There exists a distrust of the financial system among certain ethnic and cultural groups in this country. If your parents or grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe or Asia this is something you may want to pay attention to. Some people hide money rather than entrust it to a bank. In the fast paced financial world of today, this behavior is largely confined to the elderly. I recognize there are substantial amounts of cash locked out of the legitimate banking system due to the illegal nature of the activity producing it. But this story is about the elderly and their hard earned savings Continue reading
Before writing, family history passed from generation to generation through complex storytelling. Thousands of years ago it was easy enough to tell your children not to throw stones at the lion. Much more effective was the passionate telling of a story, around a camp fire, of what terrible things happened to the little boy who threw stones at the lion. Through storytelling not only would the child understand the cause and effect of such behavior, he would also be provided a tool to instruct his own children when the time came. In current times we have plenty of opportunity to learn through books and film that a certain behavior will have consequences. Yet, storytelling remains an important part of passing a family’s culture and experience through the ages.
One Christmas during the time our family was living in Japan my father bought two handmade porcelain china dolls for his brother’s two pre-teen daughters. The dolls were fairly expensive and unique. He lovingly packed them in shipping boxes and mailed them to his brother’s home in Oregon along with a letter to each niece. My parents were excited about the gifts they had sent their nieces for Christmas and hoped the girls would appreciate and enjoy them.
I can’t think of a greater gift from a parent to a child than the gift of an education. By gift what I mean is helping to matriculate a child through college; coming out the other end debt free. Continue reading
With summer’s end, come the merchandise sales at the lake. Over the weekend I purchased a ball cap that I had my eye on for some time. That morning the $19.95 hat was in a large bin of hats offered for $5.00. As the young woman at the counter is checking us out she tells my wife Sue, “That will be $8.33.” Sue says, “That seems kind of high”, to which the sales clerk replies, “Well there’s sales tax”.
Mildly amused up to this point, I jump into the conversation. “ Do you agree the hat is five dollars?” “Yes”, she replies. “Is the Idaho sales tax rate still 6%?” Again, “Yes.” “Well then, the tax would be thirty cents and the total is $5.30.” At this point she presents us with a printed receipt and says, “But it says $8.33!” I offer, “Maybe if you tell it that the hat is $5.00 it will print the correct receipt.” She says, “Okay, I can override the price”. Me, “Really, they let you do that?” Oh my. Continue reading