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A Father’s Advice for a Better Life
D E E V. S W E N S O N
Filia Press 100 West 12th Street / New York. Swenson All rights reserved. NY 10011 . This book was developed out of a series of letters Dee Swenson wrote to his children and grandchildren in 2005 and 2006.Copyright © 2006 by Dee V. The book has been edited and produced by Tree Swenson. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission.
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 .
One item that really caught my interest was a section on Aiken. which if adopted by the citizens would make Aiken a better place to live. 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. and even the water bills had a note. The people who planned the project were able to identify scores of attributes that they thought would make the people and their town better. One of you gave me a book for Christmas. and features of our life. I found it very interesting. companies. the citizens were advised of what the goal would be for that month. South Carolina. They are now into their second year and feel that this effort has had a positive effect on their citizens. The newspapers publicized it. such as. It was a book about our nation and the people we are. but you did not do what I always request and write an inscription at the front of the book – therefore. “ Make Aiken an honest place to live.” If at the end of the year. The people of Aiken decided to stress one of these traits each month for a year. they would continue for another year. 7 . I cannot give proper credit for the gift. as it focused on different aspects of our American life and went into detail about some communities. the community people felt they had succeeded. and one aspect of this movement was to choose several character traits. So each month. After collecting many suggestions.PROLOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. A movement to improve the community was started.
Dad / Grandpa 8 . so I decided to also include a second thought each month pertaining to your financial health. I am sure it will make all of us better people even though this is a family affair and not a community effort. I will send you these letters each month unless you decide you do not want to receive them.I was very impressed with this program and thought that it would be a very valuable thing for everyone. 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. If we all pay attention to the traits. Love. and keep in mind each month the goal of improving ourselves. Therefore. Of course. I then realized that I couldn’t leave it at that.
when he said “One of the great discoveries in life is finding a dependable person. and other members of our family in trying to become the very best each of them can be. While this is very important and something we should all strive to achieve. S. We can help each other by showing that kind of loyalty.JUNE / CHARACTER LOYALTY The attribute the citizens of Aiken chose to emphasize for the month of June is loyalty. 9 .” I am reminded of a quotation by Richard L. As we have grown.” If we can all depend upon the loyalty of other members of our families. we should be loyal to our goals and try to live up to being what we think we should be. we have all developed an idea of who we are and what we want to be. 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. I think that loyalty should start much closer to home. It might be by speaking positively about a person or about the whole group. First. We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish. we should look at being loyal to our spouses and family. Each of us might go to precinct meetings which select delegates to national and state conventions. we should be loyal to ourselves. The U. Each of us will have to find our own ways in which to be loyal. husbands. It might involve providing financial help or emotional support. We should support our wives. Army has a great motto: “Be all that you can be. Evans. as in being loyal to your country. Once we have achieved loyalty to ourselves. and once we form them. we will have a most firm foundation.
This month we should choose not to criticize or complain unjustly. to do it in a constructive manner. Each day we should think of how we can be loyal to our school. and certainly to our state and nation. 10 . our clubs and associations. our work. we have taken the greatest step we can toward becoming loyal to all of the other groups to which we belong.I think that when we learn to be loyal to our family. and if we must do so. our fellow workers.
“I never did a day’s work in my life. It sometimes seems that there is nothing that is more useless than housework: “It just gets dirty again. we can find a way to understand how important it is and how it contributes to the family and our own well-being. but we can nonetheless look forward every day to accomplishing something at work that we have to do. 11 .” I think anyone who feels that way about work is a very fortunate person. I know that some work seems that it just cannot have much value.JUNE / FINANCE THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK Thomas Edison once said.” These days I often help with housework and I find great satisfaction in dusting and other cleaning. Work is utterly basic to our financial well being. To be truly successful at work we must like what we do. but I get a sense of satisfaction after the work is done. I have to admit that I still don’t like to do it. No matter how meaningless a task seems. For many years I did not do much to help Elaine with housework. If we are able to make that our goal. 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. then each day we can look forward to the work we do and to the contribution we make. and there is a way to make any job pleasurable. It should be a source of pride to do something at work that makes your family or your company more successful. Each member of a family should look at work as their contribution to the family’s welfare. It was all fun. This does not mean that there won’t be some days that we will dislike having to go to work.
Of course we mostly look at work as a source of income. I am enclosing a copy of an article that will give you one suggestion for how to spend some of it. The article points out the importance of building a nest egg. we can start to think about how to spend it. you are not too young to begin investing in your future. Once we have earned that income. No matter how young you are. 12 .
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. regardless of the consequences. Leigh Hunt (an 1800s poet and essayist) wrote. By this time you have had a month to think about your loyalty. there is no personal daring of 13 . or have sex – that for them is wrong. however. and that you see progress in becoming what you think you should be. This temptation is easier to resist as we get older – or maybe we are just not tempted as much. 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. Each day they are encouraged to take some action – often they are urged to take drugs. To those of you who have children. look at them for courage. I hope you have become more loyal to yourself. organizations.JULY / CHARACTER COURAGE Aiken’s character calendar for July is courage. company. Please join the citizens of Aiken this month by having more courage. and resisting the pressure despite the condemnation or the derision of their friends is most difficult. many times each day we must exercise courage. I think the best definition of courage is doing what is right each day. I also hope that you see in yourself progress in becoming more loyal to your family. and our government. There are. “When moral courage feels that it is in the right. This month I ask you to look at your courage. I think those of us who are older should help those who are younger to have the strength to resist temptation. to drink.
just as the people of Aiken are reminded to do during the month of July. We develop it by doing what is right each day and finding that we are more satisfied with ourselves. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said.” I hope each of us will always feel we are in the right. it is something we must develop.” 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.which it is incapable. “What a new face courage puts on everything. I hope each of you will think about courage during the coming month. 14 . and will do what is right regardless of what others do or urge us to do. Courage is not a gift to us.
