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A Father’s Advice for a Better Life
D E E V. S W E N S O N
Filia Press 100 West 12th Street / New York. NY 10011 . No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission. The book has been edited and produced by Tree Swenson. This book was developed out of a series of letters Dee Swenson wrote to his children and grandchildren in 2005 and 2006. Swenson All rights reserved.Copyright © 2006 by Dee V.
don't let it manage you / 27 Compassion / 29 Discipline in money matters / 31 Forgiveness / 33 Use a budget / 35 Interlude / 37 Sincerity / 39 Make education a continuing process / 41 Respect / 43 Strive for home ownership / 45 Self-Control / 47 Cope with inflation / 49 Responsibility / 51 Food storage / 53 Attentiveness / 55 Make Sure You have Some Insurance / 57 Epilogue / 59 .CONTENTS Prologue / 7 Loyalty / 9 Importance of work / 11 Courage / 13 Spending / 15 Citizenship / 17 Become financially informed / 19 Truthfulness / 21 Financial obligations / 23 Patience / 25 Manage your money.
One of you gave me a book for Christmas. 7 . “ Make Aiken an honest place to live. After collecting many suggestions. It was a book about our nation and the people we are. the community people felt they had succeeded.PROLOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. companies. they had a committee evaluate all the traits and condense them into twelve attributes they felt would make their community a better place in which to live. South Carolina. but you did not do what I always request and write an inscription at the front of the book – therefore. I found it very interesting. One item that really caught my interest was a section on Aiken. A movement to improve the community was started. and one aspect of this movement was to choose several character traits. they would continue for another year. as it focused on different aspects of our American life and went into detail about some communities. which if adopted by the citizens would make Aiken a better place to live. and even the water bills had a note. such as. The people of Aiken decided to stress one of these traits each month for a year.” If at the end of the year. The people who planned the project were able to identify scores of attributes that they thought would make the people and their town better. I cannot give proper credit for the gift. and features of our life. So each month. They are now into their second year and feel that this effort has had a positive effect on their citizens. the citizens were advised of what the goal would be for that month. The newspapers publicized it.
and keep in mind each month the goal of improving ourselves. Love.I was very impressed with this program and thought that it would be a very valuable thing for everyone. Of course. I then realized that I couldn’t leave it at that. I am sure it will make all of us better people even though this is a family affair and not a community effort. If we all pay attention to the traits. Therefore. Dad / Grandpa 8 . I will send you these letters each month unless you decide you do not want to receive them. so I decided to also include a second thought each month pertaining to your financial health. each month for the next year I will send you a letter telling you what the “Character Calendar” asks you to stress for that month.
we have all developed an idea of who we are and what we want to be. While this is very important and something we should all strive to achieve. First.” If we can all depend upon the loyalty of other members of our families. The U. and once we form them. we will have a most firm foundation. It might be by speaking positively about a person or about the whole group. 9 . we should be loyal to our goals and try to live up to being what we think we should be.JUNE / CHARACTER LOYALTY The attribute the citizens of Aiken chose to emphasize for the month of June is loyalty. Evans. Once we have achieved loyalty to ourselves. I think that loyalty should start much closer to home. and other members of our family in trying to become the very best each of them can be. It might involve providing financial help or emotional support. when he said “One of the great discoveries in life is finding a dependable person. S. We can help each other by showing that kind of loyalty. It might be by attending meetings and voting. We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish. Each of us might go to precinct meetings which select delegates to national and state conventions. husbands. Army has a great motto: “Be all that you can be. as in being loyal to your country. As we have grown. we should be loyal to ourselves. we should look at being loyal to our spouses and family.” I am reminded of a quotation by Richard L. We should support our wives. Each of us will have to find our own ways in which to be loyal. Most of the time when we think of loyalty we think of it as a patriotic term.
Each day we should think of how we can be loyal to our school. our work. and certainly to our state and nation. This month we should choose not to criticize or complain unjustly. to do it in a constructive manner. our fellow workers. and if we must do so. our clubs and associations. we have taken the greatest step we can toward becoming loyal to all of the other groups to which we belong. 10 .I think that when we learn to be loyal to our family.
but we can nonetheless look forward every day to accomplishing something at work that we have to do.” I think anyone who feels that way about work is a very fortunate person. To be truly successful at work we must like what we do. 11 . we can find a way to understand how important it is and how it contributes to the family and our own well-being. For many years I did not do much to help Elaine with housework. I have to admit that I still don’t like to do it. and that includes using a shovel as a plumber’s helper. Work is utterly basic to our financial well being. No matter how meaningless a task seems. and there is a way to make any job pleasurable. It was all fun. but I get a sense of satisfaction after the work is done.JUNE / FINANCE THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK Thomas Edison once said. This does not mean that there won’t be some days that we will dislike having to go to work. It sometimes seems that there is nothing that is more useless than housework: “It just gets dirty again. I am very much like that: I cannot remember ever having a job that I did not like. “I never did a day’s work in my life. If we are able to make that our goal. then each day we can look forward to the work we do and to the contribution we make. I know that some work seems that it just cannot have much value. Each member of a family should look at work as their contribution to the family’s welfare. It should be a source of pride to do something at work that makes your family or your company more successful.” These days I often help with housework and I find great satisfaction in dusting and other cleaning.
you are not too young to begin investing in your future. 12 . No matter how young you are. Once we have earned that income. The article points out the importance of building a nest egg.Of course we mostly look at work as a source of income. I am enclosing a copy of an article that will give you one suggestion for how to spend some of it. we can start to think about how to spend it.
look at them for courage. This month I ask you to look at your courage. to drink. and our government. and that you see progress in becoming what you think you should be. I hope you have become more loyal to yourself. By this time you have had a month to think about your loyalty. however. organizations. I think the best definition of courage is doing what is right each day. Each day they are encouraged to take some action – often they are urged to take drugs. there is no personal daring of 13 . It is not likely that you will be called upon to go into battle to prove your courage or that you will need to race into a burning building to save someone.JULY / CHARACTER COURAGE Aiken’s character calendar for July is courage. and resisting the pressure despite the condemnation or the derision of their friends is most difficult. Leigh Hunt (an 1800s poet and essayist) wrote. regardless of the consequences. Please join the citizens of Aiken this month by having more courage. or have sex – that for them is wrong. There are. I know almost all of us have succumbed to the pressure of friends and have taken some action we feel is not really in our best interest. “When moral courage feels that it is in the right. company. many times each day we must exercise courage. This temptation is easier to resist as we get older – or maybe we are just not tempted as much. To those of you who have children. I think those of us who are older should help those who are younger to have the strength to resist temptation. I also hope that you see in yourself progress in becoming more loyal to your family.
just as the people of Aiken are reminded to do during the month of July.” I hope each of us will always feel we are in the right. We develop it by doing what is right each day and finding that we are more satisfied with ourselves. 14 . and will do what is right regardless of what others do or urge us to do. Courage is not a gift to us.” meaning that if we face our daily life with courage rather than with fear we cannot help but be more confidant that we will do the right thing. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said. it is something we must develop. I hope each of you will think about courage during the coming month.which it is incapable. “What a new face courage puts on everything.
