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Character Calender

Character Calender

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A Father’s Advice for a Better Life

D E E V. S W E N S O N


NY 10011 . Filia Press 100 West 12th Street / New York. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission.Copyright © 2006 by Dee V. The book has been edited and produced by Tree Swenson. Swenson All rights reserved. This book was developed out of a series of letters Dee Swenson wrote to his children and grandchildren in 2005 and 2006.

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. 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 .


companies. the community people felt they had succeeded. such as. the citizens were advised of what the goal would be for that month. The newspapers publicized it.” If at the end of the year. they would continue for another year. It was a book about our nation and the people we are. 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. The people of Aiken decided to stress one of these traits each month for a 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. After collecting many suggestions. I cannot give proper credit for the gift. and features of our life. One of you gave me a book for Christmas. which if adopted by the citizens would make Aiken a better place to live. and even the water bills had a note. and one aspect of this movement was to choose several character traits. but you did not do what I always request and write an inscription at the front of the book – therefore. A movement to improve the community was started. So each month. They are now into their second year and feel that this effort has had a positive effect on their citizens.PROLOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. South Carolina. “ Make Aiken an honest place to live. 7 . One item that really caught my interest was a section on Aiken. I found it very interesting. as it focused on different aspects of our American life and went into detail about some communities.

Love. I will send you these letters each month unless you decide you do not want to receive them. Dad / Grandpa 8 . Therefore. I am sure it will make all of us better people even though this is a family affair and not a community effort. and keep in mind each month the goal of improving ourselves.I was very impressed with this program and thought that it would be a very valuable thing for everyone. I then realized that I couldn’t leave it at that. If we all pay attention to the traits. so I decided to also include a second thought each month pertaining to your financial health. Of course. 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.

As we have grown. It might be by attending meetings and voting. we should be loyal to ourselves. Once we have achieved loyalty to ourselves. While this is very important and something we should all strive to achieve. Each of us will have to find our own ways in which to be loyal.” I am reminded of a quotation by Richard L. It might involve providing financial help or emotional support. We should support our wives. husbands. we have all developed an idea of who we are and what we want to be. Each of us might go to precinct meetings which select delegates to national and state conventions. 9 .JUNE / CHARACTER LOYALTY The attribute the citizens of Aiken chose to emphasize for the month of June is loyalty. and once we form them. I think that loyalty should start much closer to home.” If we can all depend upon the loyalty of other members of our families. First. as in being loyal to your country. It might be by speaking positively about a person or about the whole group. We can help each other by showing that kind of loyalty. we should be loyal to our goals and try to live up to being what we think we should be. The U. we should look at being loyal to our spouses and family. S. Evans. Army has a great motto: “Be all that you can be. and other members of our family in trying to become the very best each of them can be. We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish. we will have a most firm foundation. Most of the time when we think of loyalty we think of it as a patriotic term. when he said “One of the great discoveries in life is finding a dependable person.

our work. our fellow workers.I think that when we learn to be loyal to our family. and if we must do so. Each day we should think of how we can be loyal to our school. and certainly to our state and nation. 10 . our clubs and associations. This month we should choose not to criticize or complain unjustly. we have taken the greatest step we can toward becoming loyal to all of the other groups to which we belong. to do it in a constructive manner.

and that includes using a shovel as a plumber’s helper. we can find a way to understand how important it is and how it contributes to the family and our own well-being. 11 . I know that some work seems that it just cannot have much value. I have to admit that I still don’t like to do it. To be truly successful at work we must like what we do. but we can nonetheless look forward every day to accomplishing something at work that we have to do. then each day we can look forward to the work we do and to the contribution we make. Work is utterly basic to our financial well being. but I get a sense of satisfaction after the work is done. Each member of a family should look at work as their contribution to the family’s welfare.” These days I often help with housework and I find great satisfaction in dusting and other cleaning. It was all fun.” I think anyone who feels that way about work is a very fortunate person. It should be a source of pride to do something at work that makes your family or your company more successful. If we are able to make that our goal. This does not mean that there won’t be some days that we will dislike having to go to work. No matter how meaningless a task seems. For many years I did not do much to help Elaine with housework. and there is a way to make any job pleasurable.JUNE / FINANCE THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK Thomas Edison once said. It sometimes seems that there is nothing that is more useless than housework: “It just gets dirty again. “I never did a day’s work in my life. I am very much like that: I cannot remember ever having a job that I did not like.

12 .Of course we mostly look at work as a source of income. The article points out the importance of building a nest egg. No matter how young you are. we can start to think about how to spend it. I am enclosing a copy of an article that will give you one suggestion for how to spend some of it. you are not too young to begin investing in your future. Once we have earned that income.

company. 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. By this time you have had a month to think about your loyalty. regardless of the consequences. “When moral courage feels that it is in the right. 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. Leigh Hunt (an 1800s poet and essayist) wrote. look at them for courage. however. and that you see progress in becoming what you think you should be.JULY / CHARACTER COURAGE Aiken’s character calendar for July is courage. or have sex – that for them is wrong. to drink. I hope you have become more loyal to yourself. there is no personal daring of 13 . This temptation is easier to resist as we get older – or maybe we are just not tempted as much. There are. many times each day we must exercise courage. To those of you who have children. This month I ask you to look at your courage. I think those of us who are older should help those who are younger to have the strength to resist temptation. and resisting the pressure despite the condemnation or the derision of their friends is most difficult. organizations. and our government. Please join the citizens of Aiken this month by having more courage. 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. I also hope that you see in yourself progress in becoming more loyal to your family.

14 . and will do what is right regardless of what others do or urge us to do. just as the people of Aiken are reminded to do during the month of July. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said. I hope each of you will think about courage during the coming month. We develop it by doing what is right each day and finding that we are more satisfied with ourselves.which it is incapable.” I hope each of us will always feel we are in the right. 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. it is something we must develop. “What a new face courage puts on everything.