You might have heard the quotation. After thinking. because she is careful about every expenditure she makes. who writes a financial column.” At the time I didn’t understand what he meant. “Good judgment comes from experience. Always 15 . “People get money not by making it. and much of that comes from bad judgment. Bill asked me what about retirement was different than I had expected. I am not sure I can tell you how to make good spending decisions. 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. then Dee should be very affluent because Elaine is very frugal. Bud interjected. but by spending it. or for which we are being charged too much interest.JULY / FINANCE SPENDING One of my customers once told me.” Most of you have heard me tell of the time when I was having lunch with Bud Hebeler and a friend of his. then much of the credit goes to Elaine. and she also rides herd on me. All of us can look back at some purchase we have made and later realized that it was very unwise. for which we paid too much. Bill Schultice. if we seem affluent to you. When you make good spending decisions it is just like putting money in your pocket.” Elaine said she was mad at him but I don’t really think she was. I said that I was more affluent than I had thought I would be. “Oh. Bill’s response was that in his experience affluence came not from making a lot of money. Truly. If I am able to tell you how to make good spending decisions I would first suggest that you never buy anything impulsively. but from being frugal in the way it was spent.
For example. but the cost includes thousands of people killed each year in auto accidents. Always discuss any purchase that costs any substantial amount with other members of your family. at least overnight. but they also certainly make it very easy to get into debt over our heads. A latte could cost perhaps as much as $10. and especially with your spouse. Credit cards are the major cause of the many bankruptcies filed each year. However. A comparison can be made with credit cards and bankcards: they surely make our lives easier. Often. so don’t think I am suggesting that you forgo these small pleasures.000. we are often spending far more than we think on everyday purchases. to think about any purchase that is more than you have in your pocket or more than you have in your checking account. if we include interest on the money if it were instead saved and invested. Most of the time when we consider how we are spending our money we are considering major purchases.take time. the automobile has greatly benefited mankind. For example. Most of you know how much pop I drink. 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. Just be aware of what the cost is over a period of time. Always take time to compare what else is available and at what price. My advice to you is: “Spend Your Way Into Affluence. A drink with lunch or dinner can add as much as 30% to the cost of the meal.” 16 .
Patrick Henry. No government can give us freedom or anything else without the participation of the citizens who live in that country. It would not be possible to list all the things that you can do to be a good citizen. 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.AUGUST / CHARACTER CITIZENSHIP I hope none of you had to dash into a burning building to rescue anyone lately. 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. Richard L. Our founding fathers. The character trait emphasized for the month of August is citizenship. I don’t mean we should not complain or be concerned about how that tax money is spent. we are in danger of loosing our freedom and security. I know you have all heard me complain about taxes – that is 17 . 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. 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. such as John Adams. We live in the greatest nation the world has ever experienced. but that we should feel good that our taxation rate is among the lowest in the world. and Thomas Jefferson. Evans once said.
That should be your approach as well. Other examples would be to attend local government meetings. the citizens are just given the trait and it is left to each individual to decide how to put that trait into practice. any letter we write to them gets far more attention than you might think. and I did not want to break the law. In the end. and zoning meetings. be active in programs such as parent teacher associations. Most of you know how I agonized over paying taxes on the capital gains from the sale of the Chelan condo. South Carolina.one of those privileges we have as citizens – but we owe it to our country to pay an honest tax. I almost felt that I could avoid paying the tax. Your congressional and state representatives get relatively little mail. Each of you can think of many things you can do to be a better citizen. In Aiken. and therefore. Make your feelings known! By the way. Don’t let me set your goals! 18 . all of the ideas I am sending you about these character traits are my own. except for two things: that tax was something I owed. One example might be to write letters to your representatives about matters that are important to you. Often we need to do what is right even if it hurts.
partners become necessary. could afford to build an airline company or to start any major worldwide company. as a new business is started. Just as today. and especially with the building of the transcontinental railroad.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. 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 . All of you know I have been involved in the stock market for most of my life. 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. yet. no single person. Many people go through life never understanding what is involved in financial matters. and thus the corporation is born. Therefore. As a bit of history. This was just about the first time that no one person had enough money to finance such a project. whatever their wealth. The building of the railroad was such a massive endeavor. many people go through their entire lives not understanding the purpose of the stock market or how it functions. the stock market really came about with the industrialization of this country.
Everything else you spend your money to buy is either an asset or a liability. you can find some very valuable books. These two terms will determine your future. 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. and improvements as long as you own it. Uncommon Profits. upkeep. Every purchase you make will fall into one of these two categories. It is a liability because you will pay taxes. by Andrew Tobias. Even though you think of a house as an asset. People who are successful financially spend as much as possible on assets. Both are readily available. What is the difference? Simply that liabilities continue to cost you money. Assets bring you money. An old one that is still very good is Common Stocks. it is so only if it increases in value. Or better still. or use the library. Those who will have to survive on Social Security spend all of their money buying liabilities. I would suggest any one of several magazines. but each month we should try to spend a little money on an asset. or The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need. If you want to become financially informed about the above terms. However. We must buy many liabilities in order to survive. Become financially knowledgeable! 20 . such as Kiplinger’s or Money. but is it enough for the future you want? A little money in a saving account or an automatic investment in a mutual fund is something everyone should have. Certainly a retirement program is an asset. with the possible exception of a house. Following the old advice to “Pay yourself first” will contribute to your financial well-being. interest. and if it provides you shelter at a reasonable cost.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. you will have to read. you are on your way to a financially secure future. by Phillip Fisher.
and forgave her. she thought of going Very quietly away. In the parlor by herself. Told her mother what was done.SEP TEMBER / CHARACTER TRUTHFULNESS This month I suggest you join the citizens of Aiken in striving to be more Truthful. Quite alarmed. Of her being there that day But Rebecca recollected She was taught deceit to shun. Broke a handsome china basin Placed upon the mantel shelf. And the moment she reflected. Rebecca Mason. R EBECCA ’ S A FTERTHOUGHT Yesterday. – Elizabeth Turner 21 . Who commended her behavior. Not a single person knowing. Loved her better.
