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A Father’s Advice for a Better Life
D E E V. S W E N S O N
This book was developed out of a series of letters Dee Swenson wrote to his children and grandchildren in 2005 and 2006. The book has been edited and produced by Tree Swenson. Swenson All rights reserved. NY 10011 . No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission.Copyright © 2006 by Dee V. Filia Press 100 West 12th Street / New York.
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 .
the community people felt they had succeeded. A movement to improve the community was started. companies. they had a committee evaluate all the traits and condense them into twelve attributes they felt would make their community a better place in which to live. 7 . The people of Aiken decided to stress one of these traits each month for a year. After collecting many suggestions. the citizens were advised of what the goal would be for that month. as it focused on different aspects of our American life and went into detail about some communities. They are now into their second year and feel that this effort has had a positive effect on their citizens. It was a book about our nation and the people we are.PROLOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. they would continue for another 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. and features of our life. One of you gave me a book for Christmas. such as. The newspapers publicized it. I cannot give proper credit for the gift. “ Make Aiken an honest place to live. but you did not do what I always request and write an inscription at the front of the book – therefore. and one aspect of this movement was to choose several character traits. One item that really caught my interest was a section on Aiken. and even the water bills had a note. South Carolina. I found it very interesting. which if adopted by the citizens would make Aiken a better place to live. So each month.” If at the end of the year.
Of course. Love. and keep in mind each month the goal of improving ourselves. Dad / Grandpa 8 . If we all pay attention to the traits.I was very impressed with this program and thought that it would be a very valuable thing for everyone. 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. I am sure it will make all of us better people even though this is a family affair and not a community effort. 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 will send you these letters each month unless you decide you do not want to receive them.
First. Once we have achieved loyalty to ourselves. The U. 9 . Army has a great motto: “Be all that you can be. we have all developed an idea of who we are and what we want to be.” If we can all depend upon the loyalty of other members of our families. S. husbands.JUNE / CHARACTER LOYALTY The attribute the citizens of Aiken chose to emphasize for the month of June is loyalty.” I am reminded of a quotation by Richard L. and once we form them. Each of us will have to find our own ways in which to be loyal. It might be by speaking positively about a person or about the whole group. as in being loyal to your country. I think that loyalty should start much closer to home. when he said “One of the great discoveries in life is finding a dependable person. we will have a most firm foundation. It might be by attending meetings and voting. Most of the time when we think of loyalty we think of it as a patriotic term. we should look at being loyal to our spouses and family. we should be loyal to ourselves. we should be loyal to our goals and try to live up to being what we think we should be. We should support our wives. Each of us might go to precinct meetings which select delegates to national and state conventions. Evans. We can help each other by showing that kind of loyalty. and other members of our family in trying to become the very best each of them can be. As we have grown. We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish. It might involve providing financial help or emotional support. While this is very important and something we should all strive to achieve.
Each day we should think of how we can be loyal to our school.I think that when we learn to be loyal to our family. our clubs and associations. This month we should choose not to criticize or complain unjustly. to do it in a constructive manner. and if we must do so. our fellow workers. 10 . our work. and certainly to our state and nation. we have taken the greatest step we can toward becoming loyal to all of the other groups to which we belong.
Each member of a family should look at work as their contribution to the family’s welfare. but I get a sense of satisfaction after the work is done. No matter how meaningless a task seems. It was all fun. 11 . and that includes using a shovel as a plumber’s helper. 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. For many years I did not do much to help Elaine with housework. Work is utterly basic to our financial well being. 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. It sometimes seems that there is nothing that is more useless than housework: “It just gets dirty again. To be truly successful at work we must like what we do. I am very much like that: I cannot remember ever having a job that I did not like.” These days I often help with housework and I find great satisfaction in dusting and other cleaning. This does not mean that there won’t be some days that we will dislike having to go to work.JUNE / FINANCE THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK Thomas Edison once said.” I think anyone who feels that way about work is a very fortunate person. we can find a way to understand how important it is and how it contributes to the family and our own well-being. and there is a way to make any job pleasurable. 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. “I never did a day’s work in my life.
12 . Once we have earned that income.Of course we mostly look at work as a source of income. No matter how young you are. I am enclosing a copy of an article that will give you one suggestion for how to spend some of it. The article points out the importance of building a nest egg. you are not too young to begin investing in your future. we can start to think about how to spend it.
and our government. 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. There are. company. and that you see progress in becoming what you think you should be. look at them for courage. there is no personal daring of 13 . I also hope that you see in yourself progress in becoming more loyal to your family. 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. organizations. Each day they are encouraged to take some action – often they are urged to take drugs. “When moral courage feels that it is in the right. To those of you who have children. or have sex – that for them is wrong. Leigh Hunt (an 1800s poet and essayist) wrote. to drink.JULY / CHARACTER COURAGE Aiken’s character calendar for July is courage. This temptation is easier to resist as we get older – or maybe we are just not tempted as much. and resisting the pressure despite the condemnation or the derision of their friends is most difficult. I think those of us who are older should help those who are younger to have the strength to resist temptation. By this time you have had a month to think about your loyalty. many times each day we must exercise courage. I hope you have become more loyal to yourself. regardless of the consequences. I think the best definition of courage is doing what is right each day. This month I ask you to look at your courage. however. Please join the citizens of Aiken this month by having more courage.
it is something we must develop.” I hope each of us will always feel we are in the right.” 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. “What a new face courage puts on everything. I hope each of you will think about courage during the coming month.which it is incapable. We develop it by doing what is right each day and finding that we are more satisfied with ourselves. 14 . Courage is not a gift to us. and will do what is right regardless of what others do or urge us to do. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said. just as the people of Aiken are reminded to do during the month of July.
