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A Father’s Advice for a Better Life
D E E V. S W E N S O N
The book has been edited and produced by Tree Swenson. Swenson All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission. NY 10011 . This book was developed out of a series of letters Dee Swenson wrote to his children and grandchildren in 2005 and 2006. Filia Press 100 West 12th Street / New York.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.
PROLOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. One item that really caught my interest was a section on Aiken. South Carolina. companies. One of you gave me a book for Christmas. as it focused on different aspects of our American life and went into detail about some communities. 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 citizens were advised of what the goal would be for that month. So each month. such as. A movement to improve the community was started. The people who planned the project were able to identify scores of attributes that they thought would make the people and their town better. which if adopted by the citizens would make Aiken a better place to live. and even the water bills had a note. I found it very interesting.” If at the end of the year. and features of our life. “ Make Aiken an honest place to live. I cannot give proper credit for the gift. 7 . but you did not do what I always request and write an inscription at the front of the book – therefore. the community people felt they had succeeded. they would continue for another year. It was a book about our nation and the people we are. and one aspect of this movement was to choose several character traits. They are now into their second year and feel that this effort has had a positive effect on their citizens. The people of Aiken decided to stress one of these traits each month for a year. After collecting many suggestions. The newspapers publicized it.
Love. so I decided to also include a second thought each month pertaining to your financial health. I then realized that I couldn’t leave it at that. Dad / Grandpa 8 . If we all pay attention to the traits. 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. Therefore.I was very impressed with this program and thought that it would be a very valuable thing for everyone. I will send you these letters each month unless you decide you do not want to receive them. Of course. 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 think that loyalty should start much closer to home. husbands. Each of us will have to find our own ways in which to be loyal. We can help each other by showing that kind of loyalty. The U. We should support our wives. S. as in being loyal to your country. As we have grown. Most of the time when we think of loyalty we think of it as a patriotic term. Once we have achieved loyalty to ourselves. and once we form them. we should look at being loyal to our spouses and family.JUNE / CHARACTER LOYALTY The attribute the citizens of Aiken chose to emphasize for the month of June is loyalty. It might involve providing financial help or emotional support. While this is very important and something we should all strive to achieve. First. It might be by speaking positively about a person or about the whole group. and other members of our family in trying to become the very best each of them can be. when he said “One of the great discoveries in life is finding a dependable person. We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish. we should be loyal to ourselves. Each of us might go to precinct meetings which select delegates to national and state conventions. It might be by attending meetings and voting. we will have a most firm foundation.” If we can all depend upon the loyalty of other members of our families. Army has a great motto: “Be all that you can be.” I am reminded of a quotation by Richard L. we have all developed an idea of who we are and what we want to be. Evans. we should be loyal to our goals and try to live up to being what we think we should be. 9 .
I think that when we learn to be loyal to our family. we have taken the greatest step we can toward becoming loyal to all of the other groups to which we belong. This month we should choose not to criticize or complain unjustly. 10 . Each day we should think of how we can be loyal to our school. and certainly to our state and nation. our fellow workers. our work. our clubs and associations. to do it in a constructive manner. and if we must do so.
JUNE / FINANCE THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK Thomas Edison once said. we can find a way to understand how important it is and how it contributes to the family and our own well-being. Each member of a family should look at work as their contribution to the family’s welfare. and there is a way to make any job pleasurable.” These days I often help with housework and I find great satisfaction in dusting and other cleaning. I have to admit that I still don’t like to do it. It was all fun. I am very much like that: I cannot remember ever having a job that I did not like. and that includes using a shovel as a plumber’s helper. It sometimes seems that there is nothing that is more useless than housework: “It just gets dirty again.” 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. To be truly successful at work we must like what we do. I know that some work seems that it just cannot have much value. then each day we can look forward to the work we do and to the contribution we make. “I never did a day’s work in my life. No matter how meaningless a task seems. This does not mean that there won’t be some days that we will dislike having to go to work. 11 . but we can nonetheless look forward every day to accomplishing something at work that we have to do. For many years I did not do much to help Elaine with housework. If we are able to make that our goal. Work is utterly basic to our financial well being. but I get a sense of satisfaction after the work is done.
12 .Of course we mostly look at work as a source of income. The article points out the importance of building a nest egg. Once we have earned that income. 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. No matter how young you are. you are not too young to begin investing in your future.
and resisting the pressure despite the condemnation or the derision of their friends is most difficult. There are. organizations. to drink. I think the best definition of courage is doing what is right each day. “When moral courage feels that it is in the right. Please join the citizens of Aiken this month by having more courage. 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. This temptation is easier to resist as we get older – or maybe we are just not tempted as much. I hope you have become more loyal to yourself. there is no personal daring of 13 . By this time you have had a month to think about your loyalty. I also hope that you see in yourself progress in becoming more loyal to your family. many times each day we must exercise courage. company. regardless of the consequences. or have sex – that for them is wrong. 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.JULY / CHARACTER COURAGE Aiken’s character calendar for July is courage. I think those of us who are older should help those who are younger to have the strength to resist temptation. look at them for courage. To those of you who have children. however. and that you see progress in becoming what you think you should be. Leigh Hunt (an 1800s poet and essayist) wrote. This month I ask you to look at your courage. Each day they are encouraged to take some action – often they are urged to take drugs. and our government.
We develop it by doing what is right each day and finding that we are more satisfied with ourselves. just as the people of Aiken are reminded to do during the month of July. it is something we must develop. 14 .” I hope each of us will always feel we are in the right.which it is incapable. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said. Courage is not a gift to us. and will do what is right regardless of what others do or urge us to do. “What a new face courage puts on everything. I hope each of you will think about courage during the coming month.” 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.