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.
and it is not too difficult. I know our lives will be much more pleasant when we control our emotions. but these times are much less frequent and they pass much more quickly than in the past. I think she is naturally gifted with patience. still. While at dinner one of the men who was with us was upset that a waitress was not prompt in service. and life will also be more pleasant for those around us. The man 25 . October’s character trait might be much more difficult. A few minutes later something else came up. when I am impatient. I truly believe that patience must be developed. When I considered truthfulness. Lori Jane (who is the world’s best daughter-in-law). and honestly. but must develop it. “I have never seen her angry. I think some people manage to have patience naturally. I honestly thought this family would not have much trouble with that character trait. The first week of September I was with a group in Canada playing golf. I hope we can join the citizens of Aiken in developing our sense of patience.OCTOBER / CHARACTER PATIENCE I thought quite a bit last month about being truthful.” Others of us do not have this trait naturally. I trust you have found the same to be true in your life. There are times. That was easy. My children who in the past have accompanied me to restaurants where service was poor will no doubt think I am the last person to be suggesting that anyone should develop patience. I have said several times. I feel that it did not take much effort to be truthful during my day-today activities. and I responded to her in a nice manner. He was rude with her and we were all embarrassed at his outbreak. I think of my daughter-in-law.
founder of the New Hampshire Historical Society. gave advice that I feel is invaluable: Be patient in little things. It seems that Shakespeare had a quotation that fit any situation. It seems that I can always find a quotation that says what I want to say better than I can say it myself. In this case William Plumer. In this case it is: How poor are they who have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degree. and then.complimented me on the way I handled the situation and later apologized to the waitress. I might have been the one who felt an apology was necessary. when unforeseen trouble or calamity comes. your strength will not forsake you. Learn to meet the everyday trials and annoyances of life quietly and calmly. 26 . Had I not developed a better sense of patience.
because a portion of each dollar we receive should be set aside.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 car. I intended to emphasize what I thought were the key points in the enclosed article. I urge each of you to look at each item and evaluate what importance it has in your plan for retirement or for the future. Then you must also make provision for the really long term. just a little later than someone who started earlier. Of this money we set aside. If you think that is an exaggeration then think about this.” I mean we should always have a plan for using our money. A little less than 40 years ago (1968) Elaine and I bought a house in California for 27 . As I have looked at it I thought it would be good advice for any of us. or an addition to the house. a vacation.26 to buy what $1. or for some longer-term usage.00 does today. Actually we have not missed the boat – we can catch the next one. I am sure as we look at it we will feel that if we are over 25 we have missed the boat. Maybe the most sobering fact is that the estimate is that 40 years from now it will take $3. such as a new roof. a home. some should be for later purchases. When I tell you to “mange your money. I did not say spending our money. which is a nest egg for your retirement. but as I read them I couldn’t find any of them that were more important than the others. We will arrive a little late but at least we will arrive at our destination.
28 . This will give you the maximum protection against inflation. This is why I urge you to put your long-term savings in mutual funds.00 per night. Today Motel 6 rooms are at least $30. at that time Motel 6 started business.000. This means that gas essentially costs $2. I can report that I got 22 miles per gallon with my Cadillac. That house would sell for over $750. Dan).00 and as much as $50.00. Since then I have tried to follow those methods. S. and all of their rooms were $6.85.$38.000 today. Two weeks ago I sent you an article about how to get better mileage driving your car.43 rather than $2. Also. and start managing your money today! P. the best I have gotten since I bought it new in 1993. Paying attention to these little things and driving a little slower has saved me about 15% of my gas (sorry. Good luck to all of you.
"'Tis Mary. I painted her as she might have been If the Worst had been the Best. And I sold her and took my fee. A connoisseur. oh. Then came. Shameless. so fair! I bade her sit in the model’s seat And I painted her sitting there. with a knowing nod.NOVEMBER / CHARACTER COMPASSION My Madonna I hailed me a woman from the street. I hid all trace of her heart unclean. I painted a babe at her breast. She laughed at my picture and went away. And she hangs in the church of Saint Hillaire. – Robert Service 29 . but." So I painted a halo round her hair. the Mother of God. and I heard him say. Where you and all may see.
If we are to have compassion for our fellow humans we must learn to look at them and see what might have been. without reflection. “Compassion is a natural feeling. to the relief of those who are in distress. but as people in need.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. makes our world a better place in which to live. The painter painted what he perceived the woman might have been if given a chance. more than anything else. contributes to the preservation of the whole species. That means that you stand by others in times of danger or stress. A few months ago the important character attribute was courage. That is compassion. It is this compassion that hurries us. but the Mother of God.” Compassion. by moderating the violence of love of self in each individual. observe the almost twin of patience. The Robert Service poem illustrates so well that how we look at others makes a great difference. The passerby saw in the painting not a harlot. this month. which. David Hume once expressed this by saying. Compassion requires us to stand with others in their distress. 30 . – Emily Dickinson The citizens of Aiken will.