but I later realized that what he said was true. I am not sure I can tell you how to make good spending decisions.” At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. Bill asked me what about retirement was different than I had expected. If I am able to tell you how to make good spending decisions I would first suggest that you never buy anything impulsively. Even worse is committing ourselves to payments over a long period of time for something we should not have bought. but from being frugal in the way it was spent. Truly. “Good judgment comes from experience.” Most of you have heard me tell of the time when I was having lunch with Bud Hebeler and a friend of his. Bill Schultice. Always 15 . if we seem affluent to you. for which we paid too much. You might have heard the quotation. then much of the credit goes to Elaine. but by spending it. After thinking. then Dee should be very affluent because Elaine is very frugal. Bill’s response was that in his experience affluence came not from making a lot of money. All of us can look back at some purchase we have made and later realized that it was very unwise. I said that I was more affluent than I had thought I would be. When you make good spending decisions it is just like putting money in your pocket. and she also rides herd on me.JULY / FINANCE SPENDING One of my customers once told me. because she is careful about every expenditure she makes.” Elaine said she was mad at him but I don’t really think she was. “Oh. and much of that comes from bad judgment. Bud interjected. or for which we are being charged too much interest. who writes a financial column. “People get money not by making it.
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.take time. Most of you know how much pop I drink. A drink with lunch or dinner can add as much as 30% to the cost of the meal. a cup of coffee or a Coke five days each week can cost $2880 over a ten-year period. Often. For example. the automobile has greatly benefited mankind. Just be aware of what the cost is over a period of time. so don’t think I am suggesting that you forgo these small pleasures.000. if we include interest on the money if it were instead saved and invested. A latte could cost perhaps as much as $10. However. new things that benefit people come with a cost. My advice to you is: “Spend Your Way Into Affluence. Credit cards are the major cause of the many bankruptcies filed each year. but they also certainly make it very easy to get into debt over our heads. but the cost includes thousands of people killed each year in auto accidents. A comparison can be made with credit cards and bankcards: they surely make our lives easier. to think about any purchase that is more than you have in your pocket or more than you have in your checking account. For example. we are often spending far more than we think on everyday purchases. Always take time to compare what else is available and at what price.” 16 . at least overnight. and especially with your spouse.
It would not be possible to list all the things that you can do to be a good citizen. Patrick Henry. We should feel that paying taxes for that privilege is well worth the cost and the sacrifice. but I do hope that each of you had some opportunity to use personal courage to accomplish something special during the last month.” From this we should understand that if each of us does not perform the duties of citizenship. 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. No government can give us freedom or anything else without the participation of the citizens who live in that country. “The arm of the law is only as long as the alertness of its citizens.AUGUST / CHARACTER CITIZENSHIP I hope none of you had to dash into a burning building to rescue anyone lately. we are in danger of loosing our freedom and security. I don’t mean we should not complain or be concerned about how that tax money is spent. Evans once said. Our founding fathers. The character trait emphasized for the month of August is citizenship. but that we should feel good that our taxation rate is among the lowest in the world. and Thomas Jefferson. such as John Adams. 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. I know you have all heard me complain about taxes – that is 17 . Richard L. We live in the greatest nation the world has ever experienced.
In Aiken. Other examples would be to attend local government meetings. South Carolina.one of those privileges we have as citizens – but we owe it to our country to pay an honest tax. Most of you know how I agonized over paying taxes on the capital gains from the sale of the Chelan condo. and I did not want to break the law. the citizens are just given the trait and it is left to each individual to decide how to put that trait into practice. That should be your approach as well. Each of you can think of many things you can do to be a better citizen. Your congressional and state representatives get relatively little mail. all of the ideas I am sending you about these character traits are my own. Make your feelings known! By the way. except for two things: that tax was something I owed. be active in programs such as parent teacher associations. and zoning meetings. I almost felt that I could avoid paying the tax. and therefore. In the end. Often we need to do what is right even if it hurts. any letter we write to them gets far more attention than you might think. Don’t let me set your goals! 18 . One example might be to write letters to your representatives about matters that are important to you.
no single person. 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 . 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. Just as today. whatever their wealth. The building of the railroad was such a massive endeavor. as a new business is started. could afford to build an airline company or to start any major worldwide company. partners become necessary. and thus the corporation is born. the stock market really came about with the industrialization of this country. All of you know I have been involved in the stock market for most of my life. 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. As a bit of history. yet.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. Many people go through life never understanding what is involved in financial matters.
and if it provides you shelter at a reasonable cost. Uncommon Profits. It is a liability because you will pay taxes. Those who will have to survive on Social Security spend all of their money buying liabilities. by Andrew Tobias. An old one that is still very good is Common Stocks. Assets bring you money. Following the old advice to “Pay yourself first” will contribute to your financial well-being. These two terms will determine your future. or The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need. 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. What is the difference? Simply that liabilities continue to cost you money. However. Certainly a retirement program is an asset. Become financially knowledgeable! 20 . interest. with the possible exception of a house. but each month we should try to spend a little money on an asset. such as Kiplinger’s or Money. and improvements as long as you own it. Every purchase you make will fall into one of these two categories. Both are readily available. We must buy many liabilities in order to survive. you are on your way to a financially secure future. by Phillip Fisher. If you want to become financially informed about the above terms. or use the library. Or better still. it is so only if it increases in value. you can find some very valuable books. upkeep.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. Even though you think of a house as an asset. you will have to read. 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. I would suggest any one of several magazines. 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.
she thought of going Very quietly away. Of her being there that day But Rebecca recollected She was taught deceit to shun. Who commended her behavior. Rebecca Mason. Not a single person knowing. Quite alarmed. – Elizabeth Turner 21 . Broke a handsome china basin Placed upon the mantel shelf. In the parlor by herself. Loved her better. R EBECCA ’ S A FTERTHOUGHT Yesterday. And the moment she reflected.SEP TEMBER / CHARACTER TRUTHFULNESS This month I suggest you join the citizens of Aiken in striving to be more Truthful. Told her mother what was done. and forgave her.