Bill’s response was that in his experience affluence came not from making a lot of money. Truly. who writes a financial column. When you make good spending decisions it is just like putting money in your pocket. After thinking. Bud interjected.” Elaine said she was mad at him but I don’t really think she was. but by spending it. “Oh. then Dee should be very affluent because Elaine is very frugal. Bill asked me what about retirement was different than I had expected.” Most of you have heard me tell of the time when I was having lunch with Bud Hebeler and a friend of his. I said that I was more affluent than I had thought I would be. “People get money not by making it. for which we paid too much. but from being frugal in the way it was spent. Bill Schultice. You might have heard the quotation. I am not sure I can tell you how to make good spending decisions. then much of the credit goes to Elaine. and much of that comes from bad judgment. “Good judgment comes from experience. Even worse is committing ourselves to payments over a long period of time for something we should not have bought.” At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. and she also rides herd on me. if we seem affluent to you. because she is careful about every expenditure she makes.JULY / FINANCE SPENDING One of my customers once told me. Always 15 . but I later realized that what he said was true. All of us can look back at some purchase we have made and later realized that it was very unwise. If I am able to tell you how to make good spending decisions I would first suggest that you never buy anything impulsively. or for which we are being charged too much interest.
Most of the time when we consider how we are spending our money we are considering major purchases. a cup of coffee or a Coke five days each week can cost $2880 over a ten-year period. Credit cards are the major cause of the many bankruptcies filed each year. A comparison can be made with credit cards and bankcards: they surely make our lives easier. For example. we are often spending far more than we think on everyday purchases. to think about any purchase that is more than you have in your pocket or more than you have in your checking account. at least overnight. Just be aware of what the cost is over a period of time. Always discuss any purchase that costs any substantial amount with other members of your family. However. Most of you know how much pop I drink. My advice to you is: “Spend Your Way Into Affluence. and especially with your spouse. so don’t think I am suggesting that you forgo these small pleasures. new things that benefit people come with a cost. Always take time to compare what else is available and at what price.000.” 16 . A drink with lunch or dinner can add as much as 30% to the cost of the meal. Often. For example. if we include interest on the money if it were instead saved and invested. but the cost includes thousands of people killed each year in auto accidents. but they also certainly make it very easy to get into debt over our heads. A latte could cost perhaps as much as $10.take time. the automobile has greatly benefited mankind.
“The arm of the law is only as long as the alertness of its citizens. We should feel that paying taxes for that privilege is well worth the cost and the sacrifice. all recognized that the title of “citizen” was a real compliment – that a “citizen” was the foundation of our nation and even of the family. we are in danger of loosing our freedom and security. No government can give us freedom or anything else without the participation of the citizens who live in that country. I don’t mean we should not complain or be concerned about how that tax money is spent. and Thomas Jefferson. but that we should feel good that our taxation rate is among the lowest in the world. Our founding fathers. but I do hope that each of you had some opportunity to use personal courage to accomplish something special during the last month. such as John Adams. Richard L. Patrick Henry. We live in the greatest nation the world has ever experienced. The character trait emphasized for the month of August is citizenship. Evans once said.AUGUST / CHARACTER CITIZENSHIP I hope none of you had to dash into a burning building to rescue anyone lately.” From this we should understand that if each of us does not perform the duties of citizenship. I know you have all heard me complain about taxes – that is 17 . but a good start is voting – after becoming knowledgeable about the issues we are voting on and about who we are voting to put into office. It would not be possible to list all the things that you can do to be a good citizen.
all of the ideas I am sending you about these character traits are my own.one of those privileges we have as citizens – but we owe it to our country to pay an honest tax. and therefore. I almost felt that I could avoid paying the tax. That should be your approach as well. In the end. South Carolina. except for two things: that tax was something I owed. any letter we write to them gets far more attention than you might think. Don’t let me set your goals! 18 . the citizens are just given the trait and it is left to each individual to decide how to put that trait into practice. In Aiken. and zoning meetings. Each of you can think of many things you can do to be a better citizen. and I did not want to break the law. Often we need to do what is right even if it hurts. be active in programs such as parent teacher associations. Make your feelings known! By the way. Most of you know how I agonized over paying taxes on the capital gains from the sale of the Chelan condo. Your congressional and state representatives get relatively little mail. One example might be to write letters to your representatives about matters that are important to you. Other examples would be to attend local government meetings.
as a new business is started. and thus the corporation is born. Therefore. Just as today. many people go through their entire lives not understanding the purpose of the stock market or how it functions. partners become necessary. could afford to build an airline company or to start any major worldwide company. and especially with the building of the transcontinental railroad. yet. Following are few terms you should know: Annuity Bull market Bonds Short selling Basis points Puts & calls Bond fund Zero coupon bond Bear market Stock Broker Capital gain Mutual fund 19 . This was just about the first time that no one person had enough money to finance such a project. whatever their wealth. Many people go through life never understanding what is involved in financial matters. no single person. As a bit of history. The building of the railroad was such a massive endeavor.AUGUST / FINANCE BECOMING FINANCIALLY INFORMED My suggestion to you as the financial thought for this month is to get the knowledge you need for financial health. the stock market really came about with the industrialization of this country. Buying stock is merely a way to become a financial partner in a company without having to become active in running the company or risking all that you own should the company not succeed. All of you know I have been involved in the stock market for most of my life.
Become financially knowledgeable! 20 . by Phillip Fisher. Or better still. Every purchase you make will fall into one of these two categories. Both are readily available. you will have to read. or use the library. such as Kiplinger’s or Money. Following the old advice to “Pay yourself first” will contribute to your financial well-being. Those who will have to survive on Social Security spend all of their money buying liabilities. Everything else you spend your money to buy is either an asset or a liability. People who are successful financially spend as much as possible on assets. Certainly a retirement program is an asset. but each month we should try to spend a little money on an asset. you can find some very valuable books. If you want to become financially informed about the above terms. but is it enough for the future you want? A little money in a saving account or an automatic investment in a mutual fund is something everyone should have. with the possible exception of a house. upkeep. and improvements as long as you own it. These two terms will determine your future. Even though you think of a house as an asset. What is the difference? Simply that liabilities continue to cost you money. Uncommon Profits. However. you are on your way to a financially secure future. it is so only if it increases in value.12-B1 fee Spiders Stock dividends DJA Municipal bond IRA No-load mutual fund Closed mutual fund Index funds Roth IRA ETF funds Living will If you have an understanding of these terms. Assets bring you money. I have not mentioned the two most important terms and the two that will be just about the only knowledge you will ever need if you truly understand them: assets and liabilities. interest. or The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need. I would suggest any one of several magazines. by Andrew Tobias. An old one that is still very good is Common Stocks. We must buy many liabilities in order to survive. It is a liability because you will pay taxes. and if it provides you shelter at a reasonable cost.