” Elaine said she was mad at him but I don’t really think she was. Always 15 . then Dee should be very affluent because Elaine is very frugal. If I am able to tell you how to make good spending decisions I would first suggest that you never buy anything impulsively. because she is careful about every expenditure she makes.JULY / FINANCE SPENDING One of my customers once told me. and much of that comes from bad judgment. Bud interjected. When you make good spending decisions it is just like putting money in your pocket. I said that I was more affluent than I had thought I would be.” Most of you have heard me tell of the time when I was having lunch with Bud Hebeler and a friend of his. but I later realized that what he said was true. then much of the credit goes to Elaine. if we seem affluent to you. After thinking. I am not sure I can tell you how to make good spending decisions. “Good judgment comes from experience.” At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. “People get money not by making it. You might have heard the quotation. but by spending it. Truly. and she also rides herd on me. Bill Schultice. for which we paid too much. Bill’s response was that in his experience affluence came not from making a lot of money. but from being frugal in the way it was spent. Even worse is committing ourselves to payments over a long period of time for something we should not have bought. “Oh. or for which we are being charged too much interest. Bill asked me what about retirement was different than I had expected. who writes a financial column. All of us can look back at some purchase we have made and later realized that it was very unwise.

For example. and especially with your spouse. Most of the time when we consider how we are spending our money we are considering major purchases. Always discuss any purchase that costs any substantial amount with other members of your family. However. the automobile has greatly benefited mankind. My advice to you is: “Spend Your Way Into Affluence. but they also certainly make it very easy to get into debt over our heads. A drink with lunch or dinner can add as much as 30% to the cost of the meal. For example. Credit cards are the major cause of the many bankruptcies filed each year.000. A latte could cost perhaps as much as $10. Often. so don’t think I am suggesting that you forgo these small pleasures. to think about any purchase that is more than you have in your pocket or more than you have in your checking account. we are often spending far more than we think on everyday purchases. A comparison can be made with credit cards and bankcards: they surely make our lives easier. but the cost includes thousands of people killed each year in auto accidents. new things that benefit people come with a cost. if we include interest on the money if it were instead saved and invested. a cup of coffee or a Coke five days each week can cost $2880 over a ten-year period. Just be aware of what the cost is over a period of time.take time. Always take time to compare what else is available and at what price. at least overnight.” 16 . Most of you know how much pop I drink.

We live in the greatest nation the world has ever experienced. Richard L. 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. but I do hope that each of you had some opportunity to use personal courage to accomplish something special during the last month. The character trait emphasized for the month of August is citizenship. Patrick Henry. 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. we are in danger of loosing our freedom and security. such as John Adams. 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. Evans once said. It would not be possible to list all the things that you can do to be a good citizen. but that we should feel good that our taxation rate is among the lowest in the world. I know you have all heard me complain about taxes – that is 17 .AUGUST / CHARACTER CITIZENSHIP I hope none of you had to dash into a burning building to rescue anyone lately. and Thomas Jefferson. Our founding fathers. We should feel that paying taxes for that privilege is well worth the cost and the sacrifice.” From this we should understand that if each of us does not perform the duties of citizenship. “The arm of the law is only as long as the alertness of its citizens.

Make your feelings known! By the way. and I did not want to break the law. and therefore. Each of you can think of many things you can do to be a better citizen. be active in programs such as parent teacher associations. any letter we write to them gets far more attention than you might think. South Carolina. In Aiken. I almost felt that I could avoid paying the tax. That should be your approach as well. and zoning meetings. Your congressional and state representatives get relatively little mail. Don’t let me set your goals! 18 . In the end. Other examples would be to attend local government meetings. Most of you know how I agonized over paying taxes on the capital gains from the sale of the Chelan condo. Often we need to do what is right even if it hurts. the citizens are just given the trait and it is left to each individual to decide how to put that trait into practice. One example might be to write letters to your representatives about matters that are important to you.one of those privileges we have as citizens – but we owe it to our country to pay an honest tax. except for two things: that tax was something I owed. all of the ideas I am sending you about these character traits are my own.

The building of the railroad was such a massive endeavor. and thus the corporation is born. partners become necessary. many people go through their entire lives not understanding the purpose of the stock market or how it functions. 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 . yet. as a new business is started. no single person. and especially with the building of the transcontinental railroad. This was just about the first time that no one person had enough money to finance such a project. Just as today. the stock market really came about with the industrialization of this country. As a bit of history. Many people go through life never understanding what is involved in financial matters.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. could afford to build an airline company or to start any major worldwide company. All of you know I have been involved in the stock market for most of my life. Therefore. 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. whatever their wealth.

with the possible exception of a house. Every purchase you make will fall into one of these two categories. Or better still. It is a liability because you will pay taxes. it is so only if it increases in value. I would suggest any one of several magazines.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. What is the difference? Simply that liabilities continue to cost you money. you will have to read. 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. Uncommon Profits. and if it provides you shelter at a reasonable cost. People who are successful financially spend as much as possible on assets. Everything else you spend your money to buy is either an asset or a liability. These two terms will determine your future. Even though you think of a house as an asset. but each month we should try to spend a little money on an asset. you are on your way to a financially secure future. Both are readily available. interest. An old one that is still very good is Common Stocks. Certainly a retirement program is an asset. Those who will have to survive on Social Security spend all of their money buying liabilities. by Andrew Tobias. and improvements as long as you own it. you can find some very valuable books. by Phillip Fisher. However. Following the old advice to “Pay yourself first” will contribute to your financial well-being. or The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need. or use the library. We must buy many liabilities in order to survive. Assets bring you money. 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. such as Kiplinger’s or Money. Become financially knowledgeable! 20 . If you want to become financially informed about the above terms. upkeep.

