CHARACTER CALENDAR

CHARACTER CALENDAR
A Father’s Advice for a Better Life

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

FILIA PRESS

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

don't let it manage you / 27 Compassion / 29 Discipline in money matters / 31 Forgiveness / 33 Use a budget / 35 Interlude / 37 Sincerity / 39 Make education a continuing process / 41 Respect / 43 Strive for home ownership / 45 Self-Control / 47 Cope with inflation / 49 Responsibility / 51 Food storage / 53 Attentiveness / 55 Make Sure You have Some Insurance / 57 Epilogue / 59 .CONTENTS Prologue / 7 Loyalty / 9 Importance of work / 11 Courage / 13 Spending / 15 Citizenship / 17 Become financially informed / 19 Truthfulness / 21 Financial obligations / 23 Patience / 25 Manage your money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

This temptation is easier to resist as we get older – or maybe we are just not tempted as much. look at them for courage. there is no personal daring of 13 . It is not likely that you will be called upon to go into battle to prove your courage or that you will need to race into a burning building to save someone. Leigh Hunt (an 1800s poet and essayist) wrote. Each day they are encouraged to take some action – often they are urged to take drugs. and our government. regardless of the consequences. 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. many times each day we must exercise courage. “When moral courage feels that it is in the right. To those of you who have children. 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. I think the best definition of courage is doing what is right each day. There are. By this time you have had a month to think about your loyalty. I hope you have become more loyal to yourself. to drink. or have sex – that for them is wrong. company. organizations. I also hope that you see in yourself progress in becoming more loyal to your family. 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. however.JULY / CHARACTER COURAGE Aiken’s character calendar for July is courage. and that you see progress in becoming what you think you should be.

Courage is not a gift to us. it is something we must develop. We develop it by doing what is right each day and finding that we are more satisfied with ourselves. “What a new face courage puts on everything. just as the people of Aiken are reminded to do during the month of July.which it is incapable. I hope each of you will think about courage during the coming month. 14 . Ralph Waldo Emerson once said.” 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. and will do what is right regardless of what others do or urge us to do.” I hope each of us will always feel we are in the right.

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

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

I know you have all heard me complain about taxes – that is 17 . Our founding fathers.AUGUST / CHARACTER CITIZENSHIP I hope none of you had to dash into a burning building to rescue anyone lately. 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. Richard L. 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. 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 should feel that paying taxes for that privilege is well worth the cost and the sacrifice.” From this we should understand that if each of us does not perform the duties of citizenship. Evans once said. 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. Patrick Henry. We live in the greatest nation the world has ever experienced. we are in danger of loosing our freedom and security. 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. but that we should feel good that our taxation rate is among the lowest in the world.

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

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. whatever their wealth. This was just about the first time that no one person had enough money to finance such a project. Many people go through life never understanding what is involved in financial matters. As a bit of history. and especially with the building of the transcontinental railroad. Therefore. as a new business is started. many people go through their entire lives not understanding the purpose of the stock market or how it functions. Buying stock is merely a way to become a financial partner in a company without having to become active in running the company or risking all that you own should the company not succeed. All of you know I have been involved in the stock market for most of my life. The building of the railroad was such a massive endeavor. 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 . partners become necessary. could afford to build an airline company or to start any major worldwide company. yet. the stock market really came about with the industrialization of this country. and thus the corporation is born. Just as today. no single person.

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

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

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.”

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SEP TEMBER / FINANCE

FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS

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,

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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.

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

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

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

00 and as much as $50. Good luck to all of you.000. at that time Motel 6 started business. Since then I have tried to follow those methods. Paying attention to these little things and driving a little slower has saved me about 15% of my gas (sorry.43 rather than $2. Dan). Two weeks ago I sent you an article about how to get better mileage driving your car. and all of their rooms were $6.00 per night. and start managing your money today! P. I can report that I got 22 miles per gallon with my Cadillac. 28 . This will give you the maximum protection against inflation. That house would sell for over $750.00. This means that gas essentially costs $2.$38. Today Motel 6 rooms are at least $30. S. the best I have gotten since I bought it new in 1993. This is why I urge you to put your long-term savings in mutual funds.000 today.85. Also.

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

“Compassion is a natural feeling. contributes to the preservation of the whole species. by moderating the violence of love of self in each individual. The passerby saw in the painting not a harlot. The painter painted what he perceived the woman might have been if given a chance. 30 . David Hume once expressed this by saying. which.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. – Emily Dickinson The citizens of Aiken will. more than anything else. That means that you stand by others in times of danger or stress.” Compassion. 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. That is compassion. Compassion requires us to stand with others in their distress. observe the almost twin of patience. but the Mother of God. The Robert Service poem illustrates so well that how we look at others makes a great difference. but as people in need. to the relief of those who are in distress. this month. It is this compassion that hurries us. A few months ago the important character attribute was courage.

