live with your wife or husband because your kids
moved out then you are what is called an empty nester. You don’t have any
people in the nest. You’ve got this big house kind of like a birds nest and the
little birdies, your kids, they flew away and they’re unfortunately not coming back
except for holidays and now you’ve got this big house to yourself and you can
argue about who’s cooking dinner.
Yeah our parents are in this situation and we
are the kids that left the house or the nest and we flew all the way to China and
haven’t looked back. No we haven’t and a lot of parents hate this situation
because they feel lonely. Our parents I think actually love it because it saves
them a lot of money, especially our father. He likes to spend the money that he
made and now because we are not spending their money, he’s got a lot of
“money to burn” and if someone has money to burn it means they have a lot of
extra money. They can spend it on many kinds of fun and enjoyable activities
and don’t really need to worry about money for basic needs of life like buying
food and stuff. They can buy new cars just for the fun of it or go on kind of
expensive holidays and to expensive restaurants and just kind of do the fun stuff
that’s really enjoyable in life, that’s if you have money to burn, you have this extra
money that you could almost burn it.
Sounds like a pretty great position to be in.
I wouldn’t mind having a big nest egg and a lot of money to burn and a lot of
“time on my hands” which is the next term and if you have a lot of time on your
hands it just means that you have a lot of free. Right, so if someone has a lot of
free time you could say, what you doing with all that time on your hands, you
must be so bored and I hear this all the time. I don’t understand it at all because I
think free time is great. You can choose to do whatever you want.
Some people I guess they’re not very creative and they’re bored with free time. I personally
love it but I guess it’s just different personalities but that’s what it means if you a
lot of time on your hands, you’ve got a lot of free time and someone could ask a
friend, what are you going to do with all that extra time on your hands when you
retire. What are you going to do when you quit work and you don’t have any
responsibilities for the whole day, what are you going to do with all that time on
your hands. Yeah a lot of people that work their whole lives in a company really
don’t know what to do with their time and I find this very strange, but I guess it
does make sense if you’re used to being in that routine for so long.
Right and the last term we have here Add is “enjoying the fruits of your labor” and this is what I
think everybody wants to do at at least some point in their life and this is a set
phrase in English and your labor is your work. It’s all the hard work you put in
during your whole life and the fruits are kind of like the money that you saved up
during that time. So if you work hard all your life and you save money you can
finally enjoy the fruits of your labor and our father’s been saying this to us for
years, he can’t wait for the day that he can enjoy the fruits of his labor and finally
our parents are at that stage where they can enjoy the fruits of their labor and I
think that was a pretty interesting lesson Add and I’d love to hear your comments
on the website as always. We’ll be here again next week at China232.com.
Nest egg: Someone’s “nest egg” is a common slang way of talking about their
“savings”. This is really the money a person, or a married couple, saves for
He’s got a huge nest egg. He doesn’t need to work for the money anymore. I
think he should retire now because it seems work is really stressing him out.
Stuffing it under my mattress: In the “old days” people were afraid of banks
failing. When they had a lot of money, many people would “stuff it under their
mattress”. A “mattress” is someone’s bed. They would put it under their bed
because they didn’t want anyone to steal it and they thought it was safe there. Of
course, these people never made any interest on their investments.
Baby boomers: “Baby boomers” is a common term used to describe a whole
generation in America. These are all the kids born in the years after World War
2. In that time, many people were born in America, and many other countries,
because the men would come home from the war and start large families. The
“baby boomer” generation was born in the period between late 1946 and 1964.
This represents a huge population.
Twilight years: Someone’s “twilight years” is a polite way to describe the last
several years of their life. It’s a way of saying old age.
Empty nesters: An “Empty nester” is a slang term for a couple who had kids
and the kids grew up and moved out of the house. This is normal for families. If you are a couple and you only live with your wife or husband because your kids
moved out, you are an “empty nester”.
Money to burn: If someone has “money to burn” it means that they have a lot of
extra money. They can spend it on many kinds of fun and enjoyable activities
and don’t need to worry about money for the basic needs of life like food.
A lot of time on their hands: If someone has “a lot of time on their hands” it
means they have a lot of free time.