Bill Schultice. When you make good spending decisions it is just like putting money in your pocket. “Good judgment comes from experience. or for which we are being charged too much interest. and much of that comes from bad judgment. then much of the credit goes to Elaine. “People get money not by making it. but by spending it.” Most of you have heard me tell of the time when I was having lunch with Bud Hebeler and a friend of his. Always 15 . I am not sure I can tell you how to make good spending decisions. All of us can look back at some purchase we have made and later realized that it was very unwise. Bill asked me what about retirement was different than I had expected. who writes a financial column. I said that I was more affluent than I had thought I would be. because she is careful about every expenditure she makes. and she also rides herd on me. “Oh. if we seem affluent to you.” Elaine said she was mad at him but I don’t really think she was. Bud interjected. Even worse is committing ourselves to payments over a long period of time for something we should not have bought. but I later realized that what he said was true. If I am able to tell you how to make good spending decisions I would first suggest that you never buy anything impulsively. Truly.” At the time I didn’t understand what he meant.JULY / FINANCE SPENDING One of my customers once told me. then Dee should be very affluent because Elaine is very frugal. but from being frugal in the way it was spent. You might have heard the quotation. for which we paid too much. Bill’s response was that in his experience affluence came not from making a lot of money. After thinking.
Just be aware of what the cost is over a period of time. Often. if we include interest on the money if it were instead saved and invested. For example. A drink with lunch or dinner can add as much as 30% to the cost of the meal. Always discuss any purchase that costs any substantial amount with other members of your family. we are often spending far more than we think on everyday purchases. so don’t think I am suggesting that you forgo these small pleasures.000. but they also certainly make it very easy to get into debt over our heads. at least overnight. a cup of coffee or a Coke five days each week can cost $2880 over a ten-year period. new things that benefit people come with a cost. Credit cards are the major cause of the many bankruptcies filed each year. to think about any purchase that is more than you have in your pocket or more than you have in your checking account. the automobile has greatly benefited mankind. However. but the cost includes thousands of people killed each year in auto accidents. My advice to you is: “Spend Your Way Into Affluence. A comparison can be made with credit cards and bankcards: they surely make our lives easier. For example.” 16 . Most of you know how much pop I drink. Always take time to compare what else is available and at what price. and especially with your spouse. Most of the time when we consider how we are spending our money we are considering major purchases. A latte could cost perhaps as much as $10.take time.
Richard L. It would not be possible to list all the things that you can do to be a good citizen.” From this we should understand that if each of us does not perform the duties of citizenship. but that we should feel good that our taxation rate is among the lowest in the world. No government can give us freedom or anything else without the participation of the citizens who live in that country. We live in the greatest nation the world has ever experienced. I don’t mean we should not complain or be concerned about how that tax money is spent.AUGUST / CHARACTER CITIZENSHIP I hope none of you had to dash into a burning building to rescue anyone lately. and Thomas Jefferson. We should feel that paying taxes for that privilege is well worth the cost and the sacrifice. “The arm of the law is only as long as the alertness of its citizens. Patrick Henry. Our founding fathers. we are in danger of loosing our freedom and security. but I do hope that each of you had some opportunity to use personal courage to accomplish something special during the last month. 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. 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. The character trait emphasized for the month of August is citizenship. I know you have all heard me complain about taxes – that is 17 . such as John Adams.
In Aiken. Make your feelings known! By the way.one of those privileges we have as citizens – but we owe it to our country to pay an honest tax. any letter we write to them gets far more attention than you might think. and zoning meetings. and I did not want to break the law. Often we need to do what is right even if it hurts. That should be your approach as well. South Carolina. Your congressional and state representatives get relatively little mail. Other examples would be to attend local government meetings. One example might be to write letters to your representatives about matters that are important to you. Don’t let me set your goals! 18 . In the end. and therefore. the citizens are just given the trait and it is left to each individual to decide how to put that trait into practice. Each of you can think of many things you can do to be a better citizen. I almost felt that I could avoid paying the tax. all of the ideas I am sending you about these character traits are my own. Most of you know how I agonized over paying taxes on the capital gains from the sale of the Chelan condo. except for two things: that tax was something I owed. be active in programs such as parent teacher associations.
many people go through their entire lives not understanding the purpose of the stock market or how it functions. This was just about the first time that no one person had enough money to finance such a project. whatever their wealth. partners become necessary.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. All of you know I have been involved in the stock market for most of my life. yet. 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. as a new business is started. could afford to build an airline company or to start any major worldwide company. 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 . and thus the corporation is born. the stock market really came about with the industrialization of this country. Therefore. Many people go through life never understanding what is involved in financial matters. no single person. The building of the railroad was such a massive endeavor. As a bit of history. Just as today. and especially with the building of the transcontinental railroad.
I would suggest any one of several magazines. such as Kiplinger’s or Money. interest. Assets bring you money. It is a liability because you will pay taxes. Uncommon Profits. and if it provides you shelter at a reasonable cost. People who are successful financially spend as much as possible on assets. by Phillip Fisher. or The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need. What is the difference? Simply that liabilities continue to cost you money. However. We must buy many liabilities in order to survive. Everything else you spend your money to buy is either an asset or a liability. you are on your way to a financially secure future. with the possible exception of a house. Following the old advice to “Pay yourself first” will contribute to your financial well-being. These two terms will determine your future. or use the library. upkeep. it is so only if it increases in value. Those who will have to survive on Social Security spend all of their money buying liabilities. If you want to become financially informed about the above terms. 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. Even though you think of a house as an asset. 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. Both are readily available. and improvements as long as you own it. An old one that is still very good is Common Stocks. Become financially knowledgeable! 20 . Certainly a retirement program is an asset. you can find some very valuable books. but each month we should try to spend a little money on an asset. Or better still. you will have to read. by Andrew Tobias. Every purchase you make will fall into one of these two categories.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.