– Elizabeth Turner 21 . And the moment she reflected. Quite alarmed. Told her mother what was done. Broke a handsome china basin Placed upon the mantel shelf.SEP TEMBER / CHARACTER TRUTHFULNESS This month I suggest you join the citizens of Aiken in striving to be more Truthful. Loved her better. Rebecca Mason. Who commended her behavior. Not a single person knowing. she thought of going Very quietly away. Of her being there that day But Rebecca recollected She was taught deceit to shun. R EBECCA ’ S A FTERTHOUGHT Yesterday. and forgave her. In the parlor by herself.

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.”




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. I think she is naturally gifted with patience. I have said several times. and it is not too difficult. “I have never seen her angry. when I am impatient. I think of my daughter-in-law. When I considered truthfulness. I feel that it did not take much effort to be truthful during my day-today activities. but these times are much less frequent and they pass much more quickly than in the past. but must develop it. I trust you have found the same to be true in your life. 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. I think some people manage to have patience naturally. That was easy. and honestly. and I responded to her in a nice manner. October’s character trait might be much more difficult. and life will also be more pleasant for those around us. I honestly thought this family would not have much trouble with that character trait. There are times. I know our lives will be much more pleasant when we control our emotions. Lori Jane (who is the world’s best daughter-in-law). He was rude with her and we were all embarrassed at his outbreak. While at dinner one of the men who was with us was upset that a waitress was not prompt in service. I truly believe that patience must be developed.” Others of us do not have this trait naturally. The man 25 . I hope we can join the citizens of Aiken in developing our sense of patience.OCTOBER / CHARACTER PATIENCE I thought quite a bit last month about being truthful. The first week of September I was with a group in Canada playing golf. A few minutes later something else came up.

complimented me on the way I handled the situation and later apologized to the waitress. Had I not developed a better sense of patience. It seems that Shakespeare had a quotation that fit any situation. and then. It seems that I can always find a quotation that says what I want to say better than I can say it myself. I might have been the one who felt an apology was necessary. your strength will not forsake you. 26 . In this case William Plumer. gave advice that I feel is invaluable: Be patient in little things. when unforeseen trouble or calamity comes. In this case it is: How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degree. Learn to meet the everyday trials and annoyances of life quietly and calmly. founder of the New Hampshire Historical Society.

Actually we have not missed the boat – we can catch the next one. A little less than 40 years ago (1968) Elaine and I bought a house in California for 27 . As I have looked at it I thought it would be good advice for any of us. which is a nest egg for your retirement. Of this money we set aside. Maybe the most sobering fact is that the estimate is that 40 years from now it will take $3.” I mean we should always have a plan for using our money. 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. If you think that is an exaggeration then think about this. a home.00 does today.26 to buy what $1. some should be for later purchases. a vacation. such as a new roof. I did not say spending our money. because a portion of each dollar we receive should be set aside. When I tell you to “mange your money. but as I read them I couldn’t find any of them that were more important than the others. Then you must also make provision for the really long term. or for some longer-term usage. We will arrive a little late but at least we will arrive at our destination. or an addition to the house.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. I intended to emphasize what I thought were the key points in the enclosed article. I am sure as we look at it we will feel that if we are over 25 we have missed the boat. just a little later than someone who started earlier. such as a new car.

Paying attention to these little things and driving a little slower has saved me about 15% of my gas (sorry. That house would sell for over $750. and all of their rooms were $6. Two weeks ago I sent you an article about how to get better mileage driving your car.00 per night. Good luck to all of you. the best I have gotten since I bought it new in 1993.85. I can report that I got 22 miles per gallon with my Cadillac. Since then I have tried to follow those methods. S.$38. This means that gas essentially costs $2.00 and as much as $50. 28 .000 today. Today Motel 6 rooms are at least $30. and start managing your money today! P. Also. at that time Motel 6 started business. Dan).43 rather than $2. This will give you the maximum protection against inflation. This is why I urge you to put your long-term savings in mutual funds.000.00.

with a knowing nod. and I heard him say. – Robert Service 29 . so fair! I bade her sit in the model’s seat And I painted her sitting there. A connoisseur. And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire. oh. Shameless. Where you and all may see." So I painted a halo round her hair. Then came. She laughed at my picture and went away. the Mother of God. I painted her as she might have been If the Worst had been the Best. And I sold her and took my fee.NOVEMBER / CHARACTER COMPASSION My Madonna I hailed me a woman from the street. I painted a babe at her breast. I hid all trace of her heart unclean. but. "'Tis Mary.

” Compassion. “Compassion is a natural feeling. this month. To do this we must learn to look at others not in judgment. That is compassion. The passerby saw in the painting not a harlot. without reflection. The painter painted what he perceived the woman might have been if given a chance. That means that you stand by others in times of danger or stress. The Robert Service poem illustrates so well that how we look at others makes a great difference. to the relief of those who are in distress. observe the almost twin of patience. 30 . by moderating the violence of love of self in each individual. David Hume once expressed this by saying. but the Mother of God. which. A few months ago the important character attribute was courage. makes our world a better place in which to live. It is this compassion that hurries us. contributes to the preservation of the whole species. but as people in need. If we are to have compassion for our fellow humans we must learn to look at them and see what might have been.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. Compassion requires us to stand with others in their distress. more than anything else. – Emily Dickinson The citizens of Aiken will.

