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Rich getting richer, hard to get ahead, etc...


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What's with the ads?

#1 Moxie

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 11:44 AM

I had no idea what to call this thread. Random thoughts from my shower??

True story. There is a wealthy family. They paid for their kids college, helped them get started with their first house, etc. Which is great and I'd love to do it too (but can't).

Because the daughter had such a solid footing in life, she was able to take the risk of starting a business with help from her parents.

Because the business did well, she was able to start a second business.

Because she has two successful businesses, her kids go to the expensive school, have tutors, sports coaches, etc. There is time for all this because they can afford to outsource the mundane things like lawn care, house cleaning, food prep, etc.

Now her son gets a pretty good scholarship. She is able to pay for the rest of his education, housing, everything. The boy will start adult life in a pretty sweet situation.

She is for sure a hard worker. But I'm not sure any amount of hard work could get her where she is at had she not had such a great entry into adult life.

We cannot give our kids that kind of start. We will still be making payments on DH's graduate degree when our oldest goes to college.

Idk. It is kind of demoralizing.
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#2 mommyoffive

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 11:50 AM

I feel you.  Life isn't fair is it? 

 

The only thing that helps me with this is to just think of the good things in my life. 

 

 

There will always be people that are better off than you and people have a worse life than you do.   Focus on the good stuff.  Can you give your children things that will help them later in life? 

 

Talk to them a lot about investing, saving, and going into debt. 

 

Can they live with you in college and young adults to get a good start on life?    Get jobs and save money and be on their way as adults?  


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#3 freesia

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 11:52 AM

But you can give them emotional support and encouragement, which goes far--give it credit for how far.  If they have loans, you can let them live at home for a while to pay them off--if they want.  Just the knowledge that dh and I have two places we can go if things fall apart has been huge at different times.  We knew we wouldn't be homeless.  We knew we would have encouragement and love.  Our path wasn't chosen for wealth (we are in Christian ministry) so that's not my measure.  But our families' strong educational focus, and support of our choices has greatly enhanced our lives.   Focus on what you can give them in this unfair world.


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#4 HomeAgain

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 11:53 AM

Dh and I are better off than our parents were at the same age.  The kids are in a better position than dh and I were at their ages.

 

That right there is enough for us.  It says that things are getting better for our family. Slowly, yes, but each generation is building on the one before.


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#5 MommyLiberty5013

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:06 PM

I just watched a video of a young woman who managed to get out of North Korea. Tears. She told about it and what her people face.

I know there's a wide swath of people in our nation. Some are very poor and others are very rich. Most are in between somewhere.

Despite lacking money in some areas, our families' freedoms (voting, buying/selling with ease, speech, meeting, homeschooling, etc.) make us ALL so wealthy. I try to see those more well off than me as helping out. Many wealthy give a lot away. Yes, some don't. Also I see their success and think it's good to see this...it can give hope, motivation, and build dreams for others.

In terms of this woman, maybe her two businesses employ people who otherwise might not have jobs. And having seen entrepreneurs, it's not easy to start and run a business. It's 24/7/365. The hours are long and for a sizeable portion of that it's blood, sweat and tears. Not everybody can do that - I know I can't. But good for her! And good for the US in which hard work of a family DOES pay off. In NK it's stopped by death.

Well that's just my recent dose of reality...at least.
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#6 regentrude

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:07 PM

But that is not the only way!

You don't need expensive private schools or tutors. Kids can be successful being homeschooled or attending ps.

There are other posters on this board who have large families and cannot assist their kids with college cost. Their kids choose their college based on finances and get full scholarships. 

I teach at a public university.  Most of our students have been educated in public school. We have students from poor rural areas, first generation college students.The average starting salary for our graduates fresh out of college is 59k. They can pay off their student loans quickly.

Sure, it is always easier if parents have money, but it is still possible for kids to get ahead, get an education, have a great career, even if their parents cannot assist them financially.

ETA: And the greatest gift parents can give their children is a functional and stable family. Kids from this background will do fine. Its the kids who come from dysfunctional families who are at the biggest disadvantage.


Edited by regentrude, 15 July 2017 - 12:22 PM.

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#7 Frances

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:20 PM

I had no idea what to call this thread. Random thoughts from my shower??

True story. There is a wealthy family. They paid for their kids college, helped them get started with their first house, etc. Which is great and I'd love to do it too (but can't).

Because the daughter had such a solid footing in life, she was able to take the risk of starting a business with help from her parents.

Because the business did well, she was able to start a second business.

Because she has two successful businesses, her kids go to the expensive school, have tutors, sports coaches, etc. There is time for all this because they can afford to outsource the mundane things like lawn care, house cleaning, food prep, etc.

Now her son gets a pretty good scholarship. She is able to pay for the rest of his education, housing, everything. The boy will start adult life in a pretty sweet situation.

She is for sure a hard worker. But I'm not sure any amount of hard work could get her where she is at had she not had such a great entry into adult life.

We cannot give our kids that kind of start. We will still be making payments on DH's graduate degree when our oldest goes to college.

Idk. It is kind of demoralizing.