SEP TEMBER / CHARACTER TRUTHFULNESS This month I suggest you join the citizens of Aiken in striving to be more Truthful. Rebecca Mason. R EBECCA ’ S A FTERTHOUGHT Yesterday. Of her being there that day But Rebecca recollected She was taught deceit to shun. she thought of going Very quietly away. Told her mother what was done. and forgave her. Who commended her behavior. – Elizabeth Turner 21 . Loved her better. Not a single person knowing. Broke a handsome china basin Placed upon the mantel shelf. Quite alarmed. In the parlor by herself. And the moment she reflected.
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.
Lori Jane (who is the world’s best daughter-in-law). That was easy. and I responded to her in a nice manner.OCTOBER / CHARACTER PATIENCE I thought quite a bit last month about being truthful. but these times are much less frequent and they pass much more quickly than in the past. I honestly thought this family would not have much trouble with that character trait. A few minutes later something else came up. when I am impatient. 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.” Others of us do not have this trait naturally. I think some people manage to have patience naturally. I trust you have found the same to be true in your life. When I considered truthfulness. I have said several times. and it is not too difficult. There are times. and life will also be more pleasant for those around us. The first week of September I was with a group in Canada playing golf. While at dinner one of the men who was with us was upset that a waitress was not prompt in service. I feel that it did not take much effort to be truthful during my day-today activities. but must develop it. and honestly. still. I know our lives will be much more pleasant when we control our emotions. October’s character trait might be much more difficult. I think she is naturally gifted with patience. He was rude with her and we were all embarrassed at his outbreak. I think of my daughter-in-law. I hope we can join the citizens of Aiken in developing our sense of patience. “I have never seen her angry. The man 25 . I truly believe that patience must be developed.
Had I not developed a better sense of patience. gave advice that I feel is invaluable: Be patient in little things. founder of the New Hampshire Historical Society. In this case William Plumer. I might have been the one who felt an apology was necessary. when unforeseen trouble or calamity comes. Learn to meet the everyday trials and annoyances of life quietly and calmly. It seems that Shakespeare had a quotation that fit any situation. your strength will not forsake you. 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 it is: How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degree. 26 . and then.complimented me on the way I handled the situation and later apologized to the waitress.
just a little later than someone who started earlier. or for some longer-term usage. Then you must also make provision for the really long term. Of this money we set aside. Actually we have not missed the boat – we can catch the next one. When I tell you to “mange your 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. but as I read them I couldn’t find any of them that were more important than the others.26 to buy what $1. A little less than 40 years ago (1968) Elaine and I bought a house in California for 27 . I am sure as we look at it we will feel that if we are over 25 we have missed the boat. because a portion of each dollar we receive should be set aside. which is a nest egg for your retirement. I intended to emphasize what I thought were the key points in the enclosed article. a vacation. Maybe the most sobering fact is that the estimate is that 40 years from now it will take $3. some should be for later purchases. I did not say spending our money.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. such as a new roof. such as a new car. If you think that is an exaggeration then think about this. As I have looked at it I thought it would be good advice for any of us.” I mean we should always have a plan for using our money. a home.00 does today. We will arrive a little late but at least we will arrive at our destination. or an addition to the house.
Since then I have tried to follow those methods. This will give you the maximum protection against inflation. Good luck to all of you.00 per night. This means that gas essentially costs $2. Also.43 rather than $2.000. This is why I urge you to put your long-term savings in mutual funds.00 and as much as $50. and start managing your money today! P. Today Motel 6 rooms are at least $30. 28 . 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. S. I can report that I got 22 miles per gallon with my Cadillac. Dan). at that time Motel 6 started business.$38. and all of their rooms were $6.000 today. the best I have gotten since I bought it new in 1993.85.00. Two weeks ago I sent you an article about how to get better mileage driving your car.
but. And I sold her and took my fee. the Mother of God. Where you and all may see. – Robert Service 29 . She laughed at my picture and went away. I painted a babe at her breast. Then came.NOVEMBER / CHARACTER COMPASSION My Madonna I hailed me a woman from the street. A connoisseur." So I painted a halo round her hair. I hid all trace of her heart unclean. "'Tis Mary. And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire. with a knowing nod. I painted her as she might have been If the Worst had been the Best. and I heard him say. so fair! I bade her sit in the model’s seat And I painted her sitting there. Shameless. oh.
David Hume once expressed this by saying. by moderating the violence of love of self in each individual. A few months ago the important character attribute was courage. but the Mother of God. “Compassion is a natural feeling. without reflection. 30 . to the relief of those who are in distress. That means that you stand by others in times of danger or stress. more than anything else.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. To do this we must learn to look at others not in judgment. Compassion requires us to stand with others in their distress. observe the almost twin of patience. If we are to have compassion for our fellow humans we must learn to look at them and see what might have been. makes our world a better place in which to live. but as people in need. It is this compassion that hurries us. The Robert Service poem illustrates so well that how we look at others makes a great difference. this month. – Emily Dickinson The citizens of Aiken will. which.” Compassion. The painter painted what he perceived the woman might have been if given a chance. The passerby saw in the painting not a harlot. contributes to the preservation of the whole species. That is compassion.