Loved her better. Of her being there that day But Rebecca recollected She was taught deceit to shun. And the moment she reflected. Who commended her behavior. R EBECCA ’ S A FTERTHOUGHT Yesterday. Rebecca Mason.SEP TEMBER / CHARACTER TRUTHFULNESS This month I suggest you join the citizens of Aiken in striving to be more Truthful. she thought of going Very quietly away. Not a single person knowing. Broke a handsome china basin Placed upon the mantel shelf. Told her mother what was done. and forgave her. Quite alarmed. In the parlor by herself. – Elizabeth Turner 21 .
T RUTH Truth is the trial of itself And needs no other touch; And purer than the purest gold, Refine it ne’er so much It is the life and light of love, The sun that ever shineth, And spirit of that special grace, That faith and love defineth. It is the warrant of the word, That yields a scent so sweet, As gives a power to faith to tread All falsehood under feet. – Ben Johnson I had a difficult time deciding which of the above two poems to use to illustrate this month’s character trait, and then I realized that one is very good for younger people and other one for the older, but both have good messages for all ages. In this series of letters, I have always given you not only the character trait for the month, but also my own suggestions of how we may apply the character trait. It is difficult to improve upon the poems I have included here. One thing I have always thought of when talking about being truthful is that you must have a very good memory if you are to be untruthful. That is, that when you are untruthful you must remember not only what is true, but also what you were untruthful about. We all know that there are some times we must avoid the truth to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, but I cannot think of any other times when it is acceptable. I think that is what is meant by the statement “The truth shall set you free.”
SEP TEMBER / FINANCE
What I offered you last month as financial advice could be the most important financial information you will ever receive. I hope you will always remember the difference between assets and liabilities. You should spend the rest of your life trying to acquire assets. I do hope you were able to acquire at least one asset during the last month. It could be as little as $10.00 deposited in a bank account that will be used to buy a share of stock or a mutual fund. But if it is an asset, it will make money for you for the rest of your life. I do hope that this one asset you acquired last month is in addition to your regular contributions to your retirement program. The advice I will offer to you this month is something that as far as I know you do not need – at least I hope that you don’t. That is, I hope that you already consider any financial obligation you have as a commitment that ranks as high as the most important things in your life. I think back to when Gary and I decided to start a new business in Washington. Both of us felt that we should begin immediately to establish a reputation for being completely dependable as far as financial obligations were concerned. To put it directly, we decided that we would proceed by always paying our bills on time. Our watch-word was to be “First we pay the bills then we eat.” By the time we had been in business a few years we had almost unlimited credit with our suppliers. I remember fondly when we placed an order with Columbia for a railroad car full of bowling balls. Columbia called to make sure that is what we wanted. We thought they might turn us down because of the huge cost involved. Instead,
they told us that it was the largest single order they had ever received, but that they would ship to us based on our record of having paid our bills. A reputation of this type is priceless. I hope each of you will sometime look back knowing that your reputation for financial integrity is above reproach. I know that each of you have at times struggled to manage your financial affairs and I feel that is in the long run good for each of us. It teaches us the importance of good financial management. I think that by now each of you realize that one of the real keys to making this work is to keep our wants and purchases in line with our expected income. I have dealt with many customers in the bowling business who saw money coming in very easily during the bowling season and failed to realize that the summer coming up was not going to provide the same income. It is like the fable of the “Ant and the Grasshopper.” If you do not know this fable, you can call me to learn the moral of the story.
Side Note: Elaine was telling to one of our friends, Billie Jean Marquis, about the letters I write each month. Elaine said it was inspired by a campaign held in some city but that she did not know where. Billie Jean, who had recently completed a mission in Nauvoo, IL, was able to tell her that the city was Aiken, SC. She knew because she had served with some people who were from there. They were proud of the efforts of their community in improving life there. If our attention to these character traits has an effect on us, we can also be proud of our efforts.
still. but these times are much less frequent and they pass much more quickly than in the past. When I considered truthfulness. “I have never seen her angry. I truly believe that patience must be developed. I think of my daughter-in-law.OCTOBER / CHARACTER PATIENCE I thought quite a bit last month about being truthful. The man 25 . While at dinner one of the men who was with us was upset that a waitress was not prompt in service. A few minutes later something else came up. There are times. My children who in the past have accompanied me to restaurants where service was poor will no doubt think I am the last person to be suggesting that anyone should develop patience. and I responded to her in a nice manner. I honestly thought this family would not have much trouble with that character trait. when I am impatient. and honestly. The first week of September I was with a group in Canada playing golf. Lori Jane (who is the world’s best daughter-in-law). I have said several times. but must develop it. I know our lives will be much more pleasant when we control our emotions. October’s character trait might be much more difficult. and life will also be more pleasant for those around us. and it is not too difficult. I hope we can join the citizens of Aiken in developing our sense of patience.” Others of us do not have this trait naturally. That was easy. I think she is naturally gifted with patience. I feel that it did not take much effort to be truthful during my day-today activities. I think some people manage to have patience naturally. I trust you have found the same to be true in your life. He was rude with her and we were all embarrassed at his outbreak.
Learn to meet the everyday trials and annoyances of life quietly and calmly. 26 .complimented me on the way I handled the situation and later apologized to the waitress. founder of the New Hampshire Historical Society. In this case it is: How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degree. your strength will not forsake you. I might have been the one who felt an apology was necessary. It seems that Shakespeare had a quotation that fit any situation. when unforeseen trouble or calamity comes. gave advice that I feel is invaluable: Be patient in little things. and then. Had I not developed a better sense of patience. It seems that I can always find a quotation that says what I want to say better than I can say it myself. In this case William Plumer.
I urge each of you to look at each item and evaluate what importance it has in your plan for retirement or for the future. Then you must also make provision for the really long term.OCTOBER / FINANCE MANAGE YOUR MONEY DON’T LET IT MANAGE YOU I cut the enclosed article on managing money out of the paper a few weeks ago and thought I would send it to my older grandchildren. As I have looked at it I thought it would be good advice for any of us. If you think that is an exaggeration then think about this. such as a new roof. I did not say spending our money. some should be for later purchases. I am sure as we look at it we will feel that if we are over 25 we have missed the boat. We will arrive a little late but at least we will arrive at our destination.26 to buy what $1. I intended to emphasize what I thought were the key points in the enclosed article. Maybe the most sobering fact is that the estimate is that 40 years from now it will take $3. A little less than 40 years ago (1968) Elaine and I bought a house in California for 27 . such as a new car. When I tell you to “mange your money. because a portion of each dollar we receive should be set aside. which is a nest egg for your retirement. or an addition to the house. just a little later than someone who started earlier. Of this money we set aside.” I mean we should always have a plan for using our money. a vacation. or for some longer-term usage. but as I read them I couldn’t find any of them that were more important than the others. Actually we have not missed the boat – we can catch the next one. a home.00 does today.