“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. They will last longer and hold their value.” Buy generic brands unless you are convinced there is a difference.NOVEMBER / FINANCE DISCIPLINE IN MONEY MATTERS I would like to suggest to you a new term that may be valuable. Shopping at garage sales and thrift stores can save lots of money. One way is to not eat out too often (sorry Elaine). Then implement a waiting period of a few days for your wish list. Drink more water. Don’t buy anything until the waiting time is up. Don’t be swayed by advertising. I can suggest 6 ways to start doing this: 1. but this may mean you have to make fewer trips to the store. 3. Start by looking for places to spend less and save more. Cherish your belongings. It is cheaper and healthier than pop or juice.” which stands for “Live Below Your Means. Don’t wait until the brakes squeak or the engine smokes. Make a wish list for things you want. it would be smart to start planning for it now. How much is gas? 4. 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. Don’t treat everything as a consumable. You will have to buy in larger quantities. It is “LBYM. Keep up the maintenance on your car. Don’t buy on credit! (Exceptions might be housing and automobiles. 2. You know the old saying. Buy from stores like Costco and Sam’s. and honestly examine your wants versus needs.” or more succinctly S-A-V-E. Take your lunch to work.) 31 . Take the time to maintain your possessions.
Your cable package is often larded with things that you can do without at a considerable saving. 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. Check your budget often for places you can potentially cut back. Is yours the right one for you or can you find a cheaper one or one that offers more features you need. Put long-term savings into an index mutual fund. such as Vanguard Total Stock Market. How can you do better? 32 .5. Can you bank cheaper? How about your insurance? There are many telephone packages. Look for these things. 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. If you are able to S-A-V-E. Always keep in mind that new ways of satisfying your needs are being developed every day – many at lower cost. 6. the next question is: "What do I do with long-term savings?" The answer is very easy.
I felt would never allow me to forgive someone. 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. I know that there are many things that. 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. then perhaps we should forgive sooner. Most actions look one way to one person. Often a third 33 . but of you it is required to forgive all men. When I was finally able to forgive. It is: I. a basic book from the L.S. and thus save ourselves the resentment that builds up in our feelings and makes us a little less than we should be. Yet we know that time has a tendency to reduce the pain we feel. at the time when they happened. church. but totally different to the other person involved. although there is evidence that most of these traits have a basis in the teachings of faith. the Lord will forgive whom I will Forgive.DECEMBER / CHARACTER FORGIVENESS I have been careful to keep all of the suggestions for the character traits out of the area of religion.D. I think our challenge should be to make this period of time shorter. If we feel that we may be able to forgive after a time. Strangely. When we think about that quotation we may feel that asking us to forgive everything seems all but impossible.
party will view what happened very differently than either of the persons involved. Then ask yourself.” If we can follow this advice. They do not know that you can hear. 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 . As you proceed you see two people talking to each other. “What would I want them to say?” Now once again ask yourself. I once heard someone say. 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. a life that is more in keeping with what we should be. we will live a better and happier life. In conclusion. “We should write the faults of our brothers in the sand. As you approach you realize they are talking about you. Ask yourself what they will be saying. Their virtues should be written on tablets of love and memory.
As all of you know from what I have told you for years staying within your income means also a very solid savings program. Bud told me that we as a nation now do not save any money. In spite of this. One reason we have been able to maintain financial security is that Elaine has a built in ability to stay within a budget. During this last week we have had Bud and Mirriam Hebeler here as visitors. This is terrible news for 35 . 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. since Elaine and I have never really lived on a budget. I know that using a budget is something that will make your life better. In fact if she were to use a budget it would probably require her to spend more money than she does now. 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. In other words. even if it is somewhat informal. I think Bud may be the nation’s best authority on saving for retirement. 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. on the average people are not saving anything. I have been able to stay on a budget because I always limited my access to money by living on an expense account. To a certain extent. We have been fortunate to have never had any real financial problems.
but it is important to face the future with as much knowledge as is possible. 36 . we must plan to expect less from our defined pensions and Social Security. Things have changed. The trade-off is that you as an individual must take more responsibility for your future and especially your retirement.our country since it also means that funds for expansion of industry will not be as available as in the past. and although this is tougher. 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. 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. Thus. I don’t want to seem to be a prophet of doom to you.
In review. This is a cover letter for this month’s suggestion for improving yourself by thinking about the attributes selected by the citizens of Aiken. I think it might be a time to review and ask ourselves if we have progressed. 37 . if you choose. September was the month when Truthfulness was emphasized. since most adults change very little or not at all. 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. This should probably have been selected for the month in which we vote. your family. the beginning of this series of letters emphasized Loyalty. This will be the eighth of twelve character traits and with this letter.INTERLUDE Dear Children and grandchildren. we will be three-fourths of the way through the year. This might be a time to reflect upon our truthfulness to ourselves and to others. July was the month in which Courage was emphasized. we might have personally improved ourselves in the following areas: June. Personally. it is great progress. For myself and for you. Probably our best chance to show courage is in doing what we know is right. and if we have become better people. in spite of what others think or what the consequences bring. I feel that if we have changed just a little. loyalty to yourself. your employer and the world in which you live.
Compassion was the watchword for November. How about you? December brought a trait that was certainly timely. I made the comment that it was not a choice I would have made. which will be Sincerity. Perhaps the most difficult for me. They choose the Coachella Rescue Mission. Dad / Grandpa 38 . it shows that I still need to improve.October brought Patience. I am sure you will find in this another area in which you can improve. 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. Now we go on to January. A discussion with our friends that followed showed that I was not compassionate toward those people. since it is mostly for people involved in drugs and alcohol. We certainly should find time to have forgiven someone at this time of the year. I trust you also have made progress. Oh well. but we also should remember that this too is a twelve-month-a-year responsibility. Forgiveness is part of the Christmas season.