2. Don’t wait until the brakes squeak or the engine smokes. Shopping at garage sales and thrift stores can save lots of money. Drink more water. You know the old saying. They will last longer and hold their value.” which stands for “Live Below Your Means. Take the time to maintain your possessions. Don’t buy anything until the waiting time is up.” Buy generic brands unless you are convinced there is a difference.” or more succinctly S-A-V-E. I can suggest 6 ways to start doing this: 1. Buy from stores like Costco and Sam’s. It is “LBYM. Keep up the maintenance on your car. Take your lunch to work. Start by looking for places to spend less and save more. It is cheaper and healthier than pop or juice. How much is gas? 4. Then implement a waiting period of a few days for your wish list. Don’t buy on credit! (Exceptions might be housing and automobiles. Don’t be swayed by advertising.) 31 .NOVEMBER / FINANCE DISCIPLINE IN MONEY MATTERS I would like to suggest to you a new term that may be valuable. 3. Don’t treat everything as a consumable. 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. “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Cherish your belongings. but this may mean you have to make fewer trips to the store. and honestly examine your wants versus needs. One way is to not eat out too often (sorry Elaine). Make a wish list for things you want. You will have to buy in larger quantities. it would be smart to start planning for it now.
Wait a while and you can buy a better product for less. Put long-term savings into an index mutual fund. This fund will do better than 90% of all professional money mangers. How can you do better? 32 . Always keep in mind that new ways of satisfying your needs are being developed every day – many at lower cost. Your cable package is often larded with things that you can do without at a considerable saving. such as Vanguard Total Stock Market. If you are able to S-A-V-E. The most expensive time to buy something is when it first hits the market. Look for these things. the next question is: "What do I do with long-term savings?" The answer is very easy. Is yours the right one for you or can you find a cheaper one or one that offers more features you need. but do not feel that you must have the latest thing or toy. Can you bank cheaper? How about your insurance? There are many telephone packages. 6.5. Check your budget often for places you can potentially cut back.
the Lord will forgive whom I will Forgive. it was largely because I was able to put myself in the other person’s shoes. When we think about that quotation we may feel that asking us to forgive everything seems all but impossible. I felt would never allow me to forgive someone. When I was finally able to forgive. although there is evidence that most of these traits have a basis in the teachings of faith.S. I think our challenge should be to make this period of time shorter. a basic book from the L. Yet we know that time has a tendency to reduce the pain we feel. 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. and thus save ourselves the resentment that builds up in our feelings and makes us a little less than we should be. church. If we feel that we may be able to forgive after a time. It is: I. then perhaps we should forgive sooner. but totally different to the other person involved. Most actions look one way to one person. at the time when they happened. many things that seem unforgivable to us when they happen seem not so very important to us after some period of time.DECEMBER / CHARACTER FORGIVENESS I have been careful to keep all of the suggestions for the character traits out of the area of religion.D. but of you it is required to forgive all men. I know that there are many things that. Often a third 33 . Strangely.
I once heard someone say. “What would I want them to say?” Now once again ask yourself. we will live a better and happier life. As you proceed you see two people talking to each other. Then ask yourself.” If we can follow this advice. 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. “We should write the faults of our brothers in the sand. a life that is more in keeping with what we should be. In conclusion. “Do I live my life so that I deserve to have them say the things I want to hear? 34 . As you approach you realize they are talking about you. 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.
Bud told me that we as a nation now do not save any money. We have been fortunate to have never had any real financial problems. on the average people are not saving anything. I think Bud may be the nation’s best authority on saving for retirement. In other words. During this last week we have had Bud and Mirriam Hebeler here as visitors. To a certain extent. I have been able to stay on a budget because I always limited my access to money by living on an expense account. One reason we have been able to maintain financial security is that Elaine has a built in ability to stay within a budget. In fact if she were to use a budget it would probably require her to spend more money than she does now. I know that using a budget is something that will make your life better. even if it is somewhat informal. 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. This is terrible news for 35 . 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. it is a fact that people who have trouble living within their income will succeed better by using a budget. As all of you know from what I have told you for years staying within your income means also a very solid savings program. In spite of this. This means that the Social Security Administration will not be able to provide as much as you might expect.DECEMBER / FINANCE USE A BUDGET This month’s financial advice will be a little difficult for me to give you.
our country since it also means that funds for expansion of industry will not be as available as in the past. Things have changed. 36 . we must plan to expect less from our defined pensions and Social Security. and although this is tougher. 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. The trade-off is that you as an individual must take more responsibility for your future and especially your retirement. Living on a budget could be an important first step in doing this. there are many ways in which things are easier for you. Thus. Your best defense is a strong savings program and a good IRA account. but it is important to face the future with as much knowledge as is possible. I don’t want to seem to be a prophet of doom to you.
in spite of what others think or what the consequences bring. loyalty to yourself. I feel that if we have changed just a little. 37 . since most adults change very little or not at all. For myself and for you. we might have personally improved ourselves in the following areas: June. we will be three-fourths of the way through the year. I think it might be a time to review and ask ourselves if we have progressed.INTERLUDE Dear Children and grandchildren. Personally. it is great progress. your family. In review. the beginning of this series of letters emphasized Loyalty. This should probably have been selected for the month in which we vote. and if we have become better people. In August the trait selected was Citizenship. your employer and the world in which you live. if you choose. This is a cover letter for this month’s suggestion for improving yourself by thinking about the attributes selected by the citizens of Aiken. but maybe August was better because it could remind us that being a good citizen is a twelve-month-a year responsibility. This might be a time to reflect upon our truthfulness to ourselves and to others. September was the month when Truthfulness was emphasized. July was the month in which Courage was emphasized. Probably our best chance to show courage is in doing what we know is right. This will be the eighth of twelve character traits and with this letter.