But if you are giving them a stable, loving home where education is valued, they are already far ahead of many children in the US. My husband and I both came from barely middle class backgrounds where finances were always tight. Although we both went to adequate but not great public schools (I never even heard of AP or IB until I went to college and no one prepped for the ACT), both sets of parents greatly valued education and instilled a strong work ethic. Although they were not able to help us much with college, with a combination of scholarships, grants, work study, summer jobs, and small loans we got excellent educations. And two of our three grad degrees were free with the third paid off within five years. Our parents never had the means to help with cars or houses or any big ticket items, but they were always there with love, support, and encouragement. And we are happy now that we can help them as needed.

And I would add that although we are in the position to help our son financially much more than our parents helped us, I still believe that the things our parents provided us and we in turn provided him are far more valuable than money. Yes, he has no debt from college because scholarships paid his tuition, and we covered room and board. But, he worked enough by choice that he could have paid for everything. He chose to work seven days per week every summer (one summer of 60-80 hrs per week as a caregiver in assisted living and three summers of 4-5 days of research related to his degree and 2-3 days at a higher paying sales job) and one day per week during the school year. He knows how to work hard and greatly values education. And we are always there with love, support, and encouragement.
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#8 nixpix5

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:34 PM

DH and I were both the first in our families to go to college at all and getting graduate degrees was huge. Both of us grew up poor and had to work damn hard to get to where we are at. We were even further behind the power curve because we both were parents as teens and came in to our marriage, each with custody of a child of the age of 3. We literally did college with small kids. I remember them sitting in our O chem labs wearing goggles and coloring because we couldn't afford childcare. We were so determined because we didn't want our kids to have to do it. We wanted to be the paver of future generations so the lineage could carry on just as you describe above. I just tell this story because the power of perserverence in the human spirit is amazing. When we want something we find ways through grit and determination. Your friend must have done something right. I have known many kids of privilege that do not fair well despite the parents giving nature. I have seen disadvantaged kids knock it out of the park come hell or high water. Money makes things easier for sure but it isn't a guarantee.
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#9 Liz CA

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:48 PM

DH and I were both the first in our families to go to college at all and getting graduate degrees was huge. Both of us grew up poor and had to work damn hard to get to where we are at. We were even further behind the power curve because we both were parents as teens and came in to our marriage, each with custody of a child of the age of 3. We literally did college with small kids. I remember them sitting in our O chem labs wearing goggles and coloring because we couldn't afford childcare. We were so determined because we didn't want our kids to have to do it. We wanted to be the paver of future generations so the lineage could carry on just as you describe above. I just tell this story because the power of perserverence in the human spirit is amazing. When we want something we find ways through grit and determination. Your friend must have done something right. I have known many kids of privilege that do not fair well despite the parents giving nature. I have seen disadvantaged kids knock it out of the park come hell or high water. Money makes things easier for sure but it isn't a guarantee.

 

Yes and yes. And a big thumbs up for you and your dh! IMHO, this is the kind of inspiration our kids need more than financial resources.
 


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#10 Elizabeth86

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 12:57 PM

Dh and I are better off than our parents were at the same age. The kids are in a better position than dh and I were at their ages.

That right there is enough for us. It says that things are getting better for our family. Slowly, yes, but each generation is building on the one before.


Yes!
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#11 scholastica

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:15 PM

I had no idea what to call this thread. Random thoughts from my shower??

True story. There is a wealthy family. They paid for their kids college, helped them get started with their first house, etc. Which is great and I'd love to do it too (but can't).

Because the daughter had such a solid footing in life, she was able to take the risk of starting a business with help from her parents.

Because the business did well, she was able to start a second business.

Because she has two successful businesses, her kids go to the expensive school, have tutors, sports coaches, etc. There is time for all this because they can afford to outsource the mundane things like lawn care, house cleaning, food prep, etc.

Now her son gets a pretty good scholarship. She is able to pay for the rest of his education, housing, everything. The boy will start adult life in a pretty sweet situation.

She is for sure a hard worker. But I'm not sure any amount of hard work could get her where she is at had she not had such a great entry into adult life.

We cannot give our kids that kind of start. We will still be making payments on DH's graduate degree when our oldest goes to college.

Idk. It is kind of demoralizing.


I guess it all depends on how you define success and whether you see life as a competition for money and things.
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#12 heartlikealion

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:21 PM

don't compare yourself to them

 

Sometimes I catch myself comparing myself to others and it usually isn't a happy place lol. So many people around me have young children and a support system. I do not have a relative I can ask to babysit on a whim. A number of people we know that live in faculty housing like us also own another home! Dh and I are paying on his master's degree and he's going to enroll in school 2018? for another degree. Oh well.

 

I appreciate things more than some people. That's what I like to focus on. I get so excited over little things like scoring 50 cent crayons. There is always someone worse off. I am very blessed.


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#13 heartlikealion

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:35 PM

My post didn't quite make sense. I guess don't compare yourself to people doing better off. Think like Louis CK. Only look in someone else's bowl to make sure they have enough, not to see if you have as much as them.