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.
There are times. I have said several times. I trust you have found the same to be true in your life. and honestly. He was rude with her and we were all embarrassed at his outbreak. I honestly thought this family would not have much trouble with that character trait. That was easy. and I responded to her in a nice manner. I think some people manage to have patience naturally.” Others of us do not have this trait naturally. and life will also be more pleasant for those around us. The man 25 . Lori Jane (who is the world’s best daughter-in-law). I feel that it did not take much effort to be truthful during my day-today activities. I hope we can join the citizens of Aiken in developing our sense of patience. but must develop it. When I considered truthfulness. 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. but these times are much less frequent and they pass much more quickly than in the past. and it is not too difficult. A few minutes later something else came up. I know our lives will be much more pleasant when we control our emotions.OCTOBER / CHARACTER PATIENCE I thought quite a bit last month about being truthful. October’s character trait might be much more difficult. I think she is naturally gifted with patience. I think of my daughter-in-law. The first week of September I was with a group in Canada playing golf. still. I truly believe that patience must be developed. While at dinner one of the men who was with us was upset that a waitress was not prompt in service. “I have never seen her angry. when I am impatient.
It seems that Shakespeare had a quotation that fit any situation.complimented me on the way I handled the situation and later apologized to the waitress. Had I not developed a better sense of patience. gave advice that I feel is invaluable: Be patient in little things. In this case William Plumer. and then. In this case it is: How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degree. I might have been the one who felt an apology was necessary. your strength will not forsake you. when unforeseen trouble or calamity comes. founder of the New Hampshire Historical Society. Learn to meet the everyday trials and annoyances of life quietly and calmly. It seems that I can always find a quotation that says what I want to say better than I can say it myself. 26 .
a vacation. Then you must also make provision for the really long term. a home.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. but as I read them I couldn’t find any of them that were more important than the others. such as a new car. When I tell you to “mange your money. or for some longer-term usage. or an addition to the house. because a portion of each dollar we receive should be set aside. 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. I intended to emphasize what I thought were the key points in the enclosed article.26 to buy what $1. If you think that is an exaggeration then think about this. such as a new roof. Maybe the most sobering fact is that the estimate is that 40 years from now it will take $3. I am sure as we look at it we will feel that if we are over 25 we have missed the boat. 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. I did not say spending our money. just a little later than someone who started earlier.00 does today. which is a nest egg for your retirement. Of this money we set aside. 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 . We will arrive a little late but at least we will arrive at our destination. some should be for later purchases.
I can report that I got 22 miles per gallon with my Cadillac.000. S. This will give you the maximum protection against inflation.000 today.00 and as much as $50.00 per night. Since then I have tried to follow those methods.00. This means that gas essentially costs $2. That house would sell for over $750. at that time Motel 6 started business. Good luck to all of you. and start managing your money today! P.43 rather than $2. the best I have gotten since I bought it new in 1993.85. Today Motel 6 rooms are at least $30. 28 .$38. and all of their rooms were $6. Paying attention to these little things and driving a little slower has saved me about 15% of my gas (sorry. This is why I urge you to put your long-term savings in mutual funds. Also. Dan). Two weeks ago I sent you an article about how to get better mileage driving your car.
I hid all trace of her heart unclean. She laughed at my picture and went away. the Mother of God. I painted a babe at her breast. with a knowing nod. Then came. but. And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire. – Robert Service 29 ." So I painted a halo round her hair. And I sold her and took my fee.NOVEMBER / CHARACTER COMPASSION My Madonna I hailed me a woman from the street. Where you and all may see. and I heard him say. so fair! I bade her sit in the model’s seat And I painted her sitting there. "'Tis Mary. oh. A connoisseur. Shameless. I painted her as she might have been If the Worst had been the Best.
The passerby saw in the painting not a harlot. The painter painted what he perceived the woman might have been if given a chance. more than anything else. without reflection. contributes to the preservation of the whole species. to the relief of those who are in distress. The Robert Service poem illustrates so well that how we look at others makes a great difference. by moderating the violence of love of self in each individual.If I can stop one Heart from breaking I shall not live in vain If I can ease one Life the Aching Or cool one Pain Or help one fainting Robin Unto his Nest again I shall not live in Vain. but as people in need. Compassion requires us to stand with others in their distress. which. That is compassion. 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. – Emily Dickinson The citizens of Aiken will. It is this compassion that hurries us. A few months ago the important character attribute was courage. this month. “Compassion is a natural feeling. 30 . That means that you stand by others in times of danger or stress. but the Mother of God. To do this we must learn to look at others not in judgment. makes our world a better place in which to live. David Hume once expressed this by saying.” Compassion.
