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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 2:12 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:01 am
Posts: 5398
Eagle wrote:
I'm not sure I appreciate the tone of this message but I will try to respond in cordial manner addressing the issue at hand. Usually I agree with your logic doinghomework. In fact from what I’ve read you, doinghomework, are one of the better minds on these forums. Not sure if this was just a bad day or what.
...
Both Financial Peace and Crown Financial have helped lots of people get out of debt. I know this from personal experience. I used Financial Peace to help me better understand budgeting, reduce my debt with the “debt snowball strategy”, and having the freedom to live debt free. I went from being thousands of dollars in debt to being debt free. So it is a valid system. Just not for everyone. I just mentioned Crown Financial because I'd heard of it before. Please specify which program you have used or recommend.

I'm looking for constructive feedback not a beat down. Nor am I interested in a debate about religion.

We may agree to disagree on religion. My roommate in college and I disagreed on many issues but we still got along. People do every day. Different isn't always better or worse. It is just different. The topic of this thread is what to do with a financially strapped person you care for.

I appreciate that you think I generally make helpful postings here. I have enjoyed most of your postings as well Mr. Eagle and I think you give good advice overall. I truly believe that you should practice whatever religious beliefs you want but if you want to bring them in to the finance arena then you ought to think more critically first.

If you want to profess your faith here then I will ignore your postings since