Oh well. They choose the Coachella Rescue Mission. Dad / Grandpa 38 . Now we go on to January. Perhaps the most difficult for me. How about you? December brought a trait that was certainly timely. I thought I had really improved until last night when our golf group decided to make a contribution to a charity. but maybe the trait in which I think I have been most successful in improving. Forgiveness is part of the Christmas season. which will be Sincerity. We certainly should find time to have forgiven someone at this time of the year. I made the comment that it was not a choice I would have made. but we also should remember that this too is a twelve-month-a-year responsibility. A discussion with our friends that followed showed that I was not compassionate toward those people. it shows that I still need to improve. Compassion was the watchword for November.October brought Patience. I trust you also have made progress. since it is mostly for people involved in drugs and alcohol. I am sure you will find in this another area in which you can improve.
Most of you remember Stan Olson. you had no doubt he meant it with no reservations. you’ve got it made. I know he meant it. pretense. and 39 . Stan had a way of issuing compliments that in my opinion was unsurpassed. However. “She is the best woman God ever put on this earth. By now you know I like to add quotations to illustrate the character traits the citizens of Aiken have selected. George Burns once said: The secret to succeeding in show business is sincerity.JANUARY / CHARACTER SINCERITY It would be interesting to know whether or not the citizens of Aiken have become more sincere. If you can fake that.” Sincere is defined as being without deceit. If they have. All of these things are certainly traits that anyone would like to have. as it illustrates a total lack of sincerity. one of the two best friends I have had through the years. It might help to look at a dictionary definition of “sincere. straightforward and honest in a desire to help. then certainly Aiken has become an even better place in which to live. When he talked about his wife he would say without reservation. or hypocrisy. This is not a quotation that we should seek to emulate. or being truthful. if we recognize false sincerity it will help us to cultivate true sincerity in our daily lives. In spite of that I know he said those things in complete sincerity. He often said to me that I was the best salesman Brunswick had ever had.” When you heard him. although he had thought the same thing about previous salesmen and would again.
would like to have others show in their actions. because it was true. is to avoid being insincere. We should avoid being insincere even more strongly than we strive to be sincere. Doing so will certainly improve life for both you and whomever you come in contact with. When we give compliments. it must be done with complete sincerity. As I type this I realize that the important thing about sincerity is that we develop it not in a selfish manner. but instead I told Elaine this. Somehow I felt that she believed me. but in a manner of giving.even more. I could have dropped it there. Probably just as important. 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. Never pass up a chance to give a compliment to someone when you can do it with sincerity. and maybe even more so. Today I went to the Christmas program put on by the Palm Desert Singers. 40 . She should have.
I always wondered how she learned so much about the publishing industry in a small backwater location (sorry Holly. I also know most of what he has learned has been learned the hard way. I am constantly amazed by how much Dan knows about the operation of the Tesoro Refinery. from what I know. not at a specialized school. but this is true) like Port Townsend. There was a time he probably knew more about this than his coworkers. I doubt any of them could compete with Dan in overall knowledge of operation. Holly has never lost her desire to learn. He often has to go to sites that someone else should handle. – Harry S. Today there is nothing she 41 . but because he has learned more about the operation of the equipment than anyone else in his company. Rich started by knowing how electronic equipment was made and what the theory of electronics entailed.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. Chris struggled with school and did not find it as easy to learn as her siblings. Then he learned even more and was able to advance. he is needed. Now he is the most knowledgeable person in his company here in America. Although there are many highly trained engineers at the refinery. Truman I would think we have several examples of this in our family. yet she never stopped trying.
We should do all we can to make education easier for children and grandchildren. she is doing it the hard way. we should all encourage them to get all the education they possibly can. and as they do. the younger grandchildren are still undergoing their basic education. I am also aware of the progress being made by all of the grandchildren. going to school again. Lori certainly knows the value of continuing education. 42 . even after they know it all. 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. finds time to pursue her desire to become a nurse. Of course. Alicia. while doing very well at The Archer and making a good deal of money. Each should recognize that every new thing we learn opens new opportunities for further learning. expanding from framing to siding and roofing. Mac is making progress with his business. 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.cannot accomplish. And never stop urging them to continue learning.
That is. 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. This is not common today. It does not mean there is a lack of respect. 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. that is. Most older people feel that the younger generation does not have the respect they had when they were young. It seems that I was taught respect for others more so than most young people are today. That is also true today. I think my parents felt that the younger generation (mine. or Mrs. 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. However. When we have that self-respect we can then turn to a larger task. I am probably wrong. respecting others. Being more careful in our treatment of the environment can also be considered a 43 . 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) did not. we must learn to respect ourselves. 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.
Perhaps the most difficult group to remember is those who in some way seem beneath us. people who serve us in stores and restaurants. such as employees. A list might include law enforcement. I think this is something that we often overlook. public employees. Maybe I still don’t do it as well as I should. pedestrians. We will be better people if we are able to observe this character trait.sign of respect. children and grandchildren!). To whom should we show respect? Really the list is endless. We should also show respect to our children and other young people. someone doing us a service. or those who are destitute and on the street. military. We might start by respecting our parents and elders (get that. 44 . Every person on earth deserves some measure of respect. and all with whom we come in contact. 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. not only of the environment but of the others who live on this earth and of the future generations. From there we could make a long list of people to whom we should show respect.