It is cheaper and healthier than pop or juice. “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. I can suggest 6 ways to start doing this: 1. it would be smart to start planning for it now. Don’t wait until the brakes squeak or the engine smokes.) 31 . Start by looking for places to spend less and save more. Shopping at garage sales and thrift stores can save lots of money. Make a wish list for things you want. They will last longer and hold their value. Keep up the maintenance on your car. Take your lunch to work. How much is gas? 4. Drink more water. Don’t be swayed by advertising. Cherish your belongings. One way is to not eat out too often (sorry Elaine). Buy from stores like Costco and Sam’s. You know the old saying. It is “LBYM. 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. Take the time to maintain your possessions.NOVEMBER / FINANCE DISCIPLINE IN MONEY MATTERS I would like to suggest to you a new term that may be valuable. and honestly examine your wants versus needs.” which stands for “Live Below Your Means. 2. but this may mean you have to make fewer trips to the store. Don’t buy on credit! (Exceptions might be housing and automobiles. 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. 3. You will have to buy in larger quantities. Don’t treat everything as a consumable. Then implement a waiting period of a few days for your wish list.
Your cable package is often larded with things that you can do without at a considerable saving. but do not feel that you must have the latest thing or toy. Wait a while and you can buy a better product for less. Is yours the right one for you or can you find a cheaper one or one that offers more features you need. Check your budget often for places you can potentially cut back. the next question is: "What do I do with long-term savings?" The answer is very easy. 6. Look for these things. If you are able to S-A-V-E. Put long-term savings into an index mutual fund.5. The most expensive time to buy something is when it first hits the market. This fund will do better than 90% of all professional money mangers. How can you do better? 32 . such as Vanguard Total Stock Market. Always keep in mind that new ways of satisfying your needs are being developed every day – many at lower cost. Can you bank cheaper? How about your insurance? There are many telephone packages.
although there is evidence that most of these traits have a basis in the teachings of faith. but of you it is required to forgive all men. When I was finally able to forgive. Often a third 33 . at the time when they happened. and thus save ourselves the resentment that builds up in our feelings and makes us a little less than we should be. then perhaps we should forgive sooner. many things that seem unforgivable to us when they happen seem not so very important to us after some period of time. it was largely because I was able to put myself in the other person’s shoes. Yet we know that time has a tendency to reduce the pain we feel. the Lord will forgive whom I will Forgive. church. 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. When we think about that quotation we may feel that asking us to forgive everything seems all but impossible.D. a basic book from the L. Most actions look one way to one person. Strangely. If we feel that we may be able to forgive after a time. but totally different to the other person involved. I know that there are many things that. It is: I. I felt would never allow me to forgive someone.DECEMBER / CHARACTER FORGIVENESS I have been careful to keep all of the suggestions for the character traits out of the area of religion. I think our challenge should be to make this period of time shorter.S.
we will live a better and happier life. and they are people you respect very much. “Do I live my life so that I deserve to have them say the things I want to hear? 34 . In conclusion. “We should write the faults of our brothers in the sand. As you proceed you see two people talking to each other. Ask yourself what they will be saying. As you approach you realize they are talking about you. I would offer you something I once used when I was asked to talk in church: Imagine that you are invisible and walking down the street. “What would I want them to say?” Now once again ask yourself. They do not know that you can hear. a life that is more in keeping with what we should be. Their virtues should be written on tablets of love and memory.party will view what happened very differently than either of the persons involved. Then ask yourself. I once heard someone say.” If we can follow this advice.
We have been fortunate to have never had any real financial problems. it is a fact that people who have trouble living within their income will succeed better by using a budget. In other words. even if it is somewhat informal. I know that using a budget is something that will make your life better. I think Bud may be the nation’s best authority on saving for retirement. since Elaine and I have never really lived on a budget. One reason we have been able to maintain financial security is that Elaine has a built in ability to stay within a budget. As all of you know from what I have told you for years staying within your income means also a very solid savings program. I have been able to stay on a budget because I always limited my access to money by living on an expense account. Bud told me that we as a nation now do not save any money. This means that the Social Security Administration will not be able to provide as much as you might expect. This is terrible news for 35 . During this last week we have had Bud and Mirriam Hebeler here as visitors. To a certain extent. In spite of this. on the average people are not saving anything. 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 savings program means saving in addition to what you put into Social Security or any pension or IRA account. In fact if she were to use a budget it would probably require her to spend more money than she does now.DECEMBER / FINANCE USE A BUDGET This month’s financial advice will be a little difficult for me to give you.
and although this is tougher. we must plan to expect less from our defined pensions and Social Security. 36 . The trade-off is that you as an individual must take more responsibility for your future and especially your retirement. 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. I don’t want to seem to be a prophet of doom to you. Thus. Things have changed. but it is important to face the future with as much knowledge as is possible. there are many ways in which things are easier for you. Living on a budget could be an important first step in doing this. Your best defense is a strong savings program and a good IRA account.our country since it also means that funds for expansion of industry will not be as available as in the past.
we might have personally improved ourselves in the following areas: June. we will be three-fourths of the way through the year. Personally. since most adults change very little or not at all. in spite of what others think or what the consequences bring. For myself and for you. September was the month when Truthfulness was emphasized. This is a cover letter for this month’s suggestion for improving yourself by thinking about the attributes selected by the citizens of Aiken. if you choose. In August the trait selected was Citizenship. but maybe August was better because it could remind us that being a good citizen is a twelve-month-a year responsibility. In review.INTERLUDE Dear Children and grandchildren. 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. your employer and the world in which you live. This should probably have been selected for the month in which we vote. July was the month in which Courage was emphasized. and if we have become better people. it is great progress. I think it might be a time to review and ask ourselves if we have progressed. your family. I feel that if we have changed just a little. This might be a time to reflect upon our truthfulness to ourselves and to others. loyalty to yourself. 37 . the beginning of this series of letters emphasized Loyalty.