Don’t buy on credit! (Exceptions might be housing and automobiles. They will last longer and hold their value. You will have to buy in larger quantities. I can suggest 6 ways to start doing this: 1. Start by looking for places to spend less and save more. Cherish your belongings. It is cheaper and healthier than pop or juice.” which stands for “Live Below Your Means. “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. 3. Then implement a waiting period of a few days for your wish list. and honestly examine your wants versus needs. Don’t wait until the brakes squeak or the engine smokes. it would be smart to start planning for it now. How much is gas? 4.) 31 . Take your lunch to work. Keep up the maintenance on your car. Shopping at garage sales and thrift stores can save lots of money. 2. Don’t be swayed by advertising. Don’t buy anything until the waiting time is up. Buy from stores like Costco and Sam’s. One way is to not eat out too often (sorry Elaine). Drink more water. You know the old saying. Don’t treat everything as a consumable. It is “LBYM. but this may mean you have to make fewer trips to the store. Make a wish list for things you want.” Buy generic brands unless you are convinced there is a difference. 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.” or more succinctly S-A-V-E.NOVEMBER / FINANCE DISCIPLINE IN MONEY MATTERS I would like to suggest to you a new term that may be valuable. Take the time to maintain your possessions.

Look for these things. Put long-term savings into an index mutual fund. Can you bank cheaper? How about your insurance? There are many telephone packages. This fund will do better than 90% of all professional money mangers. If you are able to S-A-V-E. but do not feel that you must have the latest thing or toy. How can you do better? 32 . 6. Is yours the right one for you or can you find a cheaper one or one that offers more features you need.5. the next question is: "What do I do with long-term savings?" The answer is very easy. such as Vanguard Total Stock Market. Check your budget often for places you can potentially cut back. Wait a while and you can buy a better product for less. The most expensive time to buy something is when it first hits the market. Your cable package is often larded with things that you can do without at a considerable saving. Always keep in mind that new ways of satisfying your needs are being developed every day – many at lower cost.

although there is evidence that most of these traits have a basis in the teachings of faith. many things that seem unforgivable to us when they happen seem not so very important to us after some period of time.D. When we think about that quotation we may feel that asking us to forgive everything seems all but impossible. I know that there are many things that. it was largely because I was able to put myself in the other person’s shoes. It is: I. but of you it is required to forgive all men. Often a third 33 . I felt would never allow me to forgive someone. Yet we know that time has a tendency to reduce the pain we feel. Strangely. When I was finally able to forgive. then perhaps we should forgive sooner. 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.S. at the time when they happened.DECEMBER / CHARACTER FORGIVENESS I have been careful to keep all of the suggestions for the character traits out of the area of religion. If we feel that we may be able to forgive after a time. but totally different to the other person involved. the Lord will forgive whom I will Forgive. Most actions look one way to one person. I think our challenge should be to make this period of time shorter. church. and thus save ourselves the resentment that builds up in our feelings and makes us a little less than we should be. a basic book from the L.

party will view what happened very differently than either of the persons involved. As you proceed you see two people talking to each other. “Do I live my life so that I deserve to have them say the things I want to hear? 34 . Then ask yourself. we will live a better and happier life. As you approach you realize they are talking about you. “What would I want them to say?” Now once again ask yourself. a life that is more in keeping with what we should be. 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. In conclusion. Their virtues should be written on tablets of love and memory. and they are people you respect very much. Ask yourself what they will be saying. I once heard someone say. They do not know that you can hear. “We should write the faults of our brothers in the sand.” If we can follow this advice.

DECEMBER / FINANCE USE A BUDGET This month’s financial advice will be a little difficult for me to give you. In fact if she were to use a budget it would probably require her to spend more money than she does now. I have been able to stay on a budget because I always limited my access to money by living on an expense account. This means that the Social Security Administration will not be able to provide as much as you might expect. To a certain extent. on the average people are not saving anything. This is terrible news for 35 . In other words. One reason we have been able to maintain financial security is that Elaine has a built in ability to stay within a budget. I know that using a budget is something that will make your life better. During this last week we have had Bud and Mirriam Hebeler here as visitors. Bud told me that we as a nation now do not save any money. In spite of this. since Elaine and I have never really lived on a budget. This savings program means saving in addition to what you put into Social Security or any pension or IRA account. 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. I think Bud may be the nation’s best authority on saving for retirement. even if it is somewhat informal. As all of you know from what I have told you for years staying within your income means also a very solid savings program. it is a fact that people who have trouble living within their income will succeed better by using a budget.

Thus. Things have changed. there are many ways in which things are easier for you. 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. but it is important to face the future with as much knowledge as is possible. and although this is tougher. Living on a budget could be an important first step in doing this.our country since it also means that funds for expansion of industry will not be as available as in the past. I don’t want to seem to be a prophet of doom to you. 36 . Your best defense is a strong savings program and a good IRA account. we must plan to expect less from our defined pensions and Social Security. The trade-off is that you as an individual must take more responsibility for your future and especially your retirement.

This is a cover letter for this month’s suggestion for improving yourself by thinking about the attributes selected by the citizens of Aiken. we will be three-fourths of the way through the year. but maybe August was better because it could remind us that being a good citizen is a twelve-month-a year responsibility. This will be the eighth of twelve character traits and with this letter. your family. we might have personally improved ourselves in the following areas: June. Probably our best chance to show courage is in doing what we know is right. This might be a time to reflect upon our truthfulness to ourselves and to others. and if we have become better people. if you choose. September was the month when Truthfulness was emphasized. your employer and the world in which you live. In August the trait selected was Citizenship. Personally. For myself and for you. in spite of what others think or what the consequences bring. the beginning of this series of letters emphasized Loyalty.INTERLUDE Dear Children and grandchildren. it is great progress. This should probably have been selected for the month in which we vote. In review. July was the month in which Courage was emphasized. 37 . I think it might be a time to review and ask ourselves if we have progressed. loyalty to yourself. I feel that if we have changed just a little. since most adults change very little or not at all.