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#14 Heigh Ho

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:35 PM

Her great entry would not have happened without hard work on her part. The tutors, the sports coached, all nice, but she has to have some talent to develop and the work ethic. plenty of ways to develop.that work ethic at all family income levels. Her parents could be billionaires,but without a work ethic she isnt going to build her own business. Their loan may have made it possible,.as investors in startups don't treat females the same as males. Helping her with her own home doesn't matter , she could live in their home for free.

Plenty of ways for your child to get a college education. The middle class here are finding enlist, then go to university works very well for parental finances. Also have seen dc go to votech in high schol and gain hair cutting or programming skills, then CC on full ride, then transfer to U. Hit your library for more ideas, or read this board.
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#15 happysmileylady

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:39 PM

I am the oldest of 4. My parents gave NONE of us any sort of financial head start like you describe. No helping with college AT ALL. No help with house, nothing like that. And all 4 of us are doing just fine, financially. I got pregnant while in high school, but still had a scholarship that I utilized, have my degree. I am now a SAHM and not using my degree, due to my DH getting HIS degree while we were married AND HAVING our three younger kids, with no help from his parents...in fact active antagonizism at times. We are not rich but we make good enough money. We owned a home but sold it when we moved and we now rent but will own again.

My next sister down owns her own business. My mom works for her but no financial gifts there either. My sister started college but dropped out by choice. She is also married with kids, her spouse also got his college degree while they were married and no help from his parents. Plus they have spent many hours and dollars on custody battles with her DH's ex.

My brother-married, 3 kids, also got his college degree while he was married having kids, home owner, working in his field, and has also paid for flight school and gotten his pilots license debt free, and is saving up to pay for another flight school to ultimately achieve his dream of being a commercial pilot.

My youngest sister has a doctorate, debt free, just purchased her home, having a baby in a month, and her DH also got his degree without help from his parents. No one gave them money for their home either.
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#16 happysmileylady

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:41 PM

Also, just like no financial help is not any guarantee of financial hardship, it's not help is any guarantee of financial success. We have all seen or heard stories of people who get all sorts of help and just blow it all.
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#17 Murphy101

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:46 PM

Moxie - I get it. Been there and doing that right along with you.

It doesn't mean I don't value what I do have.

But there's just no getting around the fact that her success was made tremendously more possible and more successful because of a whole lot more than her work ethic. That exact same hard work would not be enough for most people. That's why stories of those who climb up and out are considered inspiring, news worthy and amazing - exactly bc of how unlikely it is.

It doesn't change how strongly or hard we work or value what we do have. It doesn't mean we harbour any ill-will to those so much better well-situated. But heck yeah. It's frustrating and discouraging to know our work is unlikely to ever pay off as substatially *for our kids* when we are feeling pummeled by circumstances beyond our control.
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#18 MistyMountain

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 01:55 PM

If you look at stats it is hard to change social standing especially more then one rung and the extremes of wealth are a lot more then most people imagine. It is not good to have such inequality. It can be hard yo just get by when you are stretched financially. We are in a catagory where we do not qualify for help but things are very tight. We do the best we can and go without things that would help and hope the kids will find their way into the world so they can at least get by comfortably.
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#19 Murphy101

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:02 PM

We have all seen or heard stories of people who get all sorts of help and just blow it all.


Yes. And again, the reason we hear about them is exactly because they are not the norm. If they were, it wouldn't be news.

Edited by Murphy101, 15 July 2017 - 02:15 PM.

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#20 regentrude

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:07 PM

Just looked up numbers: about 20% of the students at our university are first generation college students. That's not that rare.


Edited by regentrude, 15 July 2017 - 02:07 PM.

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#21 SKL

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:12 PM

My parents couldn't give me anything other than encouraging me and letting me live with them through undergrad.  So that is what they did.  It gave me the ability to focus on my education and getting a decent job, which led to more education and more jobs etc. etc.

 

Whatever you can do will be enough if the kids set out with a good attitude and work ethic.

 

Right now it looks like my kids will have more help i.e. I can pay some for their post-high school education.  I still feel the main support I can give them is to let them know they can count on my encouragement and a place to land.

 

I kinda wish my kids had some sense of needing to work for things though.  It's hard to know the right balance between things they should / shouldn't take for granted.


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#22 JIN MOUSA

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:13 PM

Moxie - I get it. Been there and doing that right along with you.

It doesn't mean I don't value what I do have.

But there's just no getting around the fact that her success was made tremendously more possible and more successful because of a whole lot more than her work ethic. That exact same hard work would not be enough for most people. That's why stories of those who climb up and out are considered inspiring, news worthy and amazing - exactly bc of how unlikely it is.

It doesn't change how strongly or hard we work or value what we do have. It doesn't mean we harbour any ill-will to those so much better well-situated. But heck yeah. It's frustrating and discouraging to know our work is unlikely to ever pay off as substatially *for our kids* when we are feeling pummeled by circumstances beyond our control.

This

 

If you look at stats it is hard to change social standing especially more then one rung and the extremes of wealth are a lot more then most people imagine. It is not good to have such inequality. It can be hard yo just get by when you are stretched financially. We are in a catagory where we do not qualify for help but things are very tight. We do the best we can and go without things that would help and hope the kids will find their way into the world so they can at least get by comfortably.