What I mean is that you should learn to make repairs by yourself. 45 . As far as I know. Having a home means many things to people. you should think of what you can do to enhance this valuable asset. Never refinance your home to get money to use for a purpose other than home ownership. then call someone who can show you how to make these repairs. It means such things as security against old age. Calling a plumber or an electrician can be very expensive. If you don’t know how. I know that a person of average intelligence can make over 90 percent of home repairs. From the first day you start into home ownership. each of you are doing that. Perhaps you noticed that I used the term “continually.FEBRUARY / FINANCE CONTINUALLY WORKING TOWARD HOME OWNERSHIP For most people.” By this I mean that just owning a home is not enough. the most valuable thing they will ever own is a home. 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. Strange as it may seem to each of you. a refuge from the trials of the world – it provides a hedge against inflation and gives us the pride of ownership. a safe place for a family. this is something which is not common any place else in the world. At this point I would like to offer some advice. Another thing that is very important is that you should learn to take care of your home. When you first own a home it is only the beginning.
Years ago a twenty-year mortgage was rare. Unfortunately. it can take only a few minutes. If you wait too long before getting a leaking toilet fixed. If you leave it. as soon as you get the house clean. you will pay only about forty percent as much interest. 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 will be a blessing for you and your family. The savings in interest will be substantial. If you are able to pay off a mortgage in fifteen rather than thirty years. the leak will eventually cut a groove in the valve seat. 46 . it will often mean replacing the flooring around the fixture. it begins to get dirty again and attract insects and vermin. When you finance a home you should try to pay off the loan as soon as possible. Now a thirty-year mortgage is almost standard and we are beginning to see forty-year paper. If your mortgage is thirty years try making an extra payment at least once per year. Thus the word “continually” is again a key to good home ownership. I hope each of you can reach this goal. meaning you have a difficult job resurfacing the valve or replacing the entire faucet. Keeping the house clean and orderly will keep insects from multiplying and eventually damaging the house and your possessions.A few examples would include putting a new gasket in a faucet. If this is done as soon as a leak is noticed. A leaking toilet is usually a minor problem.
there is Susan I must go talk to her. Practice self-defense. 4. may prove to be our undoing. You will not change them. When you know someone might 47 . Everyone has some talent or skill. don’t see them. Everyone responds to that kind of attention. If people don’t appreciate gifts from you. Some people will purposely try to push your buttons looking for a response. even a good thing. Following are six suggestions for getting along with anyone: 1. but rather reminds us to avoid excess.” 3. Expect the expected! If you are going to see someone who annoys you or who is not always agreeable. Or one of the best responses is to remove yourself from the scene. Compliment them and ask for information. don’t expect them to change. Look for hidden gifts. I don’t think anything is more embarrassing than losing our temper. realizing that what happened did not justify our lack of self-control. then choose a gift certificate. If you cannot accept them as they are. We should know that too much of anything. We need to recognize when enough is enough. you will be upset and disappointed.MARCH / CHARACTER SELF-CONTROL The ancient Greeks had a famous saying: “Nothing overmuch. If you do. Surprise them by not reacting as they expect. Don’t react. 2. Almost every time we will look back and regret our actions. Try “Oh. as this old tale shows. I think one of the most important ways to maintain self-control is to get along with people.” The maxim calls not for total abstinence.
If someone asks a question that is none of his or her business. then make sure that your time with him or her is limited.” 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. 48 .not appreciate a food or some attention. choose something that will not trigger a response. If you know that someone’s actions will annoy you. 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. Silence your critics. “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 ---------. both friends and family. be prepared with a response. Know your limits. 6. If you can only stand them for five minutes. 5. then plan to excuse yourself after that time.
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. but it is still at least 3% per year. Unfortunately. you will find that it will buy only about half of what it would when you put it away. then decided to sell it. You will be paid only about 2% on the money.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. It may seem so. My mother moved to Seattle to be near me for a few years. She rented it for a year. This month is different. you will note that experts say that inflation is low. the money from the house sale would only buy a small condo. which was worth only about 35% of what her house had been worth. That means that if you save $100 for ten years then try to spend it. Actually. and will loose 3% through inflation. I strongly feel that inflation is the greatest enemy of security and retirement. I might use an example to show you how devastating inflation can be. while she was in Seattle. She knew she could no longer take care of her home in Salt Lake City. the country underwent a period of very high inflation (as much as 16% per year). In addition to that. 49 . If you read the paper. It was beautiful home overlooking the entire Salt Lake Valley. When she returned to buy a condo. money in the bank is a loosing proposition. you will have to pay income tax on the 2% you did earn.
Another example I can give is what Bud Hebeler told me about his retirement pension. the purchasing power of his pension declined by over 50%. 50 . and oil companies. During the first ten years of his retirement. how do you protect yourself from inflation? One of the best ways is to own your home. Most of the time homes increase in value at least as much as inflation. I know you will see many suggestions that you keep some money in cash or some other form that is easily accessible. however. 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. I know that most of you are not now thinking of retirement. rental property is not the best investment for most people. If you keep your home up-to-date and keep the majority of your money invested. the ones that are considered value funds have a degree of protection. you better increase it by at least 15%. Boeing. 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. it will be the best protection against inflation that I can suggest. I have suggested before that unless you spend some time studying the stocks you would be better investing in mutual funds. This is a good idea.So. Companies that meet these criteria are McDonald’s. The only other suggestion I can make to you is that you own stock in companies that grow with the economy. In mutual funds. but when you look at how much you need for retirement. Rental property is also very good protection against inflation.
51 . When we increase our responsibility. As the battle started. we increase our maturity. we are helping them along the road to maturity. the King was left alone on the battlefield. For the want of a shoe. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. To be responsible is to be answerable or accountable.APRIL / CHARACTER RESPONSIBILITY To respond is to answer. 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. In King Richard III Shakespeare tells about King Richard preparing for a battle. The horse fell. When we help our children become responsible. a kingdom was lost. King Richard spurred his horse forward but a shoe came off. To be irresponsible is immature. 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. For the want of a horse. For the want of a battle. a horse was lost. a battle was lost. a shoe was lost.