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. straightforward and honest in a desire to help. you had no doubt he meant it with no reservations. If they have.JANUARY / CHARACTER SINCERITY It would be interesting to know whether or not the citizens of Aiken have become more sincere. He often said to me that I was the best salesman Brunswick had ever had. or being truthful. although he had thought the same thing about previous salesmen and would again. If you can fake that.” Sincere is defined as being without deceit. Most of you remember Stan Olson. George Burns once said: The secret to succeeding in show business is sincerity. if we recognize false sincerity it will help us to cultivate true sincerity in our daily lives. All of these things are certainly traits that anyone would like to have.” When you heard him. Stan had a way of issuing compliments that in my opinion was unsurpassed. In spite of that I know he said those things in complete sincerity. This is not a quotation that we should seek to emulate. you’ve got it made. pretense. or hypocrisy. one of the two best friends I have had through the years. It might help to look at a dictionary definition of “sincere. I know he meant it. and 39 . “She is the best woman God ever put on this earth. However. as it illustrates a total lack of sincerity. When he talked about his wife he would say without reservation.
When we give compliments. it must be done with complete sincerity. Never pass up a chance to give a compliment to someone when you can do it with sincerity. but instead I told Elaine this. and maybe even more so. Somehow I felt that she believed me. She should have. would like to have others show in their actions. We should avoid being insincere even more strongly than we strive to be sincere. but in a manner of giving. Doing so will certainly improve life for both you and whomever you come in contact with. As I type this I realize that the important thing about sincerity is that we develop it not in a selfish manner. As I looked at the ladies on the stage I realized Elaine was certainly the most beautiful lady there. 40 . is to avoid being insincere. I could have dropped it there.even more. because it was true. Today I went to the Christmas program put on by the Palm Desert Singers. Too often we pass up a chance to tell someone something complimentary. Probably just as important.
Today there is nothing she 41 . but because he has learned more about the operation of the equipment than anyone else in his company. Then he learned even more and was able to advance. There was a time he probably knew more about this than his coworkers. Although there are many highly trained engineers at the refinery. I doubt any of them could compete with Dan in overall knowledge of operation. he is needed. Chris struggled with school and did not find it as easy to learn as her siblings.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. I also know most of what he has learned has been learned the hard way. not at a specialized school. I always wondered how she learned so much about the publishing industry in a small backwater location (sorry Holly. but this is true) like Port Townsend. – Harry S. yet she never stopped trying. Rich started by knowing how electronic equipment was made and what the theory of electronics entailed. He often has to go to sites that someone else should handle. Holly has never lost her desire to learn. I am constantly amazed by how much Dan knows about the operation of the Tesoro Refinery. from what I know. Truman I would think we have several examples of this in our family. Now he is the most knowledgeable person in his company here in America.
42 . and as they do. I am also aware of the progress being made by all of the grandchildren. even after they know it all. Lacy is now perusing a long held desire to excel in photography. Mac is making progress with his business. Alicia. Each should recognize that every new thing we learn opens new opportunities for further learning. while doing very well at The Archer and making a good deal of money. finds time to pursue her desire to become a nurse.cannot accomplish. Stephanie continues to progress with new challenges in dentistry by learning to work in the hospital and new areas of responsibilities in dentistry. she is doing it the hard way. the younger grandchildren are still undergoing their basic education. going to school again. Of course. and as he learns will continue to enter other areas of building. expanding from framing to siding and roofing. We should do all we can to make education easier for children and grandchildren. we should all encourage them to get all the education they possibly can. Several of us depend upon her for computer operation and being thorough in her follow-through. Lori certainly knows the value of continuing education. And never stop urging them to continue learning.
When we have that self-respect we can then turn to a larger task. Most older people feel that the younger generation does not have the respect they had when they were young. When I was young it was a sign of respect to call all adults by either Mr. 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. then spend the rest of our lives trying to be just that. I think my parents felt that the younger generation (mine. It does not mean there is a lack of respect. It seems that I was taught respect for others more so than most young people are today. That is. that is) did not. However. we must learn to respect ourselves. he passed a building that had a cornerstone with the architect’s name and the following inscription in a Scottish brogue: WHAT E’ER THOU ART ACT WELL THY PART To him this said that he was to respect himself and always act in accordance with what he perceived himself to be. that is.FEBRUARY / CHARACTER RESPECT Many years ago when President David O. I am probably wrong. That is also true today. This is not common today. or Mrs. McKay was on an LDS mission to Scotland. respecting others. A better way to judge respect is to observe how we relate to people. 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.
Maybe I still don’t do it as well as I should. Every person on earth deserves some measure of respect. We should also show respect to our children and other young people. 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. people who serve us in stores and restaurants. We will be better people if we are able to observe this character trait. A list might include law enforcement. not only of the environment but of the others who live on this earth and of the future generations. To whom should we show respect? Really the list is endless. or those who are destitute and on the street. 44 . someone doing us a service. From there we could make a long list of people to whom we should show respect. pedestrians. military.sign of respect. such as employees. Perhaps the most difficult group to remember is those who in some way seem beneath us. children and grandchildren!). We might start by respecting our parents and elders (get that. public employees. I think this is something that we often overlook. and all with whom we come in contact.
a refuge from the trials of the world – it provides a hedge against inflation and gives us the pride of ownership. each of you are doing that. Having a home means many things to people.” By this I mean that just owning a home is not enough. you should think of what you can do to enhance this valuable asset. From the first day you start into home ownership. this is something which is not common any place else in the world. What I mean is that you should learn to make repairs by yourself. At this point I would like to offer some advice. Perhaps you noticed that I used the term “continually. the most valuable thing they will ever own is a home. Strange as it may seem to each of you. or start making plans to move into a better or more valuable home. Another thing that is very important is that you should learn to take care of your home. 45 . a safe place for a family.FEBRUARY / FINANCE CONTINUALLY WORKING TOWARD HOME OWNERSHIP For most people. Calling a plumber or an electrician can be very expensive. 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. I know that a person of average intelligence can make over 90 percent of home repairs. As far as I know. It means such things as security against old age. Never refinance your home to get money to use for a purpose other than home ownership. If you don’t know how. When you first own a home it is only the beginning. then call someone who can show you how to make these repairs.