And this

 

At an individual level, it's fantastic and so encouraging to see people for whom hard work does pay off. However, I think at a society level, the generational-ness (not a word) of poverty is a major problem, especially at the extreme end of the scale. 


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#23 SKL

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:15 PM

I hope my parents didn't feel bad about the fact that they didn't have a dime to help us with college.  Maybe they did feel badly, but they shouldn't have.  They did what they could and frankly, that's more than most parents do post high school.


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#24 Murphy101

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:26 PM

I hope my parents didn't feel bad about the fact that they didn't have a dime to help us with college. Maybe they did feel badly, but they shouldn't have. They did what they could and frankly, that's more than most parents do post high school.


My kids says the same when I feel bad but I still do. I'm obviously biased but I have somehow miraculously managed to have some really amazing great kids who are just really good kind people. I wish I could do so much more for them bc they work their butts off to do the things that people higher up the ladder just don't have to break a sweat for. I worry about them getting discouraged by that disparity and burnt out from the constant scrabble. I worry because I've seen so often how hard it is to maintain optimism in the face of it. I know how hard and unusual it is that Dh and I have managed to do that. (And how sometimes we didn't but managed to pull the other until they could again.) If I could do more to lessen the likelihood of all that? I'd do it in a heartbeat. And yeah, I feel bad sometimes that I can't.
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#25 nixpix5

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 02:54 PM

Just looked up numbers: about 20% of the students at our university are first generation college students. That's not that rare.

This is true for our state colleges as well.

Actually in our area we are seeing a flip. If parents fall in a low income bracket their kids get free college despite poor grades. The kids that are hurting are the middle class. They make too much to qualify for help but not enough to be able to have parents help.

My son went to high school with two friends, one that was a guy with a 3.7 GPA and his parent are considered upper middle class but they don't have much disposable income. Their other friend came from a poorer family. This friend gamed constantly, didn't turn in school work and didn't graduate. The high school put him in a program where he could do high school completion while earning college credit at the community college. Paid for all of his classes, textbooks and even a grant stipend. My son's friend meanwhile could not afford to attend and was working 40 hours per week as a landscaper to raise tuition money. This other friend dropped out of the program, returned the books and got the cash back and spent it. Then the program sought him out, asked him to come back second quarter and did it all for him again. Once again he took the money and dropped the program. Now he wants to go to college (it has been 5 years since this happened) and he got full financial aid. Meanwhile the other boy is 3 classes away from his transfer degree to the University. It has taken him that long to pay. He didn't want to take out loans as an undergrad. One more year and he will be independent from his parents (FAFSA rule) and he can finally qualify for financial aid. The other friend has failed 2 college classes since getting financial aid and is on probation.

This situation broke my heart. He wrote for a number of scholarships but didn't get any because he didn't meet the criteria for the ones he found.

Edited by nixpix5, 15 July 2017 - 02:54 PM.

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#26 teachermom2834

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 03:00 PM

Oh definitely. So many examples of how the rich get richer. Some people have a running start and a safety net. Both those things help tremendously.

We are doing the best we can for our kids and we hope to always have a home they can come back to if necessary. We hope to keep our home even when we don't need the space on a daily basis so that a dc could bring a whole family to stay for awhile. That is more help than dh and I have had and there is some security in knowing you won't be homeless.

I think emphasizing education and a bit of scrappiness and resilience can go a long way. I think also encouraging dc to make a geographic move if necessary to better their situation is important.

Edited by teachermom2834, 15 July 2017 - 03:02 PM.

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#27 DawnM

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 03:04 PM

don't compare yourself to them

 

Sometimes I catch myself comparing myself to others and it usually isn't a happy place lol. So many people around me have young children and a support system. I do not have a relative I can ask to babysit on a whim. A number of people we know that live in faculty housing like us also own another home! Dh and I are paying on his master's degree and he's going to enroll in school 2018? for another degree. Oh well.

 

I appreciate things more than some people. That's what I like to focus on. I get so excited over little things like scoring 50 cent crayons. There is always someone worse off. I am very blessed.

 

I was going to post this as well.

 

My dear friends are far wealthier than we are.  Both are physicians and their house is worth 3-4 times what ours is worth, their kids attend private school, and they have saved up enough for both of them to go to a private college for up to 8 years (since they are both physicians they have saved up enough for their kids to go to college and med-school/grad school.)

 

You know what?  We can't do that.  We have a lower cost house, still nice and in a nice area (IMO) and we are providing PUBLIC school, public college, etc.....

 

BUT, I am just thankful I can provide what I can for my kids.  My oldest is at the community college, $3000 for the year, including fees and books.  He lives at home.  

 

We are still FAR better off than most of the world.  We can provide food, clothing (more than they need!), transportation, and even a lot of wants.  

 

But we also provide what others have mentioned:  love, support, encouragement, guidance, etc....


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#28 MommyLiberty5013

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 03:55 PM

Also, when we view peoples' outward material wealth (cars, homes, vacations, clothing, schools, etc.) all we are seeing is likely the end of a process or the mid-section of a process. I think we have to step back and always ask what those people sacrificed to get all that stuff. Some sacrifices are good. Others are not. What was the work they DID put in and would I be able and/or willing to do the same? Maybe. Maybe not.

