A Father’s Advice for a Better Life

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


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

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

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. Therefore. I then realized that I couldn’t leave it at that.I was very impressed with this program and thought that it would be a very valuable thing for everyone. I will send you these letters each month unless you decide you do not want to receive them. Of course. Love. 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. Dad / Grandpa 8 . and keep in mind each month the goal of improving ourselves.

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

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

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

we can start to think about how to spend it. 12 . The article points out the importance of building a nest egg.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. you are not too young to begin investing in your future. Once we have earned that income. No matter how young you are.

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

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

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

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

but that we should feel good that our taxation rate is among the lowest in the world. We live in the greatest nation the world has ever experienced. Patrick Henry. 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. Our founding fathers. and Thomas Jefferson. Richard L. we are in danger of loosing our freedom and security. We should feel that paying taxes for that privilege is well worth the cost and the sacrifice. 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. No government can give us freedom or anything else without the participation of the citizens who live in that country. 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.” From this we should understand that if each of us does not perform the duties of citizenship. Evans once said. 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. “The arm of the law is only as long as the alertness of its citizens. such as John Adams.AUGUST / CHARACTER CITIZENSHIP I hope none of you had to dash into a burning building to rescue anyone lately. I know you have all heard me complain about taxes – that is 17 .

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

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. and thus the corporation is born. As a bit of history. Just as today. 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. partners become necessary. Therefore. 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 .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. yet. Many people go through life never understanding what is involved in financial matters. as a new business is started. and especially with the building of the transcontinental railroad. All of you know I have been involved in the stock market for most of my life. whatever their wealth. The building of the railroad was such a massive endeavor. no single person. could afford to build an airline company or to start any major worldwide company. This was just about the first time that no one person had enough money to finance such a project.

What is the difference? Simply that liabilities continue to cost you money. and if it provides you shelter at a reasonable cost. These two terms will determine your future. upkeep.12-B1 fee Spiders Stock dividends DJA Municipal bond IRA No-load mutual fund Closed mutual fund Index funds Roth IRA ETF funds Living will If you have an understanding of these terms. you will have to read. but is it enough for the future you want? A little money in a saving account or an automatic investment in a mutual fund is something everyone should have. and improvements as long as you own it. Those who will have to survive on Social Security spend all of their money buying liabilities. you are on your way to a financially secure future. Or better still. by Phillip Fisher. or use the library. such as Kiplinger’s or Money. Everything else you spend your money to buy is either an asset or a liability. However. 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. Following the old advice to “Pay yourself first” will contribute to your financial well-being. with the possible exception of a house. you can find some very valuable books. Uncommon Profits. It is a liability because you will pay taxes. I would suggest any one of several magazines. If you want to become financially informed about the above terms. Certainly a retirement program is an asset. An old one that is still very good is Common Stocks. it is so only if it increases in value. Even though you think of a house as an asset. We must buy many liabilities in order to survive. Assets bring you money. People who are successful financially spend as much as possible on assets. Every purchase you make will fall into one of these two categories. by Andrew Tobias. interest. Become financially knowledgeable! 20 . but each month we should try to spend a little money on an asset. or The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need. Both are readily available.

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

T RUTH Truth is the trial of itself And needs no other touch; And purer than the purest gold, Refine it ne’er so much It is the life and light of love, The sun that ever shineth, And spirit of that special grace, That faith and love defineth. It is the warrant of the word, That yields a scent so sweet, As gives a power to faith to tread All falsehood under feet. – Ben Johnson I had a difficult time deciding which of the above two poems to use to illustrate this month’s character trait, and then I realized that one is very good for younger people and other one for the older, but both have good messages for all ages. In this series of letters, I have always given you not only the character trait for the month, but also my own suggestions of how we may apply the character trait. It is difficult to improve upon the poems I have included here. One thing I have always thought of when talking about being truthful is that you must have a very good memory if you are to be untruthful. That is, that when you are untruthful you must remember not only what is true, but also what you were untruthful about. We all know that there are some times we must avoid the truth to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, but I cannot think of any other times when it is acceptable. I think that is what is meant by the statement “The truth shall set you free.”




What I offered you last month as financial advice could be the most important financial information you will ever receive. I hope you will always remember the difference between assets and liabilities. You should spend the rest of your life trying to acquire assets. I do hope you were able to acquire at least one asset during the last month. It could be as little as $10.00 deposited in a bank account that will be used to buy a share of stock or a mutual fund. But if it is an asset, it will make money for you for the rest of your life. I do hope that this one asset you acquired last month is in addition to your regular contributions to your retirement program. The advice I will offer to you this month is something that as far as I know you do not need – at least I hope that you don’t. That is, I hope that you already consider any financial obligation you have as a commitment that ranks as high as the most important things in your life. I think back to when Gary and I decided to start a new business in Washington. Both of us felt that we should begin immediately to establish a reputation for being completely dependable as far as financial obligations were concerned. To put it directly, we decided that we would proceed by always paying our bills on time. Our watch-word was to be “First we pay the bills then we eat.” By the time we had been in business a few years we had almost unlimited credit with our suppliers. I remember fondly when we placed an order with Columbia for a railroad car full of bowling balls. Columbia called to make sure that is what we wanted. We thought they might turn us down because of the huge cost involved. Instead,


they told us that it was the largest single order they had ever received, but that they would ship to us based on our record of having paid our bills. A reputation of this type is priceless. I hope each of you will sometime look back knowing that your reputation for financial integrity is above reproach. I know that each of you have at times struggled to manage your financial affairs and I feel that is in the long run good for each of us. It teaches us the importance of good financial management. I think that by now each of you realize that one of the real keys to making this work is to keep our wants and purchases in line with our expected income. I have dealt with many customers in the bowling business who saw money coming in very easily during the bowling season and failed to realize that the summer coming up was not going to provide the same income. It is like the fable of the “Ant and the Grasshopper.” If you do not know this fable, you can call me to learn the moral of the story.