Oh well. They choose the Coachella Rescue Mission. I made the comment that it was not a choice I would have made.October brought Patience. Compassion was the watchword for November. which will be Sincerity. We certainly should find time to have forgiven someone at this time of the year. but we also should remember that this too is a twelve-month-a-year responsibility. I am sure you will find in this another area in which you can improve. I trust you also have made progress. I thought I had really improved until last night when our golf group decided to make a contribution to a charity. Forgiveness is part of the Christmas season. Perhaps the most difficult for me. Now we go on to January. since it is mostly for people involved in drugs and alcohol. Dad / Grandpa 38 . it shows that I still need to improve. A discussion with our friends that followed showed that I was not compassionate toward those people. but maybe the trait in which I think I have been most successful in improving. How about you? December brought a trait that was certainly timely.
All of these things are certainly traits that anyone would like to have. When he talked about his wife he would say without reservation. Most of you remember Stan Olson.JANUARY / CHARACTER SINCERITY It would be interesting to know whether or not the citizens of Aiken have become more sincere. “She is the best woman God ever put on this earth. However. as it illustrates a total lack of sincerity. If you can fake that. or hypocrisy. although he had thought the same thing about previous salesmen and would again. In spite of that I know he said those things in complete sincerity. If they have. I know he meant it. This is not a quotation that we should seek to emulate. or being truthful. you’ve got it made. if we recognize false sincerity it will help us to cultivate true sincerity in our daily lives. It might help to look at a dictionary definition of “sincere. pretense. you had no doubt he meant it with no reservations. Stan had a way of issuing compliments that in my opinion was unsurpassed. one of the two best friends I have had through the years.” When you heard him. By now you know I like to add quotations to illustrate the character traits the citizens of Aiken have selected. then certainly Aiken has become an even better place in which to live. He often said to me that I was the best salesman Brunswick had ever had.” Sincere is defined as being without deceit. straightforward and honest in a desire to help. and 39 . George Burns once said: The secret to succeeding in show business is sincerity.
Doing so will certainly improve life for both you and whomever you come in contact with. When we give compliments. because it was true. As I type this I realize that the important thing about sincerity is that we develop it not in a selfish manner. is to avoid being insincere. 40 . would like to have others show in their actions. I could have dropped it there.even more. Too often we pass up a chance to tell someone something complimentary. but instead I told Elaine this. Somehow I felt that she believed me. Probably just as important. She should have. As I looked at the ladies on the stage I realized Elaine was certainly the most beautiful lady there. it must be done with complete sincerity. Today I went to the Christmas program put on by the Palm Desert Singers. We should avoid being insincere even more strongly than we strive to be sincere. and maybe even more so. but in a manner of giving. Never pass up a chance to give a compliment to someone when you can do it with sincerity.
Today there is nothing she 41 . Chris struggled with school and did not find it as easy to learn as her siblings. 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. Truman I would think we have several examples of this in our family. but this is true) like Port Townsend. I doubt any of them could compete with Dan in overall knowledge of operation. Holly has never lost her desire to learn. Although there are many highly trained engineers at the refinery. – Harry S. There was a time he probably knew more about this than his coworkers. he is needed.JANUARY / FINANCE MAKE EDUCATION A CONTINUING PROCESS Once again I will start with an old quotation: It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. not at a specialized school. from what I know. 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. 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. Then he learned even more and was able to advance. Rich started by knowing how electronic equipment was made and what the theory of electronics entailed. yet she never stopped trying.
Lori certainly knows the value of continuing education. and as they do. even after they know it all. and as he learns will continue to enter other areas of building. Alicia. We should do all we can to make education easier for children and grandchildren. the younger grandchildren are still undergoing their basic education. we should all encourage them to get all the education they possibly can. And never stop urging them to continue learning. going to school again. Stephanie continues to progress with new challenges in dentistry by learning to work in the hospital and new areas of responsibilities in dentistry. finds time to pursue her desire to become a nurse. Mac is making progress with his business. while doing very well at The Archer and making a good deal of money. Of course. she is doing it the hard way.cannot accomplish. 42 . I am also aware of the progress being made by all of the grandchildren. Lacy is now perusing a long held desire to excel in photography. Each should recognize that every new thing we learn opens new opportunities for further learning. expanding from framing to siding and roofing. Several of us depend upon her for computer operation and being thorough in her follow-through.
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. then spend the rest of our lives trying to be just that. 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. A better way to judge respect is to observe how we relate to people. respecting others. Being more careful in our treatment of the environment can also be considered a 43 . The fact that we as a nation are more tolerant of those of other races and colors is a far better sign of respect than using a title. we must learn to respect ourselves. When I was young it was a sign of respect to call all adults by either Mr. It seems to me we should first decide what we are and just what we want to be. or Mrs. However. When we have that self-respect we can then turn to a larger task. This is not common today. Most older people feel that the younger generation does not have the respect they had when they were young. It does not mean there is a lack of respect. That is.FEBRUARY / CHARACTER RESPECT Many years ago when President David O. that is. I think my parents felt that the younger generation (mine. I am probably wrong. that is) did not. That is also true today.
or those who are destitute and on the street. From there we could make a long list of people to whom we should show respect.sign of respect. A list might include law enforcement. We should also show respect to our children and other young people. such as employees. 44 . public employees. Maybe I still don’t do it as well as I should. children and grandchildren!). We will be better people if we are able to observe this character trait. I think this is something that we often overlook. and all with whom we come in contact. Perhaps the most difficult group to remember is those who in some way seem beneath us. 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. We might start by respecting our parents and elders (get that. someone doing us a service. To whom should we show respect? Really the list is endless. people who serve us in stores and restaurants. not only of the environment but of the others who live on this earth and of the future generations. military. pedestrians. Every person on earth deserves some measure of respect.