Today Motel 6 rooms are at least $30. Since then I have tried to follow those methods.85.000 today.000.00. Two weeks ago I sent you an article about how to get better mileage driving your car. the best I have gotten since I bought it new in 1993. Good luck to all of you. I can report that I got 22 miles per gallon with my Cadillac. Dan).00 per night.00 and as much as $50. at that time Motel 6 started business.43 rather than $2. This will give you the maximum protection against inflation. and start managing your money today! P. and all of their rooms were $6. That house would sell for over $750. Paying attention to these little things and driving a little slower has saved me about 15% of my gas (sorry. This is why I urge you to put your long-term savings in mutual funds. Also. 28 . S.$38. This means that gas essentially costs $2.
but. I painted her as she might have been If the Worst had been the Best. Shameless." So I painted a halo round her hair. and I heard him say. – Robert Service 29 .NOVEMBER / CHARACTER COMPASSION My Madonna I hailed me a woman from the street. the Mother of God. I painted a babe at her breast. Then came. I hid all trace of her heart unclean. oh. And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire. with a knowing nod. so fair! I bade her sit in the model’s seat And I painted her sitting there. Where you and all may see. "'Tis Mary. She laughed at my picture and went away. A connoisseur. And I sold her and took my fee.
by moderating the violence of love of self in each individual. contributes to the preservation of the whole species. The passerby saw in the painting not a harlot.If I can stop one Heart from breaking I shall not live in vain If I can ease one Life the Aching Or cool one Pain Or help one fainting Robin Unto his Nest again I shall not live in Vain. but the Mother of God. to the relief of those who are in distress. It is this compassion that hurries us. observe the almost twin of patience. The painter painted what he perceived the woman might have been if given a chance. which. makes our world a better place in which to live. 30 . more than anything else. but as people in need. A few months ago the important character attribute was courage. this month. – Emily Dickinson The citizens of Aiken will. If we are to have compassion for our fellow humans we must learn to look at them and see what might have been. That is compassion. The Robert Service poem illustrates so well that how we look at others makes a great difference. without reflection. Compassion requires us to stand with others in their distress.” Compassion. To do this we must learn to look at others not in judgment. “Compassion is a natural feeling. David Hume once expressed this by saying. That means that you stand by others in times of danger or stress.
Take your lunch to work. They will last longer and hold their value.” or more succinctly S-A-V-E. You will have to buy in larger quantities. “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” which stands for “Live Below Your Means. Take the time to maintain your possessions. Make a wish list for things you want. Cherish your belongings. It is cheaper and healthier than pop or juice. 2.NOVEMBER / FINANCE DISCIPLINE IN MONEY MATTERS I would like to suggest to you a new term that may be valuable. Then implement a waiting period of a few days for your wish list. Drink more water. Don’t buy anything until the waiting time is up. Don’t be swayed by advertising.” Buy generic brands unless you are convinced there is a difference. 3. How much is gas? 4. Don’t buy on credit! (Exceptions might be housing and automobiles. Don’t wait until the brakes squeak or the engine smokes. Why should you bother? Simple! Because your future and your retirement will need to be financed somehow and unless you plan to work until you are ninety.) 31 . I can suggest 6 ways to start doing this: 1. Keep up the maintenance on your car. but this may mean you have to make fewer trips to the store. it would be smart to start planning for it now. It is “LBYM. Shopping at garage sales and thrift stores can save lots of money. Don’t treat everything as a consumable. You know the old saying. Buy from stores like Costco and Sam’s. Start by looking for places to spend less and save more. One way is to not eat out too often (sorry Elaine). and honestly examine your wants versus needs.
Check your budget often for places you can potentially cut back. but do not feel that you must have the latest thing or toy. Always keep in mind that new ways of satisfying your needs are being developed every day – many at lower cost. Look for these things. Is yours the right one for you or can you find a cheaper one or one that offers more features you need. Wait a while and you can buy a better product for less. Put long-term savings into an index mutual fund. How can you do better? 32 . If you are able to S-A-V-E. such as Vanguard Total Stock Market. Your cable package is often larded with things that you can do without at a considerable saving.5. This fund will do better than 90% of all professional money mangers. 6. The most expensive time to buy something is when it first hits the market. Can you bank cheaper? How about your insurance? There are many telephone packages. the next question is: "What do I do with long-term savings?" The answer is very easy.
D. the Lord will forgive whom I will Forgive. but totally different to the other person involved. Yet we know that time has a tendency to reduce the pain we feel.S.DECEMBER / CHARACTER FORGIVENESS I have been careful to keep all of the suggestions for the character traits out of the area of religion. many things that seem unforgivable to us when they happen seem not so very important to us after some period of time. I felt would never allow me to forgive someone. Often a third 33 . Most actions look one way to one person. I will depart from avoiding religion for this one time because I cannot find anything more pertinent to forgiveness than a commandment from the Doctrine and Covenants. although there is evidence that most of these traits have a basis in the teachings of faith. It is: I. If we feel that we may be able to forgive after a time. a basic book from the L. it was largely because I was able to put myself in the other person’s shoes. then perhaps we should forgive sooner. I think our challenge should be to make this period of time shorter. Strangely. but of you it is required to forgive all men. When we think about that quotation we may feel that asking us to forgive everything seems all but impossible. and thus save ourselves the resentment that builds up in our feelings and makes us a little less than we should be. church. When I was finally able to forgive. at the time when they happened. I know that there are many things that.
“Do I live my life so that I deserve to have them say the things I want to hear? 34 . and they are people you respect very much.party will view what happened very differently than either of the persons involved. They do not know that you can hear. “We should write the faults of our brothers in the sand. I once heard someone say.” If we can follow this advice. In conclusion. we will live a better and happier life. Ask yourself what they will be saying. Their virtues should be written on tablets of love and memory. I would offer you something I once used when I was asked to talk in church: Imagine that you are invisible and walking down the street. “What would I want them to say?” Now once again ask yourself. As you proceed you see two people talking to each other. a life that is more in keeping with what we should be. Then ask yourself. As you approach you realize they are talking about you.
In fact if she were to use a budget it would probably require her to spend more money than she does now. it is a fact that people who have trouble living within their income will succeed better by using a budget. This is terrible news for 35 . Bud told me that we as a nation now do not save any money.DECEMBER / FINANCE USE A BUDGET This month’s financial advice will be a little difficult for me to give you. since Elaine and I have never really lived on a budget. One reason we have been able to maintain financial security is that Elaine has a built in ability to stay within a budget. even if it is somewhat informal. I know that using a budget is something that will make your life better. We have been fortunate to have never had any real financial problems. There were many times I realized that I was spending more than the expense account and have had to reduce expenditures to stay within the funds available. on the average people are not saving anything. I think Bud may be the nation’s best authority on saving for retirement. This means that the Social Security Administration will not be able to provide as much as you might expect. In other words. In spite of this. I have been able to stay on a budget because I always limited my access to money by living on an expense account. This savings program means saving in addition to what you put into Social Security or any pension or IRA account. To a certain extent. During this last week we have had Bud and Mirriam Hebeler here as visitors. As all of you know from what I have told you for years staying within your income means also a very solid savings program.