 

I have one cousin (with no kids) of a lot of them who has always been very rude to me because I am a SAHM. I brush it off but she digs at my DH through me. He has been "successful" by certain societal standards as a commercial airline pilot. She just attributes it to him being given things and never wants to hear the parts about him making less than $20k out of flight school, living on the floor on an air mattress to save money with a box as a night stand, or being furloughed (losing his job) three times after 9/11 when the airline industry began to crack. She does not want to hear about no Christmas or Thanksgiving because everybody else in the U.S. needs a pilot to get them to their gift-givings and yummy dinners. She does not want to hear about crazy passengers, scary mechanical stuff, and stress of carrying 200 lives in a multi-million dollar 757. She does not want to hear about 4-5 days away at a time from the family. She does not want to hear about the training, interviews, and job hours it took to get on with a major carrier. All she sees is me as a SAHM - an end result.

 

That is my personal story to make the point that what we see IRL is not the full picture of what successful people in their careers deal with to get there. It is a lot of crappy stuff. I have some sympathy. 


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#29 Seasider

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 03:57 PM

We worked our tails off to get the student loans paid off the first year of our marriage - my whole paycheck and then some got thrown at that debt. But boy howdy, the cost of college these days - yikes!

And when I was a college aged kid, that's how all my peers did it - paid their own way. It was doable. But my kids all seem to have friends whose parents are paying for it all, often for multiple children. I think that's great, if they can afford it. But my dh and I do talk between ourselves, wondering if some of those folks are in debt up to their eyeballs, second mortgages and all, to be able to afford to do so.

Edited by Seasider, 15 July 2017 - 03:58 PM.


#30 Frances

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 03:59 PM

This

And this

At an individual level, it's fantastic and so encouraging to see people for whom hard work does pay off. However, I think at a society level, the generational-ness (not a word) of poverty is a major problem, especially at the extreme end of the scale.

I agree that it is a problem along with extreme wealth inequality. I think if things continue at the current pace in the US, we will reach a breaking point. For starters, I would love to see high quality education available for all students and some form of universal healthcare. In relation to the OPs example, I think not having to worry about healthcare would help many would be entrepreneurs.

But we also know from research that certain things can make a difference and stack the odds in your family's favor. A focus on education. Getting married and staying married and having children when you are ready. Providing a stable, functional home life.

And just for me personally, limiting family size has been beneficial. Given how wages have not kept up with inflation in the last couple of decades, I honestly don't think I could handle the stress of trying to provide for a large number of children in this day and age, especially on one income. Growing up in a very Catholic area, large families with stay at home moms was the norm. I had multiple classmates with 8+ siblings.

But the education necessary for my husband's career change to something much more lucrative, less time consuming, and more flexible would not have been possible had I not been able to return to work full-time and continue homeschooling. And at least for us, that would not have been possible with several young children. Of course others could probably have managed just fine.
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#31 regentrude

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:13 PM

But my dh and I do talk between ourselves, wondering if some of those folks are in debt up to their eyeballs, second mortgages and all, to be able to afford to do so.

 

Taking out a home equity loan or refinancing the house can be the financially best solution, because interest rates are lower than those for student loans.* If the student has good employment prospects, this might be a smart investment.

 

*ETA: This used to be true definitely for private loans, but with currently 4.45% for subsidized Stafford loans, it seems to be true even for those as well. And compared to a federal Parent PLus loan with a 7% interest rate, a home equity loan is a lot cheaper.


Edited by regentrude, 15 July 2017 - 04:23 PM.

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#32 Heigh Ho

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:23 PM



And when I was a college aged kid, that's how all my peers did it - paid their own way. It was doable. But my kids all seem to have friends whose parents are paying for it all, often for multiple children. I think that's great, if they can afford it. But my dh and I do talk between ourselves, wondering if some of those folks are in debt up to their eyeballs, second mortgages and all, to be able to afford to do so.


The most common way we have seen is the middle class parents sat down with a financial advisor and decided to sock away a bit for the college fund monthly from the day the child was born. That meant staycations or camping, owning older vehicles rather than leasing, no smart phones in middle school,no weekend beer blasts etc. Second most common is spouse salary goes to pay for education. They of course aren't eligible for any aid, and the ones where mom got cancer or dad had a heart attack but neither died or became disabled are having a really tough time financially. No margin. And the housing bubble popping means the homes aren't going to be sold at a profit.
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#33 monstermama

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:43 PM

Reminds me of this comic.


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#34 GGardner

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:55 PM

Because the daughter had such a solid footing in life, she was able to take the risk of starting a business with help from her parents.

 

Please forgive the minor rabbit trail, but this touches on something I've been thinking about.  Why is risk-taking seen as so critical to success these days?  It seems so un-American to rely on taking risks to get ahead.  Fundamentally, taking a risk means relying on luck, and the United States still has at our core the Puritan ideas of hard work, delayed gratification, and investment (perhaps in oneself) as key to success.  Randomness as a key factor to success seems foreign and wrong to me.  Obviously, there are no sure things, but it strikes me that the most American approach to that is to reduce risk by hard work, education, research, etc., not just by rolling the dice and taking a risk.

