The Generals

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I recently finished reading the book “Brothers Against Brothers”, (History of the Civil War). It tells the story well, and in great detail. The book left me with all kinds of feelings and observations. The most disturbing was the overwhelming tragedy of so many lives lost. Historians estimate there were approximately 630,000 deaths. More American lives were lost in this epic engagement than the two world wars combined. In addition hundreds of thousands of men went home handicapped for life with missing limbs and suffering from the mental anguish brought on by the horrors of war.

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Why I Do What I Do

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People often ask me what I do and of course I explain. Another question, though rarely asked, is why I do what I do?

The answer to that question was driven home recently by a call I received from an elderly retiree. Her husband had died some years earlier, so in many ways she was on her own. Her knowledge of financial matters was limited and she had no relationships with anyone who could provide professional guidance. No one to turn to for answers to the many questions she had, or the many questions she did not know to ask. Read the rest of this entry »

Our Brief Moment

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I  recently returned from a business meeting in the heartland, Topeka Kansas. I went there expecting the usual, some creative financial planning and investment ideas, as well as the current thinking of people in the business of giving investment advice.

Was I ever wrong! I came away with a totally different perspective of how to provide the service I do, and a deeper understanding of what is truly important about what I do, what we all do, every day.

You know the great philosophical question of the ages. The one that asks, “why am I here?” Or, put another way, “what is the meaning of life?” Read the rest of this entry »

A Reverse Mortgage May Have Saved Her Life

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Margie was a vibrant and active woman, younger in spirit and vitality than her 76 years would seem to indicate. But problems were mounting, life was closing in, and Margie was just about at her wits end.

You see, Margie’s beloved Bill had died some years ago, and his generous pension died with him, as it did not pay a spousal benefit. To compound Margie’s financial problems, due to Bill’s death her social security income was greatly reduced as well. Read the rest of this entry »

9 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Retirement Income

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The old saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’ is not necessarily true. My contention is that money can absolutely contribute to a higher quality of life, which in turn can contribute to a higher level of happiness. And at no time in our lives is this more important than retirement, because it’s unlikely most of us will be able to increase our income by going back to work in our 70’s or 80’s.

Whether you’re approaching retirement, or have been retired for many years, income is crucial to your financial security, and even to your very health. Many studies have shown insufficient income during our working years, but particularly during retirement, can cause worry and insecurity in our day to day living, which can lead to ill health over time. Read the rest of this entry »

Annies Story: Early Retirement Gone Bad

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5/14/07

She retired young, 49 to be exact, and made the big move from the dreary rain soaked Northwest to the land of palm trees and eternal sunshine. But all was not well, and the consequences of misguided judgment would soon come home to roost.

Annie had been in banking for 30 years, most of those years at that same stuffy old bank. So when the retirement party came around, well, Annie was ready. She had already picked the area of Florida that would become her new hometown, and was ready to make the cross country trek and settle into her new community. Read the rest of this entry »

Ruth, My Friend and Mentor, In Memory

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4/20/07

I write this letter today struggling with sadness, for we have lost a beloved member of our family. Dear, sweet Ruth, my friend, my client, my mentor, recently left us for another place, after 90 years of gracing us with her presence.

I met Ruth in 1983, all 4 feet ten inches and 95 pounds of her. She came to see me because she was retiring from her long career as a bookkeeper for a successful insurance agency in town.

Over the years we visited each other on a regular basis, on occasion even sharing a wonderful dinner or lunch she prepared at her home. Read the rest of this entry »