Your best defense is a strong savings program and a good IRA account. Do plan to save at least 15% of your income! I know this is tough advice and it is something I did not have to face when I was your age. 36 . The trade-off is that you as an individual must take more responsibility for your future and especially your retirement. Things have changed.our country since it also means that funds for expansion of industry will not be as available as in the past. Thus. we must plan to expect less from our defined pensions and Social Security. I don’t want to seem to be a prophet of doom to you. Living on a budget could be an important first step in doing this. but it is important to face the future with as much knowledge as is possible. and although this is tougher. there are many ways in which things are easier for you.
in spite of what others think or what the consequences bring. September was the month when Truthfulness was emphasized. it is great progress. since most adults change very little or not at all. but maybe August was better because it could remind us that being a good citizen is a twelve-month-a year responsibility. July was the month in which Courage was emphasized. For myself and for you. if you choose. the beginning of this series of letters emphasized Loyalty. Probably our best chance to show courage is in doing what we know is right. This is a cover letter for this month’s suggestion for improving yourself by thinking about the attributes selected by the citizens of Aiken. 37 . In August the trait selected was Citizenship. your employer and the world in which you live. This might be a time to reflect upon our truthfulness to ourselves and to others. and if we have become better people. I feel that if we have changed just a little. we might have personally improved ourselves in the following areas: June.INTERLUDE Dear Children and grandchildren. This will be the eighth of twelve character traits and with this letter. loyalty to yourself. This should probably have been selected for the month in which we vote. we will be three-fourths of the way through the year. your family. Personally. I think it might be a time to review and ask ourselves if we have progressed. In review.
Dad / Grandpa 38 .October brought Patience. I trust you also have made progress. which will be Sincerity. Perhaps the most difficult for me. but we also should remember that this too is a twelve-month-a-year responsibility. Oh well. since it is mostly for people involved in drugs and alcohol. but maybe the trait in which I think I have been most successful in improving. They choose the Coachella Rescue Mission. I am sure you will find in this another area in which you can improve. Now we go on to January. We certainly should find time to have forgiven someone at this time of the year. it shows that I still need to improve. How about you? December brought a trait that was certainly timely. Forgiveness is part of the Christmas season. A discussion with our friends that followed showed that I was not compassionate toward those people. Compassion was the watchword for November. I made the comment that it was not a choice I would have made. I thought I had really improved until last night when our golf group decided to make a contribution to a charity.
Stan had a way of issuing compliments that in my opinion was unsurpassed. Most of you remember Stan Olson. However. In spite of that I know he said those things in complete sincerity. All of these things are certainly traits that anyone would like to have. By now you know I like to add quotations to illustrate the character traits the citizens of Aiken have selected. When he talked about his wife he would say without reservation.” Sincere is defined as being without deceit. pretense. This is not a quotation that we should seek to emulate. It might help to look at a dictionary definition of “sincere. as it illustrates a total lack of sincerity. you had no doubt he meant it with no reservations. if we recognize false sincerity it will help us to cultivate true sincerity in our daily lives. or being truthful.JANUARY / CHARACTER SINCERITY It would be interesting to know whether or not the citizens of Aiken have become more sincere. or hypocrisy. “She is the best woman God ever put on this earth. I know he meant it. then certainly Aiken has become an even better place in which to live. although he had thought the same thing about previous salesmen and would again. you’ve got it made.” When you heard him. one of the two best friends I have had through the years. straightforward and honest in a desire to help. and 39 . If they have. If you can fake that. He often said to me that I was the best salesman Brunswick had ever had. George Burns once said: The secret to succeeding in show business is sincerity.
and maybe even more so.even more. it must be done with complete sincerity. As I looked at the ladies on the stage I realized Elaine was certainly the most beautiful lady there. We should avoid being insincere even more strongly than we strive to be sincere. would like to have others show in their actions. Too often we pass up a chance to tell someone something complimentary. but in a manner of giving. but instead I told Elaine this. She should have. I could have dropped it there. Probably just as important. is to avoid being insincere. When we give compliments. Somehow I felt that she believed me. Doing so will certainly improve life for both you and whomever you come in contact with. Today I went to the Christmas program put on by the Palm Desert Singers. Never pass up a chance to give a compliment to someone when you can do it with sincerity. because it was true. 40 . As I type this I realize that the important thing about sincerity is that we develop it not in a selfish manner.
I doubt any of them could compete with Dan in overall knowledge of operation.JANUARY / FINANCE MAKE EDUCATION A CONTINUING PROCESS Once again I will start with an old quotation: It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. not at a specialized school. but this is true) like Port Townsend. Today there is nothing she 41 . Then he learned even more and was able to advance. but because he has learned more about the operation of the equipment than anyone else in his company. from what I know. – Harry S. I also know most of what he has learned has been learned the hard way. Truman I would think we have several examples of this in our family. He often has to go to sites that someone else should handle. he is needed. I always wondered how she learned so much about the publishing industry in a small backwater location (sorry Holly. Although there are many highly trained engineers at the refinery. There was a time he probably knew more about this than his coworkers. Chris struggled with school and did not find it as easy to learn as her siblings. I am constantly amazed by how much Dan knows about the operation of the Tesoro Refinery. Holly has never lost her desire to learn. yet she never stopped trying. Now he is the most knowledgeable person in his company here in America. Rich started by knowing how electronic equipment was made and what the theory of electronics entailed.
and as he learns will continue to enter other areas of building. We should do all we can to make education easier for children and grandchildren. while doing very well at The Archer and making a good deal of money.cannot accomplish. even after they know it all. Lacy is now perusing a long held desire to excel in photography. And never stop urging them to continue learning. she is doing it the hard way. going to school again. Of course. finds time to pursue her desire to become a nurse. I am also aware of the progress being made by all of the grandchildren. expanding from framing to siding and roofing. we should all encourage them to get all the education they possibly can. the younger grandchildren are still undergoing their basic education. Stephanie continues to progress with new challenges in dentistry by learning to work in the hospital and new areas of responsibilities in dentistry. 42 . Lori certainly knows the value of continuing education. Several of us depend upon her for computer operation and being thorough in her follow-through. and as they do. Mac is making progress with his business. Alicia. Each should recognize that every new thing we learn opens new opportunities for further learning.
I think my parents felt that the younger generation (mine. When I was young it was a sign of respect to call all adults by either Mr. McKay was on an LDS mission to Scotland. Being more careful in our treatment of the environment can also be considered a 43 . that is. This is not common today. respecting others. It seems that I was taught respect for others more so than most young people are today. A better way to judge respect is to observe how we relate to people. then spend the rest of our lives trying to be just that. The fact that we as a nation are more tolerant of those of other races and colors is a far better sign of respect than using a title. we must learn to respect ourselves. However. that is) did not. It seems to me we should first decide what we are and just what we want to be. That is also true today. That is. It does not mean there is a lack of respect.FEBRUARY / CHARACTER RESPECT Many years ago when President David O. or Mrs. When we have that self-respect we can then turn to a larger task. Most older people feel that the younger generation does not have the respect they had when they were young. I am probably wrong. he passed a building that had a cornerstone with the architect’s name and the following inscription in a Scottish brogue: WHAT E’ER THOU ART ACT WELL THY PART To him this said that he was to respect himself and always act in accordance with what he perceived himself to be.