Someone might ask a friend, “What are you going to do with all that extra time on
your hands when you retire?”
Enjoy the fruits of their labor: This is a set phrase in English. Your “labor” is
your work. The fruits are the money. If you work hard all your life and save
money, you can finally “enjoy the fruits of your labor” by spending money on fun
stuff when you retire.
Hi! Lori here, welcoming you to another episode of Real English Conversations from BetterAtEnglish.com. In today’s conversation, my friend Yvette returns to help me finish our earlier conversation about perfectionism and procrastination. This time we focus on the strategies that we’ve found helpful in our own battles with this debilitating problem. As always, you can find the vocabulary notes and full transcript of this podcast on our website, www.BetterAtEnglish.com.
OK, here we go!
Lori: Actually, there was one thing that I think in our last conversation about perfectionism and procrastination that we didn’t really cover…
Lori: …and that’s what you do to get out of the procrastination habit once you’ve identified that you have a problem with it. Like if you have any methods that you’ve used to help you over the fear of starting or working on whatever it is you’re supposed to be working on.
Yvette: [Laughs] You’re asking me?
Lori: Yeah, yeah we didn’t talk about that.
Yvette: How you actually get out of it? Wow…
Lori: If there’s anything you do…
Yvette: If you find out, let me know. I mean, that’s kind of tricky. Wow, that’s something to think about. Well, usually I start with a plan. You break it down and smaller bits…so… the way that I can do it sometimes is to just say, “There is…I need to do a task and let me just first open the file folder.” That’s my first step. Once I’ve got that opened up and I’ve got the file maybe even opened in my browser — whatever I needed to be in — then I can start working on it. But it really is just kicking my butt…giving myself a good kick and going, “Come on, you can do it today.” But I tend to just find 15 other things to do first, which is clear my desk…oh yeah, I need lunch…oh, I need to do to the — let me do the groceries right now instead of later, so I don’t get interrupted by that. Um, so I tried to get rid of things, but I don’t know, I try to plan it better, but that usually doesn’t work — for me anyway.
Lori: Uh huh. Well, it sounds to me, when you mention that, for example, if it’s a writing project, that you start by just opening the file….
Lori: …to me that sounds like you’re breaking it down to something you know you can do that really doesn’t require any performance. I mean it’s not difficult to just open the file and look at it, but then at least you make that first step.
Yvette: Yeah, it’s…I do find though, that is the hardest step, that very first one. Once I’ve got that one, it pretty much moves on from there. Once I’ve got the file and I know what I’m looking at — and maybe part of that is that it’s a bit chaotic, especially as a writer I may have 15 drafts of a similar text, and I’m not even sure what the first one or the last one was that I used and which one I was in, and I try to make notes of this in a notebook that I keep specifically for that purpose, umm, but to know what part, what I should be working on, just that, identifying that helps. And then I can open that file in my word processor and start working, umm, and then it’s okay. And then it’s just a matter of not getting interrupted by anything or anybody.
Lori: Yeah, that’s really hard.
Yvette: Because once that interruption comes, then it’s very hard to go back to it.
Lori: Yeah, it takes you a while to get back into the flow once you’ve been interrupted.
Yvette: But it’s also kind of overcoming a sort of fear of not being able to do it. Umm, you know, when you want to start a task and you think, “Ah, I don’t know, it’s a big task; I’m not sure I can do it.” You know, to just get started and throw out the idea that it needs to be perfect, and that you know, any effort right now would be good. But by that time though, I’ve already procrastinated to a point of it almost not being possible anymore, or at least being way too late. You know what I mean? It’s like you’ve already kind of passed five deadlines at this point.
Lori: Yeah, mmm. I guess were coming round again to that idea that just getting started is often the hardest part, and by that I don’t mean like actually “started at the beginning of a project,” but maybe even when you’re working on it, like, getting started with your work period for the day, or whatever, that’s really hard.
Lori: And I found, for me, there was actually a site on the Internet that had what they called a “procrastination hack“…
Lori: ..that I’ve actually used it from time to time, and, it, I find that it’s been quite helpful in just getting me…when it…especially for jobs that are just a matter of like, sitting your butt in the chair for a certain amount of time and just focusing on it, you know, to get it done…umm, and what they call it is the Procrastination (10+2)x5 hack.