Side Note: Elaine was telling to one of our friends, Billie Jean Marquis, about the letters I write each month. Elaine said it was inspired by a campaign held in some city but that she did not know where. Billie Jean, who had recently completed a mission in Nauvoo, IL, was able to tell her that the city was Aiken, SC. She knew because she had served with some people who were from there. They were proud of the efforts of their community in improving life there. If our attention to these character traits has an effect on us, we can also be proud of our efforts.


He was rude with her and we were all embarrassed at his outbreak.OCTOBER / CHARACTER PATIENCE I thought quite a bit last month about being truthful. I trust you have found the same to be true in your life. Lori Jane (who is the world’s best daughter-in-law). and I responded to her in a nice manner. A few minutes later something else came up. There are times. and it is not too difficult. I hope we can join the citizens of Aiken in developing our sense of patience. I honestly thought this family would not have much trouble with that character trait. When I considered truthfulness. and honestly. I think of my daughter-in-law. October’s character trait might be much more difficult. but these times are much less frequent and they pass much more quickly than in the past. The man 25 . I truly believe that patience must be developed. I feel that it did not take much effort to be truthful during my day-today activities. While at dinner one of the men who was with us was upset that a waitress was not prompt in service. but must develop it. I think some people manage to have patience naturally.” Others of us do not have this trait naturally. The first week of September I was with a group in Canada playing golf. I know our lives will be much more pleasant when we control our emotions. when I am impatient. My children who in the past have accompanied me to restaurants where service was poor will no doubt think I am the last person to be suggesting that anyone should develop patience. still. I have said several times. and life will also be more pleasant for those around us. “I have never seen her angry. I think she is naturally gifted with patience. That was easy.

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

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

85.00 per night.43 rather than $2. and all of their rooms were $6. Since then I have tried to follow those methods.$38.00 and as much as $50. Dan). at that time Motel 6 started business. This will give you the maximum protection against inflation. and start managing your money today! P.000. 28 . I can report that I got 22 miles per gallon with my Cadillac. Two weeks ago I sent you an article about how to get better mileage driving your car. That house would sell for over $750.000 today. the best I have gotten since I bought it new in 1993. Good luck to all of you.00. This is why I urge you to put your long-term savings in mutual funds. Paying attention to these little things and driving a little slower has saved me about 15% of my gas (sorry. S. Also. This means that gas essentially costs $2. Today Motel 6 rooms are at least $30.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I looked at the ladies on the stage I realized Elaine was certainly the most beautiful lady there. Probably just as important. is to avoid being insincere. Too often we pass up a chance to tell someone something complimentary. We should avoid being insincere even more strongly than we strive to be sincere. but instead I told Elaine this.even more. and maybe even more so. 40 . She should have. but in a manner of giving. Never pass up a chance to give a compliment to someone when you can do it with sincerity. 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. Somehow I felt that she believed me. it must be done with complete sincerity. I could have dropped it there. because it was true. When we give compliments. Today I went to the Christmas program put on by the Palm Desert Singers. would like to have others show in their actions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If someone asks a question that is none of his or her business. then plan to excuse yourself after that time. 48 . choose something that will not trigger a response. “Why would you ask a question like that?” Or when someone questions your activities respond with: “Thank you for being concerned about my health but ---------. both friends and family. 5. Silence your critics. be prepared with a response. Know your limits. If you can only stand them for five minutes.not appreciate a food or some attention. If you know that someone’s actions will annoy you.” Another thing that can help you in getting along with anyone is to remember two of the previous suggestions by the citizens of Aiken: Compassion and Patience will greatly assist you in your relations with others. then make sure that your time with him or her is limited. 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. 6.

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

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

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

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

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

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. Think what a blessing it might be if you are the only one in your family that has food when an emergency occurs.very low price. You might influence them to start a food storage program of their own. making sure you immediately replace it. Curiously. 54 . Buy a few cans of beef stew and each time you use one or two buy two more and rotate your stock. telling them it is your way of using food that is kept for an emergency. It might save the life of a child – your child or grandchild. You might also consider keeping the food until it is close to the expiration date and then give it to a food bank. Wheat is certainly the best possible thing to have for food storage but I do not recommend it because you will not use it except in the case of an emergency and it is therefore a waste of money. 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.

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

I wish I could have enough money to provide for each of you. but if you accept this. I have heard it said that people cannot save money until their children are gone. 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. blood pressure. which is now consuming almost 20% of the average person’s income. sugar intake. pay attention to them! THE TRIFECTA Most of you probably know that a trifecta is a racing term. Most illnesses give warning symptoms. and most important of all. 3. it almost breaks my heart to see a woman well into her 60s waiting tables in a restaurant. To some extent this is correct. The three important decisions you must make correctly are: 1. Setting aside enough money to insure a secure retirement. Preparing for the expense of health care. I suggest that you sit down and write down a list of things that you are apt to overlook.Do pay attention to things like sunlight. It would be nice if these items would work together. so you must do it for yourself. your weight. Preparing to finance education for your children and grandchildren. but more often they actually oppose each other. Please make sure you save enough money that none of the ladies in my family have to do hard physical work in their old age. it is a recipe for difficult budgeting and perhaps a very sparse old age. 2. but there are just too many of you. 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. 56 . For some reason.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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