I don’t know when I started to look at my children and respect them as individuals – probably it was not as soon as it should have been. or those who are destitute and on the street. Every person on earth deserves some measure of respect. military. To whom should we show respect? Really the list is endless. Maybe I still don’t do it as well as I should. such as employees. I think this is something that we often overlook. children and grandchildren!). We should also show respect to our children and other young people. not only of the environment but of the others who live on this earth and of the future generations. someone doing us a service. We will be better people if we are able to observe this character trait. people who serve us in stores and restaurants. A list might include law enforcement. public employees. Perhaps the most difficult group to remember is those who in some way seem beneath us. 44 . pedestrians. We might start by respecting our parents and elders (get that.sign of respect. From there we could make a long list of people to whom we should show respect. and all with whom we come in contact.
FEBRUARY / FINANCE CONTINUALLY WORKING TOWARD HOME OWNERSHIP For most people. It means such things as security against old age. you should think of what you can do to enhance this valuable asset.” By this I mean that just owning a home is not enough. What I mean is that you should learn to make repairs by yourself. a refuge from the trials of the world – it provides a hedge against inflation and gives us the pride of ownership. or start making plans to move into a better or more valuable home. At this point I would like to offer some advice. From the first day you start into home ownership. If you don’t know how. 45 . the most valuable thing they will ever own is a home. Never refinance your home to get money to use for a purpose other than home ownership. Another thing that is very important is that you should learn to take care of your home. I know that a person of average intelligence can make over 90 percent of home repairs. I truly think that the idea of home ownership is one of the key things that has made the United States the most stable and secure nation in the world. each of you are doing that. Having a home means many things to people. Calling a plumber or an electrician can be very expensive. this is something which is not common any place else in the world. Perhaps you noticed that I used the term “continually. That is a loosing game. As far as I know. then call someone who can show you how to make these repairs. a safe place for a family. Strange as it may seem to each of you. When you first own a home it is only the beginning.
It will be a blessing for you and your family. it can take only a few minutes. the leak will eventually cut a groove in the valve seat. meaning you have a difficult job resurfacing the valve or replacing the entire faucet. If you wait too long before getting a leaking toilet fixed. The savings in interest will be substantial. If your mortgage is thirty years try making an extra payment at least once per year. Unfortunately. you will pay only about forty percent as much interest. A leaking toilet is usually a minor problem. I can also tell you that one of the most satisfying days of my life was when I was able to pay the last of a mortgage and to own our house free of debt. it begins to get dirty again and attract insects and vermin. Now a thirty-year mortgage is almost standard and we are beginning to see forty-year paper. Years ago a twenty-year mortgage was rare. If you leave it. Thus the word “continually” is again a key to good home ownership.A few examples would include putting a new gasket in a faucet. 46 . it will often mean replacing the flooring around the fixture. If you are able to pay off a mortgage in fifteen rather than thirty years. When you finance a home you should try to pay off the loan as soon as possible. If this is done as soon as a leak is noticed. Keeping the house clean and orderly will keep insects from multiplying and eventually damaging the house and your possessions. I hope each of you can reach this goal. as soon as you get the house clean.
We should know that too much of anything. Everyone responds to that kind of attention. 4. If people don’t appreciate gifts from you. Or one of the best responses is to remove yourself from the scene. there is Susan I must go talk to her. If you cannot accept them as they are. Don’t react. We need to recognize when enough is enough. Compliment them and ask for information. I don’t think anything is more embarrassing than losing our temper. Practice self-defense. as this old tale shows.” 3. may prove to be our undoing. but rather reminds us to avoid excess. Everyone has some talent or skill.” The maxim calls not for total abstinence. don’t see them. Some people will purposely try to push your buttons looking for a response. Almost every time we will look back and regret our actions. Look for hidden gifts. Try “Oh. don’t expect them to change.MARCH / CHARACTER SELF-CONTROL The ancient Greeks had a famous saying: “Nothing overmuch. You will not change them. If you do. I think one of the most important ways to maintain self-control is to get along with people. Surprise them by not reacting as they expect. realizing that what happened did not justify our lack of self-control. then choose a gift certificate. Expect the expected! If you are going to see someone who annoys you or who is not always agreeable. you will be upset and disappointed. When you know someone might 47 . 2. even a good thing. Following are six suggestions for getting along with anyone: 1.
48 . Silence your critics. be prepared with a response. then plan to excuse yourself after that time. 6. If someone asks a question that is none of his or her business.not appreciate a food or some attention. both friends and family. Know your limits. Ann Landers used to suggest that the response to a rude question should be: “Why in the world do you want to know that?” Or. “Why would you ask a question like that?” Or when someone questions your activities respond with: “Thank you for being concerned about my health but ---------.” Another thing that can help you in getting along with anyone is to remember two of the previous suggestions by the citizens of Aiken: Compassion and Patience will greatly assist you in your relations with others. choose something that will not trigger a response. 5. If you know that someone’s actions will annoy you. If you can only stand them for five minutes. then make sure that your time with him or her is limited.
you will have to pay income tax on the 2% you did earn. which was worth only about 35% of what her house had been worth. I might use an example to show you how devastating inflation can be. the country underwent a period of very high inflation (as much as 16% per year). money in the bank is a loosing proposition. you will find that it will buy only about half of what it would when you put it away. Actually. If you read the paper. while she was in Seattle. It may seem so. My mother moved to Seattle to be near me for a few years. then decided to sell it. Unfortunately. I strongly feel that inflation is the greatest enemy of security and retirement. When she returned to buy a condo. In addition to that. the money from the house sale would only buy a small condo. You will be paid only about 2% on the money. She sold it for a good sum and put the money in the bank so that she could buy a condo when she moved back to Salt Lake. There is nothing more difficult than preparing for inflation. 49 . She knew she could no longer take care of her home in Salt Lake City. That means that if you save $100 for ten years then try to spend it. and will loose 3% through inflation. This month is different. It was beautiful home overlooking the entire Salt Lake Valley. She rented it for a year.MARCH / FINANCE COPE WITH INFLATION It has not been too difficult for me to offer advice about your financial health on the subjects I have chosen in the previous months. you will note that experts say that inflation is low. but it is still at least 3% per year.