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. I trust you also have made progress. Now we go on to January. Compassion was the watchword for November. They choose the Coachella Rescue Mission.October brought Patience. Dad / Grandpa 38 . which will be Sincerity. but we also should remember that this too is a twelve-month-a-year responsibility. Perhaps the most difficult for me. but maybe the trait in which I think I have been most successful in improving. Forgiveness is part of the Christmas season. How about you? December brought a trait that was certainly timely. A discussion with our friends that followed showed that I was not compassionate toward those people. Oh well. We certainly should find time to have forgiven someone at this time of the year. since it is mostly for people involved in drugs and alcohol. it shows that I still need to improve. I am sure you will find in this another area in which you can improve.

Stan had a way of issuing compliments that in my opinion was unsurpassed. although he had thought the same thing about previous salesmen and would again. When he talked about his wife he would say without reservation. or being truthful. then certainly Aiken has become an even better place in which to live. George Burns once said: The secret to succeeding in show business is sincerity. one of the two best friends I have had through the years. “She is the best woman God ever put on this earth. straightforward and honest in a desire to help. you’ve got it made. However. If you can fake that.JANUARY / CHARACTER SINCERITY It would be interesting to know whether or not the citizens of Aiken have become more sincere.” Sincere is defined as being without deceit. pretense. He often said to me that I was the best salesman Brunswick had ever had. If they have. In spite of that I know he said those things in complete sincerity. This is not a quotation that we should seek to emulate. and 39 . 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. Most of you remember Stan Olson. All of these things are certainly traits that anyone would like to have. It might help to look at a dictionary definition of “sincere.” When you heard him. as it illustrates a total lack of sincerity. or hypocrisy. I know he meant it. By now you know I like to add quotations to illustrate the character traits the citizens of Aiken have selected.

but instead I told Elaine this. Somehow I felt that she believed me. We should avoid being insincere even more strongly than we strive to be sincere. I could have dropped it there. Probably just as important. She should have. Doing so will certainly improve life for both you and whomever you come in contact with. and maybe even more so. because it was true. would like to have others show in their actions. Never pass up a chance to give a compliment to someone when you can do it with sincerity. Today I went to the Christmas program put on by the Palm Desert Singers.even more. it must be done with complete sincerity. is to avoid being insincere. When we give compliments. Too often we pass up a chance to tell someone something complimentary. As I looked at the ladies on the stage I realized Elaine was certainly the most beautiful lady there. As I type this I realize that the important thing about sincerity is that we develop it not in a selfish manner. but in a manner of giving. 40 .

Then he learned even more and was able to advance. Truman I would think we have several examples of this in our family. from what I know. Today there is nothing she 41 . yet she never stopped trying. I doubt any of them could compete with Dan in overall knowledge of operation. not at a specialized school. Chris struggled with school and did not find it as easy to learn as her siblings. Rich started by knowing how electronic equipment was made and what the theory of electronics entailed. I always wondered how she learned so much about the publishing industry in a small backwater location (sorry Holly. He often has to go to sites that someone else should handle. Now he is the most knowledgeable person in his company here in America. but because he has learned more about the operation of the equipment than anyone else in his company. I am constantly amazed by how much Dan knows about the operation of the Tesoro Refinery. I also know most of what he has learned has been learned the hard way.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. There was a time he probably knew more about this than his coworkers. he is needed. Holly has never lost her desire to learn. Although there are many highly trained engineers at the refinery. but this is true) like Port Townsend. – Harry S.

finds time to pursue her desire to become a nurse. and as he learns will continue to enter other areas of building. Stephanie continues to progress with new challenges in dentistry by learning to work in the hospital and new areas of responsibilities in dentistry. the younger grandchildren are still undergoing their basic education. Lori certainly knows the value of continuing education. 42 . Mac is making progress with his business. And never stop urging them to continue learning. Alicia. I am also aware of the progress being made by all of the grandchildren. and as they do.cannot accomplish. going to school again. expanding from framing to siding and roofing. We should do all we can to make education easier for children and grandchildren. even after they know it all. Each should recognize that every new thing we learn opens new opportunities for further learning. we should all encourage them to get all the education they possibly can. Lacy is now perusing a long held desire to excel in photography. Several of us depend upon her for computer operation and being thorough in her follow-through. she is doing it the hard way. while doing very well at The Archer and making a good deal of money. Of course.

then spend the rest of our lives trying to be just that. That is. This is not common today. respecting others. When I was young it was a sign of respect to call all adults by either Mr. we must learn to respect ourselves. 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. 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. However. that is) did not. When we have that self-respect we can then turn to a larger task. or Mrs. A better way to judge respect is to observe how we relate to people. It seems that I was taught respect for others more so than most young people are today. McKay was on an LDS mission to Scotland. I am probably wrong. Most older people feel that the younger generation does not have the respect they had when they were young. I think my parents felt that the younger generation (mine. It seems to me we should first decide what we are and just what we want to be.FEBRUARY / CHARACTER RESPECT Many years ago when President David O. that is. That is also true today. It does not mean there is a lack of respect. Being more careful in our treatment of the environment can also be considered a 43 .

Perhaps the most difficult group to remember is those who in some way seem beneath us. someone doing us a service. pedestrians. We should also show respect to our children and other young people. Maybe I still don’t do it as well as I should. I think this is something that we often overlook. A list might include law enforcement. To whom should we show respect? Really the list is endless. 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. and all with whom we come in contact. We might start by respecting our parents and elders (get that.sign of respect. such as employees. Every person on earth deserves some measure of respect. children and grandchildren!). military. We will be better people if we are able to observe this character trait. or those who are destitute and on the street. not only of the environment but of the others who live on this earth and of the future generations. public employees. 44 . people who serve us in stores and restaurants. From there we could make a long list of people to whom we should show respect.