 

I feel like we've completely lost the meaning of the work "risk".  We use it colloquially as Moxie did above when talking about starting a business, but how much the the daughter really risk?  Was she ever in danger of becoming homeless and not knowing where her next meal might come from if her business failed?  I doubt it.


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#35 Bluegoat

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:55 PM

Yeah, it's not encouradging.

 

Sure, some people do better, its possible.  But, on a society wide level?  The wealth gap is oincreasing.  Social mobility is down.

 

There is something really interesting to me about this though.  Often, in the US in particular, the lack of institutions to reduce inequality is justified on the grounds that they will hurt the economy somehow.  And by contrast, in those countries with a strong social safety net, the main goal is generally to give everyone a good life, not only serve the interests of business.

 

But, as the OP points out - people having a good start, stability, not too much debt, health care, and all that, really creates a much better climate for people to start businesses and innovate.  And it also means more people have enough to spend on products and services that employ others.


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#36 Bluegoat

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 04:56 PM

Please forgive the minor rabbit trail, but this touches on something I've been thinking about.  Why is risk-taking seen as so critical to success these days?  It seems so un-American to rely on taking risks to get ahead.  Fundamentally, taking a risk means relying on luck, and the United States still has at our core the Puritan ideas of hard work, delayed gratification, and investment (perhaps in oneself) as key to success.  Randomness as a key factor to success seems foreign and wrong to me.  Obviously, there are no sure things, but it strikes me that the most American approach to that is to reduce risk by hard work, education, research, etc., not just by rolling the dice and taking a risk.

 

I feel like we've completely lost the meaning of the work "risk".  We use it colloquially as Moxie did above when talking about starting a business, but how much the the daughter really risk?  Was she ever in danger of becoming homeless and not knowing where her next meal might come from if her business failed?  I doubt it.

 

I think of it beoing more related to a wild-west sort of ideal.



#37 regentrude

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:04 PM

Please forgive the minor rabbit trail, but this touches on something I've been thinking about.  Why is risk-taking seen as so critical to success these days?  It seems so un-American to rely on taking risks to get ahead.  Fundamentally, taking a risk means relying on luck, and the United States still has at our core the Puritan ideas of hard work, delayed gratification, and investment (perhaps in oneself) as key to success.  Randomness as a key factor to success seems foreign and wrong to me.  Obviously, there are no sure things, but it strikes me that the most American approach to that is to reduce risk by hard work, education, research, etc., not just by rolling the dice and taking a risk.

 

I don't agree. This country was settled by people who were risk takers. It was a risky and dangerous enterprise to cross the ocean and settle in an unknown land. Crossing the prairies to settle in Oregon was risky. 

 

on the contrary: I think risk taking has always been intrinsic to the American spirit. If there is any genetic disposition associated with the willingness to rake risks, I would argue that Americans are much more likely to be risk takers than other peoples: they are descendants of immigrants who were a self selected subset of their native peoples that were willing to take an enormous risk. The risk averse, play-it-safe ones stayed in their native countries.


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#38 jdahlquist

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:08 PM

Please forgive the minor rabbit trail, but this touches on something I've been thinking about.  Why is risk-taking seen as so critical to success these days?  It seems so un-American to rely on taking risks to get ahead.  Fundamentally, taking a risk means relying on luck, and the United States still has at our core the Puritan ideas of hard work, delayed gratification, and investment (perhaps in oneself) as key to success.  Randomness as a key factor to success seems foreign and wrong to me.  Obviously, there are no sure things, but it strikes me that the most American approach to that is to reduce risk by hard work, education, research, etc., not just by rolling the dice and taking a risk.

 

I feel like we've completely lost the meaning of the work "risk".  We use it colloquially as Moxie did above when talking about starting a business, but how much the the daughter really risk?  Was she ever in danger of becoming homeless and not knowing where her next meal might come from if her business failed?  I doubt it.

How do you define "risk"?  To me it means something much different than rolling the dice and having a random outcome.  If I think I will get ahead by playing the lottery, I am relying on randomness to try to get ahead.  

 

Farmers face risk.  Not all seeds will grow; there may be too much rain; there may not be enough rain.  There may be pests.  

 

Sailing to America meant taking risks.


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#39 GGardner

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:26 PM

How do you define "risk"?  To me it means something much different than rolling the dice and having a random outcome. 

 

To me, "risk" means that there is a non-trivial amount of randomness controlling the outcome.



#40 Rosie_0801

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:34 PM

My kid is poor and traumatised and will probably begin work on her second business late this year because I was talking to a guy who had something she's been saving for (and would probably have had to save for another six years for) and doesn't want it any more.

 

It's nice to start off rich, but if you have a good business idea and are too poor to have investment connections, you start small.

 

I know people who started off with day jobs and one bookshelf, and now have three businesses.



#41 Murphy101

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:50 PM

Please forgive the minor rabbit trail, but this touches on something I've been thinking about. Why is risk-taking seen as so critical to success these days? It seems so un-American to rely on taking risks to get ahead. Fundamentally, taking a risk means relying on luck, and the United States still has at our core the Puritan ideas of hard work, delayed gratification, and investment (perhaps in oneself) as key to success. Randomness as a key factor to success seems foreign and wrong to me. Obviously, there are no sure things, but it strikes me that the most American approach to that is to reduce risk by hard work, education, research, etc., not just by rolling the dice and taking a risk.