Rental property is also very good protection against inflation. I know that most of you are not now thinking of retirement. Boeing. but when you look at how much you need for retirement. and oil companies. you better increase it by at least 15%. Another example I can give is what Bud Hebeler told me about his retirement pension. I know you will see many suggestions that you keep some money in cash or some other form that is easily accessible. the purchasing power of his pension declined by over 50%. If you keep your home up-to-date and keep the majority of your money invested. Most of the time homes increase in value at least as much as inflation. 50 . rental property is not the best investment for most people. it will be the best protection against inflation that I can suggest. Companies that meet these criteria are McDonald’s. In mutual funds. I have suggested before that unless you spend some time studying the stocks you would be better investing in mutual funds. the ones that are considered value funds have a degree of protection. however.So. The only other suggestion I can make to you is that you own stock in companies that grow with the economy. This is a good idea. During the first ten years of his retirement. but be careful that you don’t have too much invested as cash or in a money market fund when inflation rears its ugly head. how do you protect yourself from inflation? One of the best ways is to own your home. The only protection you can have from this is that you must save at least 15% of your retirement pension so that you can keep up your purchasing power.
we are helping them along the road to maturity. King Richard spurred his horse forward but a shoe came off. the King was left alone on the battlefield. we increase our maturity. a kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. To be irresponsible is immature. In King Richard III Shakespeare tells about King Richard preparing for a battle. a battle was lost. a shoe was lost. For the want of a shoe. For the want of a battle. When we increase our responsibility.APRIL / CHARACTER RESPONSIBILITY To respond is to answer. but the groom was in such hurry to get the King’s horse he refused to give the blacksmith time to make the last four nails for the horseshoes. When we help our children become responsible. For the want of a horse. a horse was lost. To be responsible is to be answerable or accountable. 51 . The horse fell. As the battle started. and the battle was lost – as the king shouted: “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” From this we have learned: For the want of a nail.
We will not have to make excuses. are being urged to improve their sense of responsibility. 2. I feel that I would like to visit there. It might be best if I do not because I would be disappointed if I found that this campaign has not been a success. If any of you are interested. I wonder how many of you have been curious about where Aiken is located. Fortunately for me. Our family life will improve because our family can depend upon us to do what needs to be done. 3. it is in the middle of the state from the North to South. The citizens of Aiken. I know I was often irresponsible in not doing my best in schoolwork. and later realized how much better we would have been if we had been a little more responsible. 52 . in that it can become a lifelong habit.I think each of us remember some time when we failed to take some little action. It might help in becoming responsible if we think about the benefits we still derive from becoming responsible people. I just hope we as members of a family have profited by thinking of character traits that will make us better people. but almost on the border of Georgia. For me. It is interesting to think about what kind of a community we would be experiencing if all the people with whom we come in contact were in every sense responsible. a failure of responsibility. We will certainly reduce stress upon ourselves knowing that what we promised to do has been done. As I have written about the city this past year. South Carolina. Some things I can think of are: 1. We will become more valuable to our employers or customers. This was dangerous. sometime along my growing up I was able to improve on my lack of a good character trait.
Dried foods are good but must be protected from moisture. As you know. You might give some thought to what foods are good for storage. you might be right – but if you eliminate that one vulnerability. Missouri. Canned goods are particularly good for keeping. There is no record of any earthquake before or since. since they provide great nutrition at a 53 . Some areas of the country think they are not in danger of earthquakes. Although I don’t think it is necessary to have that much food storage I do suggest you have enough in storage to last you and your family for at least two weeks. but don’t forget to keep a manual can opener on hand. and if you think you are immune to that one disaster. Beans and dried peas are some of the best foods to store. the LDS church urges all members to have two years’ supply of food in storage in case of an emergency (it used to be one year). Be assured that no place on earth is immune from such an occurrence. and maybe a month to six weeks. If we have learned nothing from the hurricane Katrina it is that unforeseen emergencies do happen. Wherever you may live. yet the greatest earthquake in our nation’s history occurred in New Madrid.APRIL / FINANCE FOOD STORAGE It seems that the things I want to suggest to you often have some relation to church. Frozen foods are not good since most emergencies will mean a loss of electric power. The Midwest is such a place. Volcanoes are mostly predictable in the areas where they exist. you might think something like that could not happen there. you will most likely find that your area is susceptible to several others.
You might also consider keeping the food until it is close to the expiration date and then give it to a food bank. Curiously. Wheat is certainly the best possible thing to have for food storage but I do not recommend it because you will not use it except in the case of an emergency and it is therefore a waste of money. telling them it is your way of using food that is kept for an emergency. Think what a blessing it might be if you are the only one in your family that has food when an emergency occurs. One of the most important things to take into account if you start a food storage program is to store foods that you will use and then replace them as you use them. making sure you immediately replace it. Perhaps you could use the food that is a little old and have a party with friends. You might influence them to start a food storage program of their own. It might save the life of a child – your child or grandchild.very low price. Buy a few cans of beef stew and each time you use one or two buy two more and rotate your stock. hard candy is a good storage item since it stores well and provides great energy though not good nutrition. 54 .
or some new item of decoration around the house. I know attentiveness is a weakness of mine. For example. I think we often do not pay attention to our health.MAY / CHARACTER ATTENTIVENESS How often have we said to our children and others “Pay Attention!” We could find many words that come close to this statement: alertness. paying attention to our community and country. I do know that I was not careful enough for too long. a new hairdo. or paying attention to personal relationships in our daily life. I try to tell her that if she will give me a little more time I will notice. I don’t know just when I realized that the sun was dangerous. and perceptive are a few words that are elements of attentiveness. 55 . As with many of the character traits chosen for emphasis by the citizens of Aiken. observant. but one thing that would help is if we make sure to take some action when we do notice something new. we might first think of this in relation to our spouses or other members of our family. I am probably one of the most unobservant people I know. not only with Elaine. I can’t tell you how to become more attentive. Most often our lack of attentiveness is our failure to be observant. She is very good at calling my attention to my failure to notice these things. Attentiveness certainly applies to many more situations than that. you all know I just had surgery for squamous cell cancer on my lip. It is especially called to my attention when Elaine has some new item of clothing. watchful. I often think of the things to which we do not pay enough attention. but also with daily life as well. We could talk about paying attention to our work. vigilant.
but there are just too many of you. blood pressure. Often they come during difficult times of your life. Preparing to finance education for your children and grandchildren. I wish I could have enough money to provide for each of you. It means choosing correctly the first three horses in a race. so you must do it for yourself. pay attention to them! THE TRIFECTA Most of you probably know that a trifecta is a racing term. The three important decisions you must make correctly are: 1. 2. 56 . To some extent this is correct. then occasionally look at that list and ask yourself if these items are getting proper attention. For some reason. I have heard it said that people cannot save money until their children are gone. Most illnesses give warning symptoms. Please make sure you save enough money that none of the ladies in my family have to do hard physical work in their old age. your weight. sugar intake. it is a recipe for difficult budgeting and perhaps a very sparse old age. but if you accept this. 3. but more often they actually oppose each other. It would be nice if these items would work together. which is now consuming almost 20% of the average person’s income. it almost breaks my heart to see a woman well into her 60s waiting tables in a restaurant. I feel that you and others your age face that kind of difficulty in your near future. Setting aside enough money to insure a secure retirement. I suggest that you sit down and write down a list of things that you are apt to overlook. Preparing for the expense of health care.Do pay attention to things like sunlight. and most important of all.