The savings in interest will be substantial. it will often mean replacing the flooring around the fixture. it can take only a few minutes. it begins to get dirty again and attract insects and vermin. 46 . Years ago a twenty-year mortgage was rare. If this is done as soon as a leak is noticed. I can also tell you that one of the most satisfying days of my life was when I was able to pay the last of a mortgage and to own our house free of debt. you will pay only about forty percent as much interest. A leaking toilet is usually a minor problem. Unfortunately. Keeping the house clean and orderly will keep insects from multiplying and eventually damaging the house and your possessions. Thus the word “continually” is again a key to good home ownership.A few examples would include putting a new gasket in a faucet. the leak will eventually cut a groove in the valve seat. 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. If you leave it. It will be a blessing for you and your family. I hope each of you can reach this goal. If you wait too long before getting a leaking toilet fixed. If you are able to pay off a mortgage in fifteen rather than thirty years. as soon as you get the house clean. When you finance a home you should try to pay off the loan as soon as possible. meaning you have a difficult job resurfacing the valve or replacing the entire faucet.
4. You will not change them. Look for hidden gifts. I don’t think anything is more embarrassing than losing our temper. Don’t react. 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. don’t see them. as this old tale shows. 2. If you do. then choose a gift certificate. Try “Oh. there is Susan I must go talk to her. If you cannot accept them as they are.MARCH / CHARACTER SELF-CONTROL The ancient Greeks had a famous saying: “Nothing overmuch. When you know someone might 47 . I think one of the most important ways to maintain self-control is to get along with people.” 3. Surprise them by not reacting as they expect. may prove to be our undoing. you will be upset and disappointed. don’t expect them to change.” The maxim calls not for total abstinence. Compliment them and ask for information. realizing that what happened did not justify our lack of self-control. Everyone has some talent or skill. We need to recognize when enough is enough. Some people will purposely try to push your buttons looking for a response. If people don’t appreciate gifts from you. Following are six suggestions for getting along with anyone: 1. Almost every time we will look back and regret our actions. even a good thing. Practice self-defense. Everyone responds to that kind of attention. We should know that too much of anything. but rather reminds us to avoid excess.
both friends and family. then plan to excuse yourself after that time. 48 . 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.” 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. If someone asks a question that is none of his or her business. 6. If you know that someone’s actions will annoy you. be prepared with a response. choose something that will not trigger a response. 5. Know your limits.not appreciate a food or some attention. 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 ---------. then make sure that your time with him or her is limited. If you can only stand them for five minutes.
but it is still at least 3% per year. You will be paid only about 2% on the money. I might use an example to show you how devastating inflation can be. I strongly feel that inflation is the greatest enemy of security and retirement. which was worth only about 35% of what her house had been worth. This month is different. My mother moved to Seattle to be near me for a few years. you will note that experts say that inflation is low. There is nothing more difficult than preparing for inflation. then decided to sell it. 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. the country underwent a period of very high inflation (as much as 16% per year).MARCH / FINANCE COPE WITH INFLATION It has not been too difficult for me to offer advice about your financial health on the subjects I have chosen in the previous months. Actually. Unfortunately. while she was in Seattle. the money from the house sale would only buy a small condo. She knew she could no longer take care of her home in Salt Lake City. 49 . In addition to that. 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. It may seem so. She rented it for a year. That means that if you save $100 for ten years then try to spend it. If you read the paper. you will find that it will buy only about half of what it would when you put it away. and will loose 3% through inflation. you will have to pay income tax on the 2% you did earn.
I have suggested before that unless you spend some time studying the stocks you would be better investing in mutual funds. Companies that meet these criteria are McDonald’s. it will be the best protection against inflation that I can suggest. 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. 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. and oil companies. I know you will see many suggestions that you keep some money in cash or some other form that is easily accessible. Another example I can give is what Bud Hebeler told me about his retirement pension. I know that most of you are not now thinking of retirement. but when you look at how much you need for retirement. During the first ten years of his retirement. Boeing. 50 . In mutual funds. This is a good idea. Rental property is also very good protection against inflation. however. The only other suggestion I can make to you is that you own stock in companies that grow with the economy. how do you protect yourself from inflation? One of the best ways is to own your home. the purchasing power of his pension declined by over 50%.So. Most of the time homes increase in value at least as much as inflation. rental property is not the best investment for most people. the ones that are considered value funds have a degree of protection. you better increase it by at least 15%.
we are helping them along the road to maturity. King Richard spurred his horse forward but a shoe came off. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. 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. The horse fell. we increase our maturity. To be irresponsible is immature. When we increase our responsibility. In King Richard III Shakespeare tells about King Richard preparing for a battle. When we help our children become responsible. To be responsible is to be answerable or accountable. For the want of a battle. a battle was lost. As the battle started. a kingdom was lost.APRIL / CHARACTER RESPONSIBILITY To respond is to answer. the King was left alone on the battlefield. For the want of a shoe. a horse was lost. 51 . For the want of a horse. 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 shoe was lost.
