Ask Goldie - October 2007

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

Now that I am a retired widower and have become a senior, I seem to spend a lot of time reflecting on the mistakes I have made in the past. Some of them were foolish and hurt me as well as others. I would truly like to improve my habits and become a better person. Any advice on where I begin?


Dear B.N.:

I think you have already started the process. You are reflecting on the mistakes you have made, and realize you can change. These are two important steps to begin a new lifestyle. Now you can move on to listing the changes you want and deciding how to accomplish them. Finally, list them in a reasonable order and time frame so you can begin.

Do not dwell on the past. Look at mistakes as part of your growing process - lessons you learned. Obsession with previous errors can cause you to miss you new opportunities. Alexander Pope wisely stated in the 17th century:

To err is human,

To forgive, divine.

Be patient with yourself. Reflect weekly on any slight changes in your attitude and behaviour and reward yourself for each accomplishment.

Reading and socializing are a necessary part of the process. Libraries or bookstores offer a wealth of information on how to make changes in your life. Senior Centres introduce new friends and new ideas.

Good luck in your life improvement!

Dear Goldie:

Recently, I unexpectedly inherited some money. At first, the news seemed wonderful, but now it's causing a family rift.

I am a widower in my 70s, live alone, and keep busy reading and gardening. My two sons and daughter visit fairly often. Usually, they encourage me to be independent, but since I came into this money, they interfere in my plans.

My wish is to invest half of it for myself and divide the other half among my four grandchildren for their education. My three offspring are insisting I invest it all for myself. This seems selfish.

What is your opinion? L.V.

Dear L.V.:

Congratulations on your good fortune. It sounds like you have a caring family, too. It is important, however, for you to maintain your independence and decision-making as long as it is safe to do so.

Seniors are living longer, and your children may feel it is essential that you use the money for your own security. The assistance of a financial planner may help keep peace in the family.

If you give your grandchildren a small amount of support as they begin university, they may be able to help themselves working weekends and holidays in their final years. Many students have to earn their own way.

Hopefully, a financial expert will have choices for you to restore peace in your family.

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