Term insurance is the best type for you at this time of life because you will get more insurance for less money. Most of the time this is not the best choice. People who are hit by big liability lawsuits or personal injury items are often left destitute. It is just as easy to become under-insured. If you don’t have this. your health insurance can be very expensive. There are kinds of insurance you will likely need all of your life. Often your employer will help provide your health insurance. Some of these are medical. but then it too late. especially as you get older. which will help at a time when your health costs are increasing. homeowners. People whose house is flooded or damaged by another disaster can testify to that. If you buy from a life agent he will try to steer you to a type that includes some type of savings program. and auto insurance. On the other hand. At 65 Medicare will kick in.MAY / FINANCE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME INSURANCE It is very easy to become over-insured. Being under-insured can cost you dearly. Anyone with a young family should have some life insurance. True it lacks that promised payout at the end. You will not have to pay so much to get adequate insurance. as well as either a health maintenance organization or a Medigap health policy. and probably some type of prescription coverage. Somehow each of you needs to reach some kind of compromise. Even at that time it will be important for you to sign up for Part B. some who are over-insured find that too much money has gone to insurance leaving not enough for a comfortable retirement. but you will be much better off finan- 57 .
When the investment makes money the life insurance company keeps part of it and gives the rest to you. which means you are selling your house on time payments. then invest it in something like a mutual fund. After your children are grown and on their own you probably will not need any life insurance.” At this time in your life. and then when his wife developed Alzheimer’s. A reverse mortgage is used to provide monthly cash. this field is filled with charlatans who are not willing or not able to properly explain what you are buying. you will eventually not own the house. so as you can see you have to have a considerable amount to cover this. Second are those who have enough wealth that they can afford the very high costs of private care. There are two types of people who do not need this. 58 . make it just enough to carry the family through funeral and recovery. My suggestion is that you consider this. Most life insurance policies take your money. most people resist this in a desire to leave “something for the kids. If you still feel the need. First. He was not aware of this clause.) One source of money for a late-life health problem is your home. Unfortunately. since most often the kids are better off than the parents. this should not be a consideration. (A friend of mine bought such a policy.cially if you just buy the term insurance and put the extra into savings that go into a mutual fund. but this is apt to be after you are no longer alive. he found that it only applied while he could care for her at home.000 per year. which can often be used to provide long term care. As soon as she went to a home the policy ended. Just be careful in buying LTC. Why not make your own investment and keep all of the increase in value? Perhaps the most daunting decision is whether or not to have a long-term care (LTC) insurance policy. Yes. someone who will have very little in retirement so that their costs will be covered by Medicaid. Private care often cost $70.
RESPONSIBILITY May ATTENTIVENESS June LOYALITY July COURAGE 59 . Writing letters and finding something to say was not easy for me. The twelve traits are: Jan. I surely realized it. I am going to conclude by reviewing the letters I have sent you through the last year. RESPECT Mar. but now I am through. because I knew that the first of each month was a deadline. I wonder how many of you realize that the letter I sent you last month was the twelfth letter in which I have advised you of the “Character Attribute” chosen for emphasis for a month. SELF-CONTROL Apr.EPILOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. I hope each of us has gained something by concentrating on these twelve traits of character chosen by the citizens of Aiken. SINCERITY Feb.
I also think that if we were to review in later years what we choose as the most important. I know that writing these letters for the past year has had more effect on me than reading them has had on you. COMPASSION Dec. He answered. Just as that is true. And the second is like unto it. I just hope there have been a few times you have thought of ways in which you could improve yourself. I just hope and trust they have also changed 60 . “Forgiveness. Love thy neighbor as thyself. I would like to tell you what I think. If each of us were to choose what we find the most important I think we would find that most of us would choose a different trait. I know I always learned more than my students. is the greatest of the Character Traits we have reviewed. FORGIVENESS One thing you learn if you have ever been a teacher.” To me these two traits often go hand in hand. I found this especially true whenever I was called upon to teach a church class. I am reminded of the time when Christ was asked which of the Ten Commandments was the greatest. CITIZENSHIP Sept. especially if you are called upon to teach something with which you are not familiar. PATIENCE Nov. the second is like unto it. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. and with all thy soul. TRUTHFULNESS Oct.” In thinking of this. which always had to do with becoming a better person. “Compassion. and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. each of us we would find that different traits would be the most important depending on the stage of our life and development.” and as Christ said. I know that it is often impossible for someone to say which trait is the most important. The most important to me was November.Aug. for me. is that in preparing to teach you always learn much more than the students to whom you give the lesson.
Manage your money. Apr. Mar. Become financially informed. They have been: Jan.M. Make education a continuing process. Oct. Jul. Live beneath your means.Y. Importance of work. If any of us have changed or improved even a little. Meet financial obligations. Cope with inflation. it was easy because someone else had prepared the list of traits. Strive for home ownership. When I chose to write of the character traits. Dec. Jun. When I decided to include a financial item with each letter. we are to be congratulated. Feb. I hope these twelve subjects contained something that was of 61 . Sept. L. Nov. Aug.me for the better. Use a budget. Food storage. I had to draw upon my own experience. The second part of these letters has dealt with financial matters that I thought would be of value to us.B. don't let it manage you. since most people change very little after becoming adults. Maybe there are one or two that have touched you and changed you for the better. Good spending choices. Discipline in money matters. May Make sure you have some insurance.
” I know that each of us can look at some of the above subjects and find things we could do to enhance our financial condition. Some of this might have related back to a picture that Liam had hung in the bathroom of their house in Somerville.” I guess I live in constant fear that one of my children or grandchildren might “run out of money. Just as I chose to emphasize two of the character traits. the first I would emphasize is “Discipline in money matters. I hope these letters have been of some value to you.” If you do not use a budget how do you know when you are living beneath your means? Using a budget will also help us to make good spending choices. I feel this is the time of the greatest concern. Just now as it looks so good that we have nothing to worry about. Dad / Grandpa 62 . I do know that I often think of things that I have advised you to do.” I feel the term “Live Beneath Your Means” is perhaps the best advice I could possibly give to you. I would like to suggest that you choose two of the financial items which have the greatest value to you.” I really feel that if each of us pays heed to the above items. Don’t you run out of money. we will greatly lessen the danger of ‘running out of money. then I feel that I have not wasted my time. That is the way I look at the economy today. It is so good that it scares me as I have never been scared before. It was of an elderly Indian woman obviously malnourished and near death. The telling words beneath the picture said “She just ran out of money. Then sell it when everyone else thinks it is the hottest item they have ever seen.value to you. Maybe some of you have seen it. and trust that I am being faithful to the suggestions I have made to you. it is “Use a Budget. I send this letter to you with my love and affection. For me. If even one of you has been able to make some change in your life or spending habits. The best wisdom on Wall Street is that to be successful in the stock market you need to buy something when everyone else is sick to death of it. And the second is one that helps to achieve that.
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