If any of you are interested. I feel that I would like to visit there. 2. It might be best if I do not because I would be disappointed if I found that this campaign has not been a success. but almost on the border of Georgia. We will become more valuable to our employers or customers. a failure of responsibility. For me. in that it can become a lifelong habit. and later realized how much better we would have been if we had been a little more responsible. I just hope we as members of a family have profited by thinking of character traits that will make us better people. Some things I can think of are: 1. are being urged to improve their sense of responsibility. Our family life will improve because our family can depend upon us to do what needs to be done. sometime along my growing up I was able to improve on my lack of a good character trait. We will certainly reduce stress upon ourselves knowing that what we promised to do has been done. It might help in becoming responsible if we think about the benefits we still derive from becoming responsible people. It is interesting to think about what kind of a community we would be experiencing if all the people with whom we come in contact were in every sense responsible. it is in the middle of the state from the North to South. I know I was often irresponsible in not doing my best in schoolwork. 52 . This was dangerous. South Carolina. I wonder how many of you have been curious about where Aiken is located. We will not have to make excuses. 3.I think each of us remember some time when we failed to take some little action. The citizens of Aiken. As I have written about the city this past year. Fortunately for me.
Missouri. Canned goods are particularly good for keeping. Be assured that no place on earth is immune from such an occurrence. Beans and dried peas are some of the best foods to store. yet the greatest earthquake in our nation’s history occurred in New Madrid. If we have learned nothing from the hurricane Katrina it is that unforeseen emergencies do happen. Some areas of the country think they are not in danger of earthquakes. As you know. and maybe a month to six weeks. There is no record of any earthquake before or since. you will most likely find that your area is susceptible to several others. Volcanoes are mostly predictable in the areas where they exist. but don’t forget to keep a manual can opener on hand. Dried foods are good but must be protected from moisture. 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. Frozen foods are not good since most emergencies will mean a loss of electric power. The Midwest is such a place. 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. You might give some thought to what foods are good for storage. and if you think you are immune to that one disaster. Wherever you may live. since they provide great nutrition at a 53 . 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.
It might save the life of a child – your child or grandchild.very low price. You might also consider keeping the food until it is close to the expiration date and then give it to a food bank. 54 . hard candy is a good storage item since it stores well and provides great energy though not good nutrition. Perhaps you could use the food that is a little old and have a party with friends. You might influence them to start a food storage program of their own. telling them it is your way of using food that is kept for an emergency. 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. Buy a few cans of beef stew and each time you use one or two buy two more and rotate your stock. 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. Think what a blessing it might be if you are the only one in your family that has food when an emergency occurs. making sure you immediately replace it. Curiously.
watchful. She is very good at calling my attention to my failure to notice these things. Attentiveness certainly applies to many more situations than that. not only with Elaine. a new hairdo. Most often our lack of attentiveness is our failure to be observant. you all know I just had surgery for squamous cell cancer on my lip. or some new item of decoration around the house. I do know that I was not careful enough for too long. For example.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. vigilant. 55 . paying attention to our community and country. I often think of the things to which we do not pay enough attention. We could talk about paying attention to our work. As with many of the character traits chosen for emphasis by the citizens of Aiken. I am probably one of the most unobservant people I know. we might first think of this in relation to our spouses or other members of our family. I don’t know just when I realized that the sun was dangerous. or paying attention to personal relationships in our daily life. It is especially called to my attention when Elaine has some new item of clothing. but one thing that would help is if we make sure to take some action when we do notice something new. but also with daily life as well. I can’t tell you how to become more attentive. I think we often do not pay attention to our health. I know attentiveness is a weakness of mine. I try to tell her that if she will give me a little more time I will notice. and perceptive are a few words that are elements of attentiveness. observant.
pay attention to them! THE TRIFECTA Most of you probably know that a trifecta is a racing term. Often they come during difficult times of your life. but if you accept this. For some reason. Preparing to finance education for your children and grandchildren. 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. Most illnesses give warning symptoms. your weight. 56 . I suggest that you sit down and write down a list of things that you are apt to overlook. Setting aside enough money to insure a secure retirement. but more often they actually oppose each other. but there are just too many of you. it is a recipe for difficult budgeting and perhaps a very sparse old age. To some extent this is correct. and most important of all. The three important decisions you must make correctly are: 1. I wish I could have enough money to provide for each of you. blood pressure. it almost breaks my heart to see a woman well into her 60s waiting tables in a restaurant. Preparing for the expense of health care. I have heard it said that people cannot save money until their children are gone. then occasionally look at that list and ask yourself if these items are getting proper attention. 2. which is now consuming almost 20% of the average person’s income. 3. so you must do it for yourself. sugar intake. I feel that you and others your age face that kind of difficulty in your near future. It means choosing correctly the first three horses in a race.Do pay attention to things like sunlight. It would be nice if these items would work together.
your health insurance can be very expensive. which will help at a time when your health costs are increasing. but then it too late. True it lacks that promised payout at the end. At 65 Medicare will kick in. but you will be much better off finan- 57 . and auto insurance. Somehow each of you needs to reach some kind of compromise. as well as either a health maintenance organization or a Medigap health policy. Often your employer will help provide your health insurance. especially as you get older.MAY / FINANCE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME INSURANCE It is very easy to become over-insured. Being under-insured can cost you dearly. There are kinds of insurance you will likely need all of your life. Even at that time it will be important for you to sign up for Part B. Most of the time this is not the best choice. People who are hit by big liability lawsuits or personal injury items are often left destitute. On the other hand. and probably some type of prescription coverage. If you buy from a life agent he will try to steer you to a type that includes some type of savings program. People whose house is flooded or damaged by another disaster can testify to that. some who are over-insured find that too much money has gone to insurance leaving not enough for a comfortable retirement. Term insurance is the best type for you at this time of life because you will get more insurance for less money. Anyone with a young family should have some life insurance. homeowners. It is just as easy to become under-insured. Some of these are medical. You will not have to pay so much to get adequate insurance. If you don’t have this.