I know that a person of average intelligence can make over 90 percent of home repairs. then call someone who can show you how to make these repairs. That is a loosing game. 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. or start making plans to move into a better or more valuable home.” 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.FEBRUARY / FINANCE CONTINUALLY WORKING TOWARD HOME OWNERSHIP For most people. If you don’t know how. When you first own a home it is only the beginning. Another thing that is very important is that you should learn to take care of your home. each of you are doing that. 45 . Perhaps you noticed that I used the term “continually. Never refinance your home to get money to use for a purpose other than home ownership. As far as I know. Calling a plumber or an electrician can be very expensive. you should think of what you can do to enhance this valuable asset. Strange as it may seem to each of you. From the first day you start into home ownership. At this point I would like to offer some advice. It means such things as security against old age. a refuge from the trials of the world – it provides a hedge against inflation and gives us the pride of ownership. Having a home means many things to people. this is something which is not common any place else in the world. a safe place for a family. the most valuable thing they will ever own is a home.

Now a thirty-year mortgage is almost standard and we are beginning to see forty-year paper. If this is done as soon as a leak is noticed. 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. A leaking toilet is usually a minor problem. 46 . If you are able to pay off a mortgage in fifteen rather than thirty years.A few examples would include putting a new gasket in a faucet. If your mortgage is thirty years try making an extra payment at least once per year. Unfortunately. as soon as you get the house clean. it can take only a few minutes. I hope each of you can reach this goal. you will pay only about forty percent as much interest. Thus the word “continually” is again a key to good home ownership. If you wait too long before getting a leaking toilet fixed. It will be a blessing for you and your family. it begins to get dirty again and attract insects and vermin. Years ago a twenty-year mortgage was rare. Keeping the house clean and orderly will keep insects from multiplying and eventually damaging the house and your possessions. meaning you have a difficult job resurfacing the valve or replacing the entire faucet. the leak will eventually cut a groove in the valve seat. If you leave it. The savings in interest will be substantial. When you finance a home you should try to pay off the loan as soon as possible. it will often mean replacing the flooring around the fixture.

you will be upset and disappointed. realizing that what happened did not justify our lack of self-control. Surprise them by not reacting as they expect. 2. Everyone responds to that kind of attention. I don’t think anything is more embarrassing than losing our temper. then choose a gift certificate. Don’t react. Almost every time we will look back and regret our actions.” 3. even a good thing. Compliment them and ask for information. 4. If you cannot accept them as they are. Following are six suggestions for getting along with anyone: 1. When you know someone might 47 . I think one of the most important ways to maintain self-control is to get along with people. as this old tale shows. there is Susan I must go talk to her. Some people will purposely try to push your buttons looking for a response. Or one of the best responses is to remove yourself from the scene. We should know that too much of anything. Try “Oh. If you do. don’t expect them to change.MARCH / CHARACTER SELF-CONTROL The ancient Greeks had a famous saying: “Nothing overmuch. We need to recognize when enough is enough. may prove to be our undoing. but rather reminds us to avoid excess.” The maxim calls not for total abstinence. If people don’t appreciate gifts from you. don’t see them. You will not change them. Look for hidden gifts. Everyone has some talent or skill. Practice self-defense. Expect the expected! If you are going to see someone who annoys you or who is not always agreeable.

Silence your critics. 5. both friends and family. then make sure that your time with him or her is limited. If you know that someone’s actions will annoy you.” 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. If someone asks a question that is none of his or her business.not appreciate a food or some attention. If you can only stand them for five minutes. “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 ---------. 6. be prepared with a response. 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. 48 . Know your limits. then plan to excuse yourself after that time.

you will note that experts say that inflation is low. This month is different. which was worth only about 35% of what her house had been worth.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. She knew she could no longer take care of her home in Salt Lake City. 49 . You will be paid only about 2% on the money. the money from the house sale would only buy a small condo. I strongly feel that inflation is the greatest enemy of security and retirement. Unfortunately. It was beautiful home overlooking the entire Salt Lake Valley. then decided to sell it. the country underwent a period of very high inflation (as much as 16% per year). My mother moved to Seattle to be near me for a few years. She rented it for a year. When she returned to buy a condo. There is nothing more difficult than preparing for inflation. Actually. while she was in Seattle. you will find that it will buy only about half of what it would when you put it away. money in the bank is a loosing proposition. If you read the paper. I might use an example to show you how devastating inflation can be. It may seem so. 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. In addition to that. That means that if you save $100 for ten years then try to spend it. but it is still at least 3% per year. and will loose 3% through inflation. you will have to pay income tax on the 2% you did earn.

however. I know that most of you are not now thinking of retirement. 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. The only other suggestion I can make to you is that you own stock in companies that grow with the economy. I know you will see many suggestions that you keep some money in cash or some other form that is easily accessible.So. Boeing. I have suggested before that unless you spend some time studying the stocks you would be better investing in mutual funds. and oil companies. Most of the time homes increase in value at least as much as inflation. This is a good idea. Another example I can give is what Bud Hebeler told me about his retirement pension. Companies that meet these criteria are McDonald’s. the purchasing power of his pension declined by over 50%. 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. you better increase it by at least 15%. rental property is not the best investment for most people. During the first ten years of his retirement. but when you look at how much you need for retirement. the ones that are considered value funds have a degree of protection. In mutual funds. Rental property is also very good protection against inflation. 50 . how do you protect yourself from inflation? One of the best ways is to own your home. it will be the best protection against inflation that I can suggest. If you keep your home up-to-date and keep the majority of your money invested.