Yvette: I see..
Lori: And it’s not too long, I mean, 10 minutes is only 10 minutes. And I’ve found — I don’t actually use it anymore — but I have used it in the past, and I found that it was actually, kind of a way to make the task seem less daunting. You know, you’re putting a limit on it, and you’re giving yourself a chance to screw around, and…umm, yeah, I found it really useful.
Yvette: I see. I would find 15 ways around that.
Yvette: I would probably spend most of the time figuring out how I could make that work in a different way!
Lori: Uh huh!
Yvette: Now, what I do do, especially when I’m writing and I know…I mean, it’s to tell myself I need to write for four hours today.
Lori: Umm hmm.
Yvette: And then I have a stopwatch, and every time I stop writing I just hit the stopwatch. And I go, “Well, that’s it…you’re not working right now.” And umm, at the end of the day I just have to have four hours’ worth of work, and I don’t care how I get there, but I just do it that way. And the advantage of it is that…I discovered, that, the amazing amount of work you can do in four hours. You know, you’re not thinking about, it. It’s so much work, and, yet you don’t feel like you’ve worked all that much ’cause it’s only four hours in a day, big deal. But, that helps.
Lori: Yeah, to me that sounds like a similar idea, except that you’ve…you’re a lot more flexible in the time… that you’ve set the limit to four hours, and…
Yvette: ‘Cause I would hate to get interrupted by anything. You know, if I got 10 minutes of writing done I’m in it, and now I don’t want to stop writing, I just want to keep going.
Lori: Yeah, well that’s kind of the idea, is that, you know, once you then get in the flow you wouldn’t need to do it.
Yvette: Okay, that’s the idea.
Lori: It’s really more for when you’ve got this huge resistance to just even getting started and even…are completely blocked and just can’t get going at all ’cause you’ve built up to be this huge thing, but then kind of telling yourself, “Well, I only need to do 10 minutes.” To me that was like a huge help.
Yvette: It’s a very big mental exercise, isn’t it?
Yvette: It’s not about the physical or the time … “you don’t have the time.” You do have the time, it’s just that there is a mental block.
Yvette: And you’re not sure what to do next. Well, you can think of a lot of other things to do, and it’s just because for some reason you just don’t feel comfortable, or you feel that the time needs to be right, or the atmosphere, or that it’s too warm or it’s too cold ,or you know, 15 other things running through your mind: “What else can I do?” Instead of the thing you should do.
Lori: Yeah, umm… a lot of those things you mention, like finding all these other things that you want to do instead of the thing you should be doing…I think those are all kind of avoidance strategies to protect you from, you know, the thing that you’re afraid of in…to begin with is that, “Oh, it won’t be good enough” or “It’s going to be hard” or “People aren’t going to like it.” You know, those are all the things going in the back of your mind that have you…
Yvette: “What’s the point of this?”
Lori: Yeah, Exactly. Exactly. So it’s all just avoidance.
Yvette: That’s what it is. If…umm…when I’m…as a writer, I often come across things that I’m not sure in the end to anyone would even care about or like, and I have to do it all because I like it, and then it’s harder. But on the other hand, I do have to say that once I make it enjoyable for myself, I give myself, say, a treat at the end of it. Like, I give myself some reward. Then I can actually get it going. You cannot…you know, there’s one thing I really want to do, a movie I really want to see, or a TV show I don’t want to miss, then I’m telling myself, “You can’t watch it until you finish the task at hand.”
Lori: Okay, yeah that’s a good strategy.
Yvette: So not punishment but reward.
This concludes our conversation on procrastination and perfectionism, at least for the time being. Now if I can only find the perfect topic for the perfect podcast, we’ll be back soon with another episode. Until then, you can find the archive of all our old episodes as well as the full transcripts and vocabulary lists on our website, BetterAtEnglish.com. Thanks for listening, and bye for now!
(Download the pdf for vocabulary notes)
kicking my butt
find 15 ways around
in the back of your mind
the task at hand