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

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

I think our challenge should be to make this period of time shorter. but totally different to the other person involved. When we think about that quotation we may feel that asking us to forgive everything seems all but impossible. the Lord will forgive whom I will Forgive. many things that seem unforgivable to us when they happen seem not so very important to us after some period of time. If we feel that we may be able to forgive after a time.D. I know that there are many things that. a basic book from the L. church.S. and thus save ourselves the resentment that builds up in our feelings and makes us a little less than we should be. Often a third 33 . Most actions look one way to one person. it was largely because I was able to put myself in the other person’s shoes. at the time when they happened. When I was finally able to forgive. Yet we know that time has a tendency to reduce the pain we feel. 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. then perhaps we should forgive sooner.DECEMBER / CHARACTER FORGIVENESS I have been careful to keep all of the suggestions for the character traits out of the area of religion. but of you it is required to forgive all men. although there is evidence that most of these traits have a basis in the teachings of faith. Strangely. It is: I.

party will view what happened very differently than either of the persons involved. Then ask yourself. Their virtues should be written on tablets of love and memory. a life that is more in keeping with what we should be. I once heard someone say. As you proceed you see two people talking to each other. Ask yourself what they will be saying. “What would I want them to say?” Now once again ask yourself. 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. I would offer you something I once used when I was asked to talk in church: Imagine that you are invisible and walking down the street. we will live a better and happier life. “We should write the faults of our brothers in the sand. They do not know that you can hear.” If we can follow this advice. As you approach you realize they are talking about you.

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

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

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

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

However. Stan had a way of issuing compliments that in my opinion was unsurpassed. and 39 . He often said to me that I was the best salesman Brunswick had ever had. When he talked about his wife he would say without reservation. one of the two best friends I have had through the years. George Burns once said: The secret to succeeding in show business is sincerity. This is not a quotation that we should seek to emulate. It might help to look at a dictionary definition of “sincere. or being truthful. pretense. or hypocrisy. If you can fake that. although he had thought the same thing about previous salesmen and would again.” When you heard him.JANUARY / CHARACTER SINCERITY It would be interesting to know whether or not the citizens of Aiken have become more sincere. straightforward and honest in a desire to help. All of these things are certainly traits that anyone would like to have. “She is the best woman God ever put on this earth. Most of you remember Stan Olson. If they have. as it illustrates a total lack of sincerity. By now you know I like to add quotations to illustrate the character traits the citizens of Aiken have selected. you had no doubt he meant it with no reservations. In spite of that I know he said those things in complete sincerity. I know he meant it. if we recognize false sincerity it will help us to cultivate true sincerity in our daily lives. you’ve got it made.” Sincere is defined as being without deceit. then certainly Aiken has become an even better place in which to live.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. be prepared with a response. then plan to excuse yourself after that time. Silence your critics. If you can only stand them for five minutes. 6. If you know that someone’s actions will annoy you.not appreciate a food or some attention.” 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. 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 someone asks a question that is none of his or her business. Know your limits. both friends and family. choose something that will not trigger a response. Ann Landers used to suggest that the response to a rude question should be: “Why in the world do you want to know that?” Or. 48 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

your health insurance can be very expensive. On the other hand. People whose house is flooded or damaged by another disaster can testify to that. You will not have to pay so much to get adequate insurance. If you buy from a life agent he will try to steer you to a type that includes some type of savings program. There are kinds of insurance you will likely need all of your life. If you don’t have this. Most of the time this is not the best choice. Some of these are medical. True it lacks that promised payout at the end. as well as either a health maintenance organization or a Medigap health policy. Being under-insured can cost you dearly. but then it too late. At 65 Medicare will kick in. and probably some type of prescription coverage. Often your employer will help provide your health insurance. People who are hit by big liability lawsuits or personal injury items are often left destitute. which will help at a time when your health costs are increasing. 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. and auto insurance. It is just as easy to become under-insured. Even at that time it will be important for you to sign up for Part B.MAY / FINANCE MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME INSURANCE It is very easy to become over-insured. some who are over-insured find that too much money has gone to insurance leaving not enough for a comfortable retirement. especially as you get older. Somehow each of you needs to reach some kind of compromise. homeowners. but you will be much better off finan- 57 .

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

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

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

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

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

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