For the want of a battle. For the want of a shoe. When we help our children become responsible. When we increase our responsibility. a horse was lost. the King was left alone on the battlefield. 51 . To be irresponsible is immature. a shoe was lost. To be responsible is to be answerable or accountable. a battle was lost. we increase our maturity. As the battle started. 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. 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.APRIL / CHARACTER RESPONSIBILITY To respond is to answer. The horse fell. King Richard spurred his horse forward but a shoe came off. a kingdom was lost. In King Richard III Shakespeare tells about King Richard preparing for a battle. we are helping them along the road to maturity. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. For the want of a horse.

I think each of us remember some time when we failed to take some little action. I feel that I would like to visit there. Our family life will improve because our family can depend upon us to do what needs to be done. We will become more valuable to our employers or customers. We will not have to make excuses. I just hope we as members of a family have profited by thinking of character traits that will make us better people. sometime along my growing up I was able to improve on my lack of a good character trait. a failure of responsibility. in that it can become a lifelong habit. We will certainly reduce stress upon ourselves knowing that what we promised to do has been done. For me. Some things I can think of are: 1. South Carolina. 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. It might help in becoming responsible if we think about the benefits we still derive from becoming responsible people. 52 . I wonder how many of you have been curious about where Aiken is located. Fortunately for me. As I have written about the city this past year. it is in the middle of the state from the North to South. The citizens of Aiken. 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. It might be best if I do not because I would be disappointed if I found that this campaign has not been a success. 2. 3. If any of you are interested. are being urged to improve their sense of responsibility. This was dangerous. but almost on the border of Georgia.

The Midwest is such a place. you might think something like that could not happen there. since they provide great nutrition at a 53 . Some areas of the country think they are not in danger of earthquakes. Beans and dried peas are some of the best foods to store. Frozen foods are not good since most emergencies will mean a loss of electric power. Canned goods are particularly good for keeping. Be assured that no place on earth is immune from such an occurrence. but don’t forget to keep a manual can opener on hand.APRIL / FINANCE FOOD STORAGE It seems that the things I want to suggest to you often have some relation to church. As you know. and maybe a month to six weeks. If we have learned nothing from the hurricane Katrina it is that unforeseen emergencies do happen. yet the greatest earthquake in our nation’s history occurred in New Madrid. you might be right – but if you eliminate that one vulnerability. 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. There is no record of any earthquake before or since. 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). you will most likely find that your area is susceptible to several others. Volcanoes are mostly predictable in the areas where they exist. and if you think you are immune to that one disaster. Dried foods are good but must be protected from moisture. Wherever you may live. You might give some thought to what foods are good for storage. Missouri.

Think what a blessing it might be if you are the only one in your family that has food when an emergency occurs. Curiously. telling them it is your way of using food that is kept for an emergency. Perhaps you could use the food that is a little old and have a party with friends. You might also consider keeping the food until it is close to the expiration date and then give it to a food bank. 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.very low price. 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. 54 . Buy a few cans of beef stew and each time you use one or two buy two more and rotate your stock. You might influence them to start a food storage program of their own. hard candy is a good storage item since it stores well and provides great energy though not good nutrition. It might save the life of a child – your child or grandchild. making sure you immediately replace it.

I know attentiveness is a weakness of mine. For example. 55 . I am probably one of the most unobservant people I know. a new hairdo. or paying attention to personal relationships in our daily life. It is especially called to my attention when Elaine has some new item of clothing. we might first think of this in relation to our spouses or other members of our family. Most often our lack of attentiveness is our failure to be observant. I do know that I was not careful enough for too long. but one thing that would help is if we make sure to take some action when we do notice something new. not only with Elaine. I try to tell her that if she will give me a little more time I will notice. I can’t tell you how to become more attentive. We could talk about paying attention to our work. vigilant. I often think of the things to which we do not pay enough attention. She is very good at calling my attention to my failure to notice these things. but also with daily life as well. paying attention to our community and country. I think we often do not pay attention to our health. and perceptive are a few words that are elements of attentiveness.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. or some new item of decoration around the house. Attentiveness certainly applies to many more situations than that. you all know I just had surgery for squamous cell cancer on my lip. watchful. observant. I don’t know just when I realized that the sun was dangerous. As with many of the character traits chosen for emphasis by the citizens of Aiken.

Preparing to finance education for your children and grandchildren. It would be nice if these items would work together. Preparing for the expense of health care. but if you accept this. it almost breaks my heart to see a woman well into her 60s waiting tables in a restaurant. but more often they actually oppose each other. but there are just too many of you. For some reason. To some extent this is correct. sugar intake. 56 . blood pressure. I suggest that you sit down and write down a list of things that you are apt to overlook. I feel that you and others your age face that kind of difficulty in your near future. it is a recipe for difficult budgeting and perhaps a very sparse old age. pay attention to them! THE TRIFECTA Most of you probably know that a trifecta is a racing term. It means choosing correctly the first three horses in a race. I wish I could have enough money to provide for each of you. and most important of all. so you must do it for yourself.Do pay attention to things like sunlight. Often they come during difficult times of your life. which is now consuming almost 20% of the average person’s income. I have heard it said that people cannot save money until their children are gone. 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. then occasionally look at that list and ask yourself if these items are getting proper attention. The three important decisions you must make correctly are: 1. Setting aside enough money to insure a secure retirement. your weight. Most illnesses give warning symptoms. 3. 2.