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. a safe place for a family. 45 . As far as I know. Having a home means many things to people. this is something which is not common any place else in the world. each of you are doing that. a refuge from the trials of the world – it provides a hedge against inflation and gives us the pride of ownership.FEBRUARY / FINANCE CONTINUALLY WORKING TOWARD HOME OWNERSHIP For most people. Calling a plumber or an electrician can be very expensive. I know that a person of average intelligence can make over 90 percent of home repairs. Perhaps you noticed that I used the term “continually. If you don’t know how. From the first day you start into home ownership. the most valuable thing they will ever own is a home. Strange as it may seem to each of you. Another thing that is very important is that you should learn to take care of your home. you should think of what you can do to enhance this valuable asset. It means such things as security against old age. That is a loosing game. What I mean is that you should learn to make repairs by yourself. or start making plans to move into a better or more valuable home. When you first own a home it is only the beginning. then call someone who can show you how to make these repairs. At this point I would like to offer some advice. Never refinance your home to get money to use for a purpose other than home ownership.” By this I mean that just owning a home is not enough.
If this is done as soon as a leak is noticed. A leaking toilet is usually a minor problem. it can take only a few minutes. 46 . I hope each of you can reach this goal. meaning you have a difficult job resurfacing the valve or replacing the entire faucet. If you wait too long before getting a leaking toilet fixed. If you leave it. Keeping the house clean and orderly will keep insects from multiplying and eventually damaging the house and your possessions. Years ago a twenty-year mortgage was rare. If your mortgage is thirty years try making an extra payment at least once per year. Unfortunately. 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. you will pay only about forty percent as much interest. as soon as you get the house clean. The savings in interest will be substantial.A few examples would include putting a new gasket in a faucet. it will often mean replacing the flooring around the fixture. Now a thirty-year mortgage is almost standard and we are beginning to see forty-year paper. 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. Thus the word “continually” is again a key to good home ownership. the leak will eventually cut a groove in the valve seat. If you are able to pay off a mortgage in fifteen rather than thirty years.
If you do. Following are six suggestions for getting along with anyone: 1. you will be upset and disappointed. Or one of the best responses is to remove yourself from the scene. don’t expect them to change. 4. Surprise them by not reacting as they expect.” The maxim calls not for total abstinence. there is Susan I must go talk to her. Some people will purposely try to push your buttons looking for a response. You will not change them. Look for hidden gifts. I think one of the most important ways to maintain self-control is to get along with people.MARCH / CHARACTER SELF-CONTROL The ancient Greeks had a famous saying: “Nothing overmuch. Expect the expected! If you are going to see someone who annoys you or who is not always agreeable. Almost every time we will look back and regret our actions. When you know someone might 47 . If you cannot accept them as they are. Practice self-defense. 2. even a good thing. Everyone has some talent or skill. We should know that too much of anything. Don’t react. If people don’t appreciate gifts from you. don’t see them. but rather reminds us to avoid excess. We need to recognize when enough is enough. as this old tale shows. then choose a gift certificate. Try “Oh. realizing that what happened did not justify our lack of self-control. Compliment them and ask for information.” 3. may prove to be our undoing. Everyone responds to that kind of attention. I don’t think anything is more embarrassing than losing our temper.
If you know that someone’s actions will annoy you. be prepared with a response. If someone asks a question that is none of his or her business. both friends and family. 6.” 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 . choose something that will not trigger a response. Know your limits. 5. 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.not appreciate a food or some attention. then plan to excuse yourself after that time. Silence your critics. then make sure that your time with him or her is limited. “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 ---------. If you can only stand them for five minutes.
while she was in Seattle. and will loose 3% through inflation. you will have to pay income tax on the 2% you did earn. which was worth only about 35% of what her house had been worth. 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. This month is different. It may seem so. You will be paid only about 2% on the money. Actually. She knew she could no longer take care of her home in Salt Lake City. I might use an example to show you how devastating inflation can be. you will note that experts say that inflation is low. Unfortunately. you will find that it will buy only about half of what it would when you put it away. but it is still at least 3% per year. then decided to sell it. In addition to that. That means that if you save $100 for ten years then try to spend it. If you read the paper. When she returned to buy a condo.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 was beautiful home overlooking the entire Salt Lake Valley. the money from the house sale would only buy a small condo. She rented it for a year. I strongly feel that inflation is the greatest enemy of security and retirement. My mother moved to Seattle to be near me for a few years. the country underwent a period of very high inflation (as much as 16% per year). money in the bank is a loosing proposition. There is nothing more difficult than preparing for inflation. 49 .
and oil companies. rental property is not the best investment for most people. Rental property is also very good protection against inflation. Another example I can give is what Bud Hebeler told me about his retirement pension. I know you will see many suggestions that you keep some money in cash or some other form that is easily accessible. I know that most of you are not now thinking of retirement. Companies that meet these criteria are McDonald’s. Most of the time homes increase in value at least as much as inflation. This is a good idea.So. the purchasing power of his pension declined by over 50%. I have suggested before that unless you spend some time studying the stocks you would be better investing in mutual funds. Boeing. it will be the best protection against inflation that I can suggest. the ones that are considered value funds have a degree of protection. 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. If you keep your home up-to-date and keep the majority of your money invested. During the first ten years of his retirement. In mutual funds. The only other suggestion I can make to you is that you own stock in companies that grow with the economy. however. but when you look at how much you need for retirement. 50 . how do you protect yourself from inflation? One of the best ways is to own your home. The only protection you can have from this is that you must save at least 15% of your retirement pension so that you can keep up your purchasing power. you better increase it by at least 15%.
a horse was lost. 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. a battle was lost. 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. To be irresponsible is immature. a shoe was lost. The horse fell. King Richard spurred his horse forward but a shoe came off. In King Richard III Shakespeare tells about King Richard preparing for a battle. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.APRIL / CHARACTER RESPONSIBILITY To respond is to answer. the King was left alone on the battlefield. we increase our maturity. For the want of a shoe. For the want of a horse. we are helping them along the road to maturity. As the battle started. To be responsible is to be answerable or accountable. When we increase our responsibility. 51 . When we help our children become responsible. a kingdom was lost. For the want of a battle.