I feel like we've completely lost the meaning of the work "risk". We use it colloquially as Moxie did above when talking about starting a business, but how much the the daughter really risk? Was she ever in danger of becoming homeless and not knowing where her next meal might come from if her business failed? I doubt it.

Randomness? Risk =\= randomness?

Aside from that, our country was literally founded on extreme risk taking treason. And while the textbooks take pride in the successes, they often ignore that many of the colonies failed, most of the settlers/explores died, many of both didn't even survive the trip and the majority of the successes were at the expense of other humans. (Such as slaves and indentured servants and child labor and more examples that enabled the wealthy to take "risks" to become wealthier. The wealthy certainly were taking a business risk, but not nearly to the same extent as those they used.)

Edited by Murphy101, 15 July 2017 - 05:51 PM.

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#42 GGardner

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 05:59 PM

Randomness? Risk =\= randomness?
 

 

 

I don't know what "=\=" means, but risk means randomness is involved in the outcome.  If something is a sure thing, there is no risk.  I don't know why this bugs people so much.  If someone takes a risk and succeeds, luck is at least partially at play.  The dictionary defines risk as "The possibility of loss".



#43 happysmileylady

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 06:10 PM

My DH and one of my sister's DH are both first generation college students. Neither of them came from families where college or even TRYING to better themselves/their situation was looked upon favorably. Or at least in DHs case, as even possible. And when you believe that it's not really possible to improve things, that often becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. It would have been for DH, he has told me often that it wasn't until he met me and my family that it occurred to him that that sort of thing was possible. My sisters DH has said similar.

ETA When I got pregnant at 17, there were a whole lot of narratives (and there still are) about how it's so hard for single moms to make it and on and on, and even at 18, 19, 20, it really began to feel like those messages were oppressive. It was like I wasn't just dealing with the challenges of being a single parent and working and going to school, but just dealing with everyone telling me how it was supposed to be impossible.

Edited by happysmileylady, 15 July 2017 - 06:14 PM.

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#44 Sadie

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 06:38 PM

It's worse than not fair, it's wrong. But I'm a socialist, so I would say that.

Sure as heck not gonna pat Moxie on the head though and console her with the fact she's a lovely mom.

It's unfair. It's dispiriting. We can do our absolute best as people, as parents, but much of the time we begin the game with real disadvantage.

Edited by Sadie, 15 July 2017 - 06:39 PM.

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#45 Diana P.

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 06:41 PM

This is good stuff to think about on a policy level. Lobby your representatives about how issues such as healthcare and university costs are big factors affecting equal access to opportunities for children. 

 

On a personal level, comparisons bog you down and become unhealthy. You need to find happiness in what you have. You need to figure out how to make what you have work and find a way to recognize what you've done as positive. I have a friend who used to live in my neighborhood. In the time I've known her she's never had to work. She did work part time for a while, then fulltime for 3 years. Now, she works significant hours as a volunteer for a program that is very important to her. She is very fortunate. In the time I have known her, her family income has increased significantly, her dc attended one of the most elite schools in the area and she has moved into a spacious home in an elite neighborhood. Her family has a vacation home, her dc had opportunities in sports. Her son was offered a D1 scholarship, but they opted not to take it so he wouldn't be pressured to play in college. He still played d1 in college as a walk on, while his parents paid full tuition at a private school. Her now adult son has a great job and three years out of college is looking at MBA programs. Her daughter also has a good job. Both children have liberal arts undergrad degrees and spent summers in unpaid internships which helped them land good jobs after college with degrees in English, Art History and Classics.  It's all very nice.

 

In the time I've known my friend ( more than twenty years), I still live in the same neighborhood. My dh income went down, not up due to a miscalculation on a job change (so much for risk taking). I gave up home school because I had to work more. But my working was also limited because I needed flexibility to deal with both my ds's have disabilities that needed attention and/or various therapies. We rarely went on vacation. When we started some trips again it was to the beach in a tent at a state park for 3 days. We don't go anywhere for more than that and dh usually doesn't come. When my dd was dancing I didn't encourage looking at summer intensives because I knew we could not pay. My ds just earned his degree from a state university. dd is working on her degree at a state university. 

 

My friend's kids are having an easier start to independent adult living than my kids. I wish I could have given my kids more. I'm grateful for what we did give. My ds never went to soccer camp in Norway, but my dc have memories of watching mom being crazy trying to get a campfire to light (this is a very hit or miss effort on my part). Those are some fun memories. I have been envious. I still am at times, but I know lingering on it just eats away at me personally. It makes me bitter. That state of mind it definitely not going to help my family improve financially or emotionally. So, I have to let it go. 


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#46 Murphy101

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 06:52 PM

I don't know what "=\=" means, but risk means randomness is involved in the outcome. If something is a sure thing, there is no risk. I don't know why this bugs people so much. If someone takes a risk and succeeds, luck is at least partially at play. The dictionary defines risk as "The possibility of loss".