For me. Our family life will improve because our family can depend upon us to do what needs to be done. It might help in becoming responsible if we think about the benefits we still derive from becoming responsible people. This was dangerous. We will not have to make excuses. 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. South Carolina. 52 . I know I was often irresponsible in not doing my best in schoolwork. are being urged to improve their sense of responsibility. 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. Some things I can think of are: 1. 2. and later realized how much better we would have been if we had been a little more responsible. Fortunately for me. I feel that I would like to visit there.I think each of us remember some time when we failed to take some little action. sometime along my growing up I was able to improve on my lack of a good character trait. We will become more valuable to our employers or customers. It might be best if I do not because I would be disappointed if I found that this campaign has not been a success. The citizens of Aiken. but almost on the border of Georgia. I wonder how many of you have been curious about where Aiken is located. If any of you are interested. 3. I just hope we as members of a family have profited by thinking of character traits that will make us better people. As I have written about the city this past year. it is in the middle of the state from the North to South. a failure of responsibility.
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 might be right – but if you eliminate that one vulnerability. Volcanoes are mostly predictable in the areas where they exist. You might give some thought to what foods are good for storage. yet the greatest earthquake in our nation’s history occurred in New Madrid. Beans and dried peas are some of the best foods to store. Dried foods are good but must be protected from moisture. Canned goods are particularly good for keeping. There is no record of any earthquake before or since. Wherever you may live. Be assured that no place on earth is immune from such an occurrence. you will most likely find that your area is susceptible to several others. since they provide great nutrition at a 53 .APRIL / FINANCE FOOD STORAGE It seems that the things I want to suggest to you often have some relation to church. If we have learned nothing from the hurricane Katrina it is that unforeseen emergencies do happen. Missouri. and if you think you are immune to that one disaster. As you know. 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 maybe a month to six weeks. you might think something like that could not happen there. Frozen foods are not good since most emergencies will mean a loss of electric power. Some areas of the country think they are not in danger of earthquakes. The Midwest is such a place.
Perhaps you could use the food that is a little old and have a party with friends. Think what a blessing it might be if you are the only one in your family that has food when an emergency occurs. 54 . It might save the life of a child – your child or grandchild. telling them it is your way of using food that is kept for an emergency. hard candy is a good storage item since it stores well and provides great energy though not good nutrition. 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. You might influence them to start a food storage program of their own. 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. You might also consider keeping the food until it is close to the expiration date and then give it to a food bank. Curiously.very low price. making sure you immediately replace it. Buy a few cans of beef stew and each time you use one or two buy two more and rotate your stock.
vigilant. I don’t know just when I realized that the sun was dangerous. Most often our lack of attentiveness is our failure to be observant. As with many of the character traits chosen for emphasis by the citizens of Aiken. watchful. a new hairdo. paying attention to our community and country. I know attentiveness is a weakness of mine. or some new item of decoration around the house.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. I do know that I was not careful enough for too long. 55 . observant. Attentiveness certainly applies to many more situations than that. but one thing that would help is if we make sure to take some action when we do notice something new. I try to tell her that if she will give me a little more time I will notice. but also with daily life as well. I think we often do not pay attention to our health. or paying attention to personal relationships in our daily life. For example. we might first think of this in relation to our spouses or other members of our family. and perceptive are a few words that are elements of attentiveness. It is especially called to my attention when Elaine has some new item of clothing. I often think of the things to which we do not pay enough attention. I can’t tell you how to become more attentive. not only with Elaine. you all know I just had surgery for squamous cell cancer on my lip. We could talk about paying attention to our work. I am probably one of the most unobservant people I know. She is very good at calling my attention to my failure to notice these things.
I feel that you and others your age face that kind of difficulty in your near future. your weight. and most important of all. I wish I could have enough money to provide for each of you. sugar intake. 56 . but more often they actually oppose each other. To some extent this is correct. but if you accept this. then occasionally look at that list and ask yourself if these items are getting proper attention. It means choosing correctly the first three horses in a race. I have heard it said that people cannot save money until their children are gone. Preparing to finance education for your children and grandchildren. but there are just too many of you. blood pressure. it is a recipe for difficult budgeting and perhaps a very sparse old age. I suggest that you sit down and write down a list of things that you are apt to overlook. The three important decisions you must make correctly are: 1. so you must do it for yourself. For some reason. 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. it almost breaks my heart to see a woman well into her 60s waiting tables in a restaurant. Setting aside enough money to insure a secure retirement. Most illnesses give warning symptoms. 3. which is now consuming almost 20% of the average person’s income.Do pay attention to things like sunlight. Often they come during difficult times of your life. It would be nice if these items would work together. pay attention to them! THE TRIFECTA Most of you probably know that a trifecta is a racing term. 2. Preparing for the expense of health care.
True it lacks that promised payout at the end. but you will be much better off finan- 57 . Often your employer will help provide your health insurance. and probably some type of prescription coverage. If you don’t have this. At 65 Medicare will kick in. Being under-insured can cost you dearly. On the other hand. There are kinds of insurance you will likely need all of your life. Some of these are medical. Most of the time this is not the best choice. but then it too late. your health insurance can be very expensive. It is just as easy to become under-insured. and auto insurance. as well as either a health maintenance organization or a Medigap health policy. People who are hit by big liability lawsuits or personal injury items are often left destitute. Anyone with a young family should have some life insurance. Even at that time it will be important for you to sign up for Part B. especially as you get older.MAY / FINANCE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME INSURANCE It is very easy to become over-insured. some who are over-insured find that too much money has gone to insurance leaving not enough for a comfortable retirement. Somehow each of you needs to reach some kind of compromise. homeowners. You will not have to pay so much to get adequate insurance. If you buy from a life agent he will try to steer you to a type that includes some type of savings program. which will help at a time when your health costs are increasing. People whose house is flooded or damaged by another disaster can testify to that. Term insurance is the best type for you at this time of life because you will get more insurance for less money.
