Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Evangelist

I wonder what it would take to get folks to believe me when I say that there IS a way to avoid creating a financial wasteland for self and family if chronic illness strikes? Would I have to say that I can figure out a way to triple or quadruple your income? That's not realistic and you and I both know it. But increasing your income even marginally can and does make a huge difference. Moreover, if you start early enough, a few extra dollars every year, compounded, can go a very long way. I hate the idea of just keeping my insights to myself and chugging along until this thing works out as I expect it to and then saying, "See, I toldya!". Many of us are standing on the sidelines hoping not to get old or sick, while both conditions are headed our way at break neck speed.

Never mind my complaints about my personal wasteland. My wasteland is a consequence of my mother's starting far too late and flagrantly ignoring my advice when she was hale and hearty. The result is that I have been forced in to a corner where, in defense of my future and her present, I must sacrifice my present. It is a painful lesson that I wish I could help others avoid. I imagine the catastrophe that awaits those who do nothing at all and though it is none of my business, it terrifies me. I wish I could figure out how to get my insurance agent (with his unsuccessful attempt to increase sales of Long Term Care products) or my credit unions (local and foreign) to understand what an enormous opportunity exists here. As usual though, whereas others see a threat (or nothing at all), I see an opportunity. Unfortunately, I seem to be alone in holding that view. That is nothing new.

This is not a kind of expertise I have sought. It has sought me. Or perhaps, I was educated for such a time as this. It never fails to intrigue me that of all the graduate degrees I could have pursued, I chose an MBA: so that I could step in as family CFO and turn chaos into something else.

I'm not one to run up and down the streets selling my wares but this here expertise is worth sharing. Now, if I could just get ONE person to listen. Never mind that this caregiver has been laid low, the patient's affairs are in excellent order. In fact, chugging along at this pace, she could really start living it up in another year. Maybe given her condition that's not likely, but she will be able, with continued careful spending, to completely cover the costs of her care with pennies left over for a few nice-to-haves. And this, for the first time in her life.

So here goes:"Fruits! Vegetables! Retirement planning anyone?" Let's see if that works. I want to be an evangelist for retirement planning. Surely, in a society that claims to revere its seniors but is constantly talking about doing away with Social Security or changing it radically, such evangelism should be able to find some traction? Surely in a society like Trinidad where we have the tiniest, skimpiest social safety net possible, such an idea should find some traction? Do I need to get up on the roof (unclothed?), shouting and waving my arms? What is it that I'm not doing to advance this 'cause', because for me, this is a cause.

You don't want to be where I am. I promise you that. Heck, I don't want you to be where I am even if the company would be nice.

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