he found that it only applied while he could care for her at home. this should not be a consideration. After your children are grown and on their own you probably will not need any life insurance. Why not make your own investment and keep all of the increase in value? Perhaps the most daunting decision is whether or not to have a long-term care (LTC) insurance policy. then invest it in something like a mutual fund. As soon as she went to a home the policy ended. most people resist this in a desire to leave “something for the kids. When the investment makes money the life insurance company keeps part of it and gives the rest to you. make it just enough to carry the family through funeral and recovery. (A friend of mine bought such a policy. There are two types of people who do not need this. He was not aware of this clause.” At this time in your life. A reverse mortgage is used to provide monthly cash. Second are those who have enough wealth that they can afford the very high costs of private care. Private care often cost $70. If you still feel the need. Most life insurance policies take your money. someone who will have very little in retirement so that their costs will be covered by Medicaid. My suggestion is that you consider this. which can often be used to provide long term care. Just be careful in buying LTC. since most often the kids are better off than the parents. Unfortunately.cially if you just buy the term insurance and put the extra into savings that go into a mutual fund. and then when his wife developed Alzheimer’s. First. 58 . so as you can see you have to have a considerable amount to cover this.000 per year.) One source of money for a late-life health problem is your home. you will eventually not own the house. Yes. which means you are selling your house on time payments. this field is filled with charlatans who are not willing or not able to properly explain what you are buying. but this is apt to be after you are no longer alive.
Writing letters and finding something to say was not easy for me. SINCERITY Feb. because I knew that the first of each month was a deadline. RESPONSIBILITY May ATTENTIVENESS June LOYALITY July COURAGE 59 . I am going to conclude by reviewing the letters I have sent you through the last year. The twelve traits are: Jan. 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. RESPECT Mar.EPILOGUE Dear Children and grandchildren. but now I am through. I wonder how many of you realize that the letter I sent you last month was the twelfth letter in which I have advised you of the “Character Attribute” chosen for emphasis for a month. SELF-CONTROL Apr.
I just hope there have been a few times you have thought of ways in which you could improve yourself. I am reminded of the time when Christ was asked which of the Ten Commandments was the greatest. PATIENCE Nov. CITIZENSHIP Sept. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. I know I always learned more than my students. is that in preparing to teach you always learn much more than the students to whom you give the lesson.Aug. for me. I know that it is often impossible for someone to say which trait is the most important. I found this especially true whenever I was called upon to teach a church class. This is the first and greatest commandment. I know that writing these letters for the past year has had more effect on me than reading them has had on you. and with all thy soul. which always had to do with becoming a better person. FORGIVENESS One thing you learn if you have ever been a teacher. Just as that is true. Love thy neighbor as thyself.” In thinking of this. TRUTHFULNESS Oct. COMPASSION Dec. The most important to me was November. I just hope and trust they have also changed 60 . 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. each of us we would find that different traits would be the most important depending on the stage of our life and development. the second is like unto it. He answered. is the greatest of the Character Traits we have reviewed. “Forgiveness. And the second is like unto it.” To me these two traits often go hand in hand. especially if you are called upon to teach something with which you are not familiar. I would like to tell you what I think. and with all thy mind.” and as Christ said. I also think that if we were to review in later years what we choose as the most important.
They have been: Jan. Aug. Importance of work. Discipline in money matters. Strive for home ownership.M. I had to draw upon my own experience. When I decided to include a financial item with each letter. Manage your money. Feb. Use a budget. don't let it manage you. Dec. Sept. Oct. Good spending choices. Jul. Make education a continuing process. I hope these twelve subjects contained something that was of 61 . Food storage.me for the better. we are to be congratulated. Mar. Cope with inflation. since most people change very little after becoming adults. Apr. If any of us have changed or improved even a little. Maybe there are one or two that have touched you and changed you for the better. May Make sure you have some insurance. Become financially informed. When I chose to write of the character traits.Y. it was easy because someone else had prepared the list of traits. L.B. Meet financial obligations. Live beneath your means. Jun. The second part of these letters has dealt with financial matters that I thought would be of value to us. Nov.
then I feel that I have not wasted my time. That is the way I look at the economy today. If even one of you has been able to make some change in your life or spending habits. It was of an elderly Indian woman obviously malnourished and near death. For me.” I really feel that if each of us pays heed to the above items. I send this letter to you with my love and affection.value to you. I hope these letters have been of some value to you. Just as I chose to emphasize two of the character traits. Dad / Grandpa 62 . I feel this is the time of the greatest concern. Maybe some of you have seen it. Don’t you run out of money. Then sell it when everyone else thinks it is the hottest item they have ever seen. Some of this might have related back to a picture that Liam had hung in the bathroom of their house in Somerville. The best wisdom on Wall Street is that to be successful in the stock market you need to buy something when everyone else is sick to death of it. we will greatly lessen the danger of ‘running out of money. I would like to suggest that you choose two of the financial items which have the greatest 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 know that each of us can look at some of the above subjects and find things we could do to enhance our financial condition. Just now as it looks so good that we have nothing to worry about.” I guess I live in constant fear that one of my children or grandchildren might “run out of money. And the second is one that helps to achieve that.” I feel the term “Live Beneath Your Means” is perhaps the best advice I could possibly give to you. It is so good that it scares me as I have never been scared before. it is “Use a Budget. The telling words beneath the picture said “She just ran out of money. the first I would emphasize is “Discipline in money matters. and trust that I am being faithful to the suggestions I have made to you. I do know that I often think of things that I have advised you to do.
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