People who are hit by big liability lawsuits or personal injury items are often left destitute. your health insurance can be very expensive. Often your employer will help provide your health insurance. Anyone with a young family should have some life insurance. Term insurance is the best type for you at this time of life because you will get more insurance for less money. Even at that time it will be important for you to sign up for Part B. and auto insurance. People whose house is flooded or damaged by another disaster can testify to that. True it lacks that promised payout at the end. At 65 Medicare will kick in. which will help at a time when your health costs are increasing. On the other hand. and probably some type of prescription coverage. especially as you get older. homeowners. Somehow each of you needs to reach some kind of compromise. 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 . but then it too late. Being under-insured can cost you dearly. There are kinds of insurance you will likely need all of your life. as well as either a health maintenance organization or a Medigap health policy. You will not have to pay so much to get adequate insurance. Most of the time this is not the best choice. Some of these are medical. It is just as easy to become under-insured. If you don’t have this. If you buy from a life agent he will try to steer you to a type that includes some type of savings program.MAY / FINANCE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME INSURANCE It is very easy to become over-insured.

this should not be a consideration. so as you can see you have to have a considerable amount to cover this. most people resist this in a desire to leave “something for the kids. Unfortunately.000 per year. then invest it in something like a mutual fund. If you still feel the need. Most life insurance policies take your money. First. Second are those who have enough wealth that they can afford the very high costs of private care. since most often the kids are better off than the parents. which can often be used to provide long term care. he found that it only applied while he could care for her at home. this field is filled with charlatans who are not willing or not able to properly explain what you are buying. and then when his wife developed Alzheimer’s. 58 . Yes. make it just enough to carry the family through funeral and recovery. Just be careful in buying LTC. After your children are grown and on their own you probably will not need any life insurance. 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.” At this time in your life. My suggestion is that you consider this. someone who will have very little in retirement so that their costs will be covered by Medicaid. A reverse mortgage is used to provide monthly cash. but this is apt to be after you are no longer alive.) One source of money for a late-life health problem is your home. 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. As soon as she went to a home the policy ended. (A friend of mine bought such a policy. There are two types of people who do not need this. you will eventually not own the house. He was not aware of this clause.cially if you just buy the term insurance and put the extra into savings that go into a mutual fund. Private care often cost $70.

I am going to conclude by reviewing the letters I have sent you through the last year. SINCERITY Feb. 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. I hope each of us has gained something by concentrating on these twelve traits of character chosen by the citizens of Aiken.EPILOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. The twelve traits are: Jan. RESPECT Mar. but now I am through. Writing letters and finding something to say was not easy for me. because I knew that the first of each month was a deadline. RESPONSIBILITY May ATTENTIVENESS June LOYALITY July COURAGE 59 . I surely realized it. SELF-CONTROL Apr.

And the second is like unto it. each of us we would find that different traits would be the most important depending on the stage of our life and development. FORGIVENESS One thing you learn if you have ever been a teacher. 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.Aug.” and as Christ said. I just hope there have been a few times you have thought of ways in which you could improve yourself. I found this especially true whenever I was called upon to teach a church class.” In thinking of this. I just hope and trust they have also changed 60 . “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. “Compassion. The most important to me was November. “Forgiveness. Love thy neighbor as thyself. COMPASSION Dec. the second is like unto it. is that in preparing to teach you always learn much more than the students to whom you give the lesson. He answered. TRUTHFULNESS Oct. I know that writing these letters for the past year has had more effect on me than reading them has had on you. Just as that is true. I know I always learned more than my students. I know that it is often impossible for someone to say which trait is the most important. I would like to tell you what I think. I am reminded of the time when Christ was asked which of the Ten Commandments was the greatest. and with all thy mind. especially if you are called upon to teach something with which you are not familiar.” To me these two traits often go hand in hand. I also think that if we were to review in later years what we choose as the most important. and with all thy soul. for me. is the greatest of the Character Traits we have reviewed. which always had to do with becoming a better person. This is the first and greatest commandment. CITIZENSHIP Sept. PATIENCE Nov.

Use a budget. If any of us have changed or improved even a little. The second part of these letters has dealt with financial matters that I thought would be of value to us. Food storage. L. Cope with inflation. Strive for home ownership. Dec.B. They have been: Jan. Live beneath your means. Feb. I hope these twelve subjects contained something that was of 61 . When I chose to write of the character traits. When I decided to include a financial item with each letter. Become financially informed. May Make sure you have some insurance. we are to be congratulated.me for the better. Make education a continuing process.M. Jun. it was easy because someone else had prepared the list of traits. Nov. Discipline in money matters. Mar. Apr. Aug. Good spending choices. don't let it manage you. since most people change very little after becoming adults. Importance of work. Jul. Maybe there are one or two that have touched you and changed you for the better. I had to draw upon my own experience. Sept. Oct. Meet financial obligations. Manage your money.Y.

then I feel that I have not wasted my time. and trust that I am being faithful to the suggestions I have made to you. the first I would emphasize is “Discipline in money matters.” 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 guess I live in constant fear that one of my children or grandchildren might “run out of money. it is “Use a Budget. Just as I chose to emphasize two of the character traits.” I feel the term “Live Beneath Your Means” is perhaps the best advice I could possibly give to you. And the second is one that helps to achieve that. I would like to suggest that you choose two of the financial items which have the greatest value to you.value to you. Maybe some of you have seen it. Then sell it when everyone else thinks it is the hottest item they have ever seen.” 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.” I really feel that if each of us pays heed to the above items. It was of an elderly Indian woman obviously malnourished and near death. It is so good that it scares me as I have never been scared before. If even one of you has been able to make some change in your life or spending habits. I hope these letters have been of some value to you. 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. we will greatly lessen the danger of ‘running out of money. The telling words beneath the picture said “She just ran out of money. Dad / Grandpa 62 . Some of this might have related back to a picture that Liam had hung in the bathroom of their house in Somerville. That is the way I look at the economy today. I send this letter to you with my love and affection. For me. I feel this is the time of the greatest concern. Just now as it looks so good that we have nothing to worry about. I do know that I often think of things that I have advised you to do. Don’t you run out of money.

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