Monday, January 24, 2011

Making a virtue out of a necessity ~ By Patrice Lewis

There are few of us who have not been negatively impacted in one way or another by this Great Recession. Many have lost homes, jobs and possessions. But can our dignity be taken away? Can our blessings of friends and family be taken away? There's an old expression that says, "That which cannot be cured must be endured." How we will endure will say a lot about us.

The strongest metal is forged in the crucible of fire. The greatest generation was forged in the crucible of the Depression. What will an economic crash create?

I would like to think it will produce pure gold. But if so, we'd better get started refining ourselves now.
Another amazing column by Patrice Lewis! This information may help you some day, if or when there is an economic crash, so pay close attention.

Making a virtue out of a necessity

By Patrice Lewis

January 22, 2011 ~ 1:00 am Eastern

© 2011

Many years ago when we lived in Oregon, our county was electrified by the news that a local person had won the lottery. Days, then weeks ticked by with the mysterious winner still unknown. Oregon residents were being called, half-jokingly, by long-distant relatives asking, "Is it you?" leaving many to distrust the motives for the call.

As it turns out, the winners – an older couple of modest means with 40 years of solid marriage behind them – were making careful plans before claiming their prize. They were setting up trust funds for their children and grandchildren, putting aside a portion for charitable giving, and planning investments. Oh, and they hired a company to install a security system in their small home. Only when their plans were in place did they step forward to claim their prize.

This couple was a rare example of lottery winners who dealt with their newfound wealth with intelligence and a cool head. Their careful planning was justified. The moment they were identified, they were besieged by a storm of "friends" and "relatives" crawling out of the woodwork, asking for loans, pleading hardship, wanting favors. The winners routinely referred all supplicants to their attorney. A year after the firestorm of attention had died down, they were able to continue their quiet lives immeasurably wealthier but still stable and intact.

I know this because the local media scheduled follow-up interviews each year to see how their lives had changed. This couple was able to report with pride that their children and grandchildren were not being ruined by money, but were handling this unexpected windfall with care and maturity, unlike so many sad tales of other winners.

In other words, this couple utilized the strength of their frugal, solid foundation and strong marriage to make sure they were not ruined by wealth.

Lottery winnings appear to exaggerate whatever foundation is already in place. If lottery winners are stable and mature, they emerge from their windfall better off. If lottery winners are unstable and immature, they emerge with shattered relationships and bitter regret. The news is full of sad stories of winners who squandered their money within a year or two and were left with a broken family and few friends.

Now of course few of us will ever face the challenges (or rewards) of winning big bucks. But it seems the same type of outcomes appear in the aftermath of economic downturns as well. As the economy worsens, many of us are faced with monetary woes: missed mortgage payments, unpaid credit-card bills, phone calls from collection agencies and other complications of job loss or underemployment.

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