Some things I can think of are: 1. and later realized how much better we would have been if we had been a little more responsible. We will become more valuable to our employers or customers. I feel that I would like to visit there. a failure of responsibility. 2. Fortunately for me. 52 . I know I was often irresponsible in not doing my best in schoolwork. 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. For me. but almost on the border of Georgia. South Carolina. It might help in becoming responsible if we think about the benefits we still derive from becoming responsible people. We will not have to make excuses. If any of you are interested. sometime along my growing up I was able to improve on my lack of a good character trait. Our family life will improve because our family can depend upon us to do what needs to be done. We will certainly reduce stress upon ourselves knowing that what we promised to do has been done. It might be best if I do not because I would be disappointed if I found that this campaign has not been a success.I think each of us remember some time when we failed to take some little action. in that it can become a lifelong habit. The citizens of Aiken. 3. I wonder how many of you have been curious about where Aiken is located. 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. This was dangerous. it is in the middle of the state from the North to South.
since they provide great nutrition at a 53 . Missouri. you might be right – but if you eliminate that one vulnerability. The Midwest is such a place. If we have learned nothing from the hurricane Katrina it is that unforeseen emergencies do happen. There is no record of any earthquake before or since. Some areas of the country think they are not in danger of earthquakes. you will most likely find that your area is susceptible to several others. and if you think you are immune to that one disaster. You might give some thought to what foods are good for storage. 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. and maybe a month to six weeks. Volcanoes are mostly predictable in the areas where they exist. Canned goods are particularly good for keeping. As you know. Dried foods are good but must be protected from moisture. Be assured that no place on earth is immune from such an occurrence. Frozen foods are not good since most emergencies will mean a loss of electric power. Beans and dried peas are some of the best foods to store. you might think something like that could not happen there.APRIL / FINANCE FOOD STORAGE It seems that the things I want to suggest to you often have some relation to church. but don’t forget to keep a manual can opener on hand. 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). Wherever you may live. yet the greatest earthquake in our nation’s history occurred in New Madrid.
very low price. Think what a blessing it might be if you are the only one in your family that has food when an emergency occurs. telling them it is your way of using food that is kept for an emergency. 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. 54 . You might influence them to start a food storage program of their own. Curiously. 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. hard candy is a good storage item since it stores well and provides great energy though not good nutrition. making sure you immediately replace it. Perhaps you could use the food that is a little old and have a party with friends. It might save the life of a child – your child or grandchild. Buy a few cans of beef stew and each time you use one or two buy two more and rotate your stock.
It is especially called to my attention when Elaine has some new item of clothing. vigilant. not only with Elaine. but one thing that would help is if we make sure to take some action when we do notice something new. Most often our lack of attentiveness is our failure to be observant. we might first think of this in relation to our spouses or other members of our family. I am probably one of the most unobservant people I know. She is very good at calling my attention to my failure to notice these things. We could talk about paying attention to our work. 55 . paying attention to our community and country. I try to tell her that if she will give me a little more time I will notice. I know attentiveness is a weakness of mine. 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. Attentiveness certainly applies to many more situations than that. I think we often do not pay attention to our health. I can’t tell you how to become more attentive. a new hairdo. you all know I just had surgery for squamous cell cancer on my lip. I do know that I was not careful enough for too long. I don’t know just when I realized that the sun was dangerous. watchful. As with many of the character traits chosen for emphasis by the citizens of Aiken. or some new item of decoration around the house. but also with daily life as well. I often think of the things to which we do not pay enough attention. or paying attention to personal relationships in our daily life. observant. For example.
Setting aside enough money to insure a secure retirement. but there are just too many of you. The three important decisions you must make correctly are: 1. blood pressure. 3. 56 . 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. but more often they actually oppose each other. but if you accept this. which is now consuming almost 20% of the average person’s income. Preparing for the expense of health care. 2. I feel that you and others your age face that kind of difficulty in your near future. so you must do it for yourself. sugar intake. It means choosing correctly the first three horses in a race. and most important of all. it is a recipe for difficult budgeting and perhaps a very sparse old age. For some reason. I have heard it said that people cannot save money until their children are gone. Preparing to finance education for your children and grandchildren. Most illnesses give warning symptoms. It would be nice if these items would work together. then occasionally look at that list and ask yourself if these items are getting proper attention. it almost breaks my heart to see a woman well into her 60s waiting tables in a restaurant. I suggest that you sit down and write down a list of things that you are apt to overlook. your weight. pay attention to them! THE TRIFECTA Most of you probably know that a trifecta is a racing term.Do pay attention to things like sunlight. To some extent this is correct. I wish I could have enough money to provide for each of you. Often they come during difficult times of your life.
