Kelly J. Bullis: Want to work well with seniors? Start with respect

Well, we made it to spring again! I love spring. Another year into the history books. I looked at myself in the mirror recently and wondered who was the “old guy” staring back.

King Solomon, thought to be one of the wisest men in the history of the world, put it this way in the Bible: “In the day when the keepers of the house tremble (hands shake), and the strong men bow down (back gets weak); when the grinders cease because they are few (loosing teeth), and those that look through the windows grow dim (losing eyesight); … when one rises up at the sound of a bird (no more sleeping in), and all the daughters of music are brought low (losing hearing). Also they are afraid of height, and the terrors in the way (simple things make us fall down risking breaking a bone); when the almond tree blossoms (hair turns grey), the grasshopper is a burden (not as strong as we used to be).”

I used to think that was nice. Now I’ve noticed every single one of those is beginning to describe me! Ouch! When did I get “old?” My mind still thinks I’m young, but my body is telling me a different story.

When I was younger, I started hanging out with old guys. They had a lot of wisdom to share. Recently, I’ve noticed that young men are trying to hang out with me. Who do they think I am, an “old guy with wisdom to share?” Hmmm?

One of our firm strengths is in serving seniors with their business, bookkeeping, tax and financial needs. We practice the Five Commandments of working with Seniors:

1) Thou shalt never attempt to scare us into buying. Fright tactics turn us off. Do tell us about independence.

2) Thou shalt always treat us as equals. You value connectedness, independence, personal growth and revitalization. So do we.

3) Thou shalt not pander. Never talk down to us. We’re not dumb. In fact, we’re probably smarter and richer than you.

4) Thou shalt not bamboozle. Know that we’re skeptical. Give us credible testimonials by folks like us.

5) Thou shalt not razzle-dazzle. Know that we’re conservative about consuming, but we have a sense of humor.

So, if you are in a business trying to cater to “old folks like me” (it hurts to write that!), keep the above in mind. In this hard economy, a good business owner seeks to appeal to the largest base of customers possible. It’s easy to cater to our own age group, but harder to think out of the box and make our business practices appealing to those who are not in our own age group. For me, that means I must constantly think of ways to appeal to younger folks. (My wife says that isn’t too hard since she says I act like a “little child” sometimes … I consider that a compliment, by the way.)

Did you hear? “Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.”

Kelly J. Bullis is a certified public accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 775-882-4459. He’s on the Web at


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