If you still feel the need. First.” At this time in your life. Just be careful in buying LTC. Yes.cially if you just buy the term insurance and put the extra into savings that go into a mutual fund. someone who will have very little in retirement so that their costs will be covered by Medicaid. After your children are grown and on their own you probably will not need any life insurance. but this is apt to be after you are no longer alive. Private care often cost $70. you will eventually not own the house.000 per year. which means you are selling your house on time payments. so as you can see you have to have a considerable amount to cover this. A reverse mortgage is used to provide monthly cash. since most often the kids are better off than the parents. most people resist this in a desire to leave “something for the kids. There are two types of people who do not need this. this field is filled with charlatans who are not willing or not able to properly explain what you are buying. make it just enough to carry the family through funeral and recovery. As soon as she went to a home the policy ended.) One source of money for a late-life health problem is your home. (A friend of mine bought such a policy. then invest it in something like a mutual fund. Second are those who have enough wealth that they can afford the very high costs of private care. My suggestion is that you consider this. 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. this should not be a consideration. Unfortunately. Most life insurance policies take your money. which can often be used to provide long term care. and then when his wife developed Alzheimer’s. he found that it only applied while he could care for her at home. He was not aware of this clause. When the investment makes money the life insurance company keeps part of it and gives the rest to you. 58 .
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. but now I am through.EPILOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. The twelve traits are: Jan. RESPONSIBILITY May ATTENTIVENESS June LOYALITY July COURAGE 59 . because I knew that the first of each month was a deadline. RESPECT Mar. SELF-CONTROL Apr. I surely realized it. I hope each of us has gained something by concentrating on these twelve traits of character chosen by the citizens of Aiken. I am going to conclude by reviewing the letters I have sent you through the last year. Writing letters and finding something to say was not easy for me.
I know that writing these letters for the past year has had more effect on me than reading them has had on you. This is the first and greatest commandment. I would like to tell you what I think.Aug. and with all thy mind. and with all thy soul. for me. I just hope and trust they have also changed 60 . “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. “Forgiveness. which always had to do with becoming a better person. the second is like unto it. 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. COMPASSION Dec. I know I always learned more than my students. Just as that is true. each of us we would find that different traits would be the most important depending on the stage of our life and development. I found this especially true whenever I was called upon to teach a church class. CITIZENSHIP Sept. He answered. I just hope there have been a few times you have thought of ways in which you could improve yourself. is that in preparing to teach you always learn much more than the students to whom you give the lesson. is the greatest of the Character Traits we have reviewed. “Compassion. The most important to me was November. especially if you are called upon to teach something with which you are not familiar. Love thy neighbor as thyself. FORGIVENESS One thing you learn if you have ever been a teacher.” In thinking of this. I am reminded of the time when Christ was asked which of the Ten Commandments was the greatest.” To me these two traits often go hand in hand.” and as Christ said. And the second is like unto it. I know that it is often impossible for someone to say which trait is the most important. PATIENCE Nov. TRUTHFULNESS Oct. I also think that if we were to review in later years what we choose as the most important.
Sept. When I decided to include a financial item with each letter.B. Discipline in money matters.Y. I had to draw upon my own experience. Become financially informed. Apr. Feb. Jun. Make education a continuing process. May Make sure you have some insurance. we are to be congratulated. Cope with inflation. don't let it manage you. When I chose to write of the character traits. Manage your money. Live beneath your means. Nov. They have been: Jan. Good spending choices. Maybe there are one or two that have touched you and changed you for the better. Meet financial obligations. Importance of work. L. Mar.M. since most people change very little after becoming adults. I hope these twelve subjects contained something that was of 61 . Strive for home ownership. Use a budget. Food storage. If any of us have changed or improved even a little.me for the better. Oct. Dec. it was easy because someone else had prepared the list of traits. Jul. The second part of these letters has dealt with financial matters that I thought would be of value to us. Aug.
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. It was of an elderly Indian woman obviously malnourished and near death. and trust that I am being faithful to the suggestions I have made to you. I would like to suggest that you choose two of the financial items which have the greatest value to you. Don’t you run out of money. I send this letter to you with my love and affection.value to you. For me.” I guess I live in constant fear that one of my children or grandchildren might “run out of money. I feel this is the time of the greatest concern. If even one of you has been able to make some change in your life or spending habits.” I really feel that if each of us pays heed to the above items. Some of this might have related back to a picture that Liam had hung in the bathroom of their house in Somerville. Maybe some of you have seen it. Then sell it when everyone else thinks it is the hottest item they have ever seen. the first I would emphasize is “Discipline in money matters. then I feel that I have not wasted my time. Just as I chose to emphasize two of the character traits. The telling words beneath the picture said “She just ran out of money. 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.” I feel the term “Live Beneath Your Means” is perhaps the best advice I could possibly give to you. Just now as it looks so good that we have nothing to worry about. we will greatly lessen the danger of ‘running out of money. I do know that I often think of things that I have advised you to do. And the second is one that helps to achieve that.” 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 hope these letters have been of some value to you. Dad / Grandpa 62 .” 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. it is “Use a Budget.