Even at that time it will be important for you to sign up for Part B. some who are over-insured find that too much money has gone to insurance leaving not enough for a comfortable retirement. Often your employer will help provide your health insurance. Most of the time this is not the best choice. but then it too late. 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. which will help at a time when your health costs are increasing. and auto insurance. There are kinds of insurance you will likely need all of your life. your health insurance can be very expensive. homeowners. Anyone with a young family should have some life insurance.MAY / FINANCE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME INSURANCE It is very easy to become over-insured. True it lacks that promised payout at the end. On the other hand. If you don’t have this. as well as either a health maintenance organization or a Medigap health policy. If you buy from a life agent he will try to steer you to a type that includes some type of savings program. You will not have to pay so much to get adequate insurance. It is just as easy to become under-insured. Some of these are medical. especially as you get older. and probably some type of prescription coverage. Somehow each of you needs to reach some kind of compromise. At 65 Medicare will kick in. People who are hit by big liability lawsuits or personal injury items are often left destitute. but you will be much better off finan- 57 . Being under-insured can cost you dearly.
Unfortunately. since most often the kids are better off than the parents. First. My suggestion is that you consider this. so as you can see you have to have a considerable amount to cover this. When the investment makes money the life insurance company keeps part of it and gives the rest to you. 58 . Most life insurance policies take your money.cially if you just buy the term insurance and put the extra into savings that go into a mutual fund. (A friend of mine bought such a policy. Second are those who have enough wealth that they can afford the very high costs of private care. Just be careful in buying LTC. make it just enough to carry the family through funeral and recovery. but this is apt to be after you are no longer alive. then invest it in something like a mutual fund. Private care often cost $70. most people resist this in a desire to leave “something for the kids. someone who will have very little in retirement so that their costs will be covered by Medicaid. He was not aware of this clause. which can often be used to provide long term care. If you still feel the need. you will eventually not own the house. As soon as she went to a home the policy ended. After your children are grown and on their own you probably will not need any life insurance. Yes. this should not be a consideration. which means you are selling your house on time payments.) One source of money for a late-life health problem is your home. 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. he found that it only applied while he could care for her at home. A reverse mortgage is used to provide monthly cash.000 per year. this field is filled with charlatans who are not willing or not able to properly explain what you are buying. There are two types of people who do not need this. and then when his wife developed Alzheimer’s.” At this time in your life.
SELF-CONTROL Apr. because I knew that the first of each month was a deadline. Writing letters and finding something to say was not easy for me. RESPONSIBILITY May ATTENTIVENESS June LOYALITY July COURAGE 59 . 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. SINCERITY Feb. I hope each of us has gained something by concentrating on these twelve traits of character chosen by the citizens of Aiken. I surely realized it. The twelve traits are: Jan.EPILOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. I am going to conclude by reviewing the letters I have sent you through the last year. RESPECT Mar. but now I am through.
“Compassion. “Forgiveness. FORGIVENESS One thing you learn if you have ever been a teacher. is that in preparing to teach you always learn much more than the students to whom you give the lesson. I found this especially true whenever I was called upon to teach a church class. I am reminded of the time when Christ was asked which of the Ten Commandments was the greatest. 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. which always had to do with becoming a better person. PATIENCE Nov. 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. the second is like unto it. especially if you are called upon to teach something with which you are not familiar. I know I always learned more than my students. I also think that if we were to review in later years what we choose as the most important. 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.” and as Christ said. He answered. I just hope and trust they have also changed 60 . TRUTHFULNESS Oct. Love thy neighbor as thyself. for me. The most important to me was November. I just hope there have been a few times you have thought of ways in which you could improve yourself. I would like to tell you what I think. And the second is like unto it. is the greatest of the Character Traits we have reviewed. CITIZENSHIP Sept.” To me these two traits often go hand in hand. and with all thy soul.Aug. and with all thy mind. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” In thinking of this. I know that it is often impossible for someone to say which trait is the most important.
Sept. since most people change very little after becoming adults.B. Jul.Y. Nov. I had to draw upon my own experience. When I decided to include a financial item with each letter. Jun. Discipline in money matters. Good spending choices. Aug. Live beneath your means. it was easy because someone else had prepared the list of traits. The second part of these letters has dealt with financial matters that I thought would be of value to us. Meet financial obligations. Food storage. Make education a continuing process. Strive for home ownership. Mar. Oct. Manage your money. Maybe there are one or two that have touched you and changed you for the better. When I chose to write of the character traits. Become financially informed. I hope these twelve subjects contained something that was of 61 . If any of us have changed or improved even a little. Use a budget. Importance of work. we are to be congratulated. don't let it manage you. Feb. Apr.M. L. Cope with inflation. May Make sure you have some insurance. They have been: Jan.me for the better. Dec.
If even one of you has been able to make some change in your life or spending habits.value to you.” If you do not use a budget how do you know when you are living beneath your means? Using a budget will also help us to make good spending choices. I would like to suggest that you choose two of the financial items which have the greatest value to you. we will greatly lessen the danger of ‘running out of money. Dad / Grandpa 62 . Just now as it looks so good that we have nothing to worry about. Just as I chose to emphasize two of the character traits. I send this letter to you with my love and affection. Don’t you run out of money. It was of an elderly Indian woman obviously malnourished and near death. The telling words beneath the picture said “She just ran out of money. it is “Use a Budget. and trust that I am being faithful to the suggestions I have made to you.” I feel the term “Live Beneath Your Means” is perhaps the best advice I could possibly give to you. Some of this might have related back to a picture that Liam had hung in the bathroom of their house in Somerville.” 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 do know that I often think of things that I have advised you to do. It is so good that it scares me as I have never been scared before. For me. I feel this is the time of the greatest concern. Maybe some of you have seen it. And the second is one that helps to achieve that. 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.” I guess I live in constant fear that one of my children or grandchildren might “run out of money. That is the way I look at the economy today. the first I would emphasize is “Discipline in money matters. Then sell it when everyone else thinks it is the hottest item they have ever seen.” I really feel that if each of us pays heed to the above items. then I feel that I have not wasted my time.
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