Ahhh. Okay. I see.

While I agree with that definition, there are degrees of risk, yes?

I put money in a bank account. There is a risk the bank will go caput and all my money (like $80 lol) with it. Or I could have it emptied by a scammer/hacker/ID thief, which isn't all that uncommon. But yet, most would not consider it risky of me to do this.

It's not like that risk is on par with putting my money in a slot machine at the casinos.

PS: =\= means "not equal to"

Edited by Murphy101, 15 July 2017 - 06:54 PM.


#47 MommyLiberty5013

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:07 PM

It's worse than not fair, it's wrong. But I'm a socialist, so I would say that.

Sure as heck not gonna pat Moxie on the head though and console her with the fact she's a lovely mom.

It's unfair. It's dispiriting. We can do our absolute best as people, as parents, but much of the time we begin the game with real disadvantage.

I am struggling to understand your remark of a "real disadvantage." How do you define that?



#48 creekland

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:19 PM

There will always be people that are better off than you and people have a worse life than you do.   Focus on the good stuff.    

 

This.  Rule #1 in my family (that I've passed down from what I was taught) is "Life isn't fair.  Get used to it."

 

A ton depends upon the birth lottery and we had absolutely no say in that for our lives - neither did our kids.

 

BUT, happiness doesn't really depend upon money or "toys."  It's an attitude - a way of living.  We enjoy what we have.  Then we figure out what we want, problem solve how to get there, and do what we can to reach our goal.  It takes more work or planning, but there are things that can be done to gain education, decent jobs, and more.

 

I went to a fancy private school for my 10th grade year.  I was on scholarship wearing clothes from the thrift store my grandma managed.  My peers had envy worthy houses (and more), some of them literally oceanfront.  They had far more material things than I did to say the least, but they honestly weren't happier.  I've become less materialistic after my foray as an "exchange student" of sorts at that school.  I developed a love of travel though, so we scrimp and save elsewhere at home and on trips to see what we can and keep other spots in a Bucket List.  

 

I've seen too many folks green with envy at what money can buy and it seems like they miss out on "life" in the meantime with what they do have or can work/save for.  That, to me, is sad.

 

And yes, I do think the growing wealth disparity in our country doesn't bode well... but that's a separate "big picture" thread more than the "crap, life's not fair" feeling we all get at times when we start comparing ourselves to those who got a better number in the birth lottery.

 

But that is not the only way!

You don't need expensive private schools or tutors. Kids can be successful being homeschooled or attending ps.

There are other posters on this board who have large families and cannot assist their kids with college cost. Their kids choose their college based on finances and get full scholarships. 

I teach at a public university.  Most of our students have been educated in public school. We have students from poor rural areas, first generation college students.The average starting salary for our graduates fresh out of college is 59k. They can pay off their student loans quickly.

Sure, it is always easier if parents have money, but it is still possible for kids to get ahead, get an education, have a great career, even if their parents cannot assist them financially.

ETA: And the greatest gift parents can give their children is a functional and stable family. Kids from this background will do fine. Its the kids who come from dysfunctional families who are at the biggest disadvantage.

 

Your whole post is good, but your ETA is golden.


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#49 imagine.more

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:45 PM

Moxie - I get it. Been there and doing that right along with you.

It doesn't mean I don't value what I do have.

But there's just no getting around the fact that her success was made tremendously more possible and more successful because of a whole lot more than her work ethic. That exact same hard work would not be enough for most people. That's why stories of those who climb up and out are considered inspiring, news worthy and amazing - exactly bc of how unlikely it is.

It doesn't change how strongly or hard we work or value what we do have. It doesn't mean we harbour any ill-will to those so much better well-situated. But heck yeah. It's frustrating and discouraging to know our work is unlikely to ever pay off as substatially *for our kids* when we are feeling pummeled by circumstances beyond our control.


I totally agree.

There is a clear disparity of wealth and opportunity and it is discouraging. The fact is my kids will work hard and it won't go quite as far as a kid's hard work when aided by extra opportunities.

I think what helps me stay sane and keep a healthy perspective is to focus on progress, not perfection. So it's okay if my incredibly intelligent son cannot go to an Ivy league school like his equally smart aunt did. What we can afford is to give him the educational and emotional support to attend a well respected state or private school on a full scholarship so he graduates without debt. Like others have mentioned, emotional support and the wisdom of experience can be very valuable. So since that's a resource we can afford, that's what we make sure to provide. And we hope to ensure a slightly better education and lifestyle for our kids....and then it'll be even better for our grandkids, and so on. It's slow, and frustrating, and not a foolproof system, but it's what we have to work with. :)
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#50 Gaillardia

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 09:46 PM

When things aren't working out and you know you have to do something different because this way doesn't work and hasn't worked for a long time... make a different kind of choice; it requires what some would call a risk and others would call a leap of faith, then is when things will begin to change. It takes too long, we whine; it's too hard, we think; there's too much else at stake or occupying our time...do it. Just do it. It starts with thought.

 

And if you don't do it, because for whatever reason you can't (because you take care of a handicapped family member), don't give up. Keep looking forward to that brighter day. Don't say you're too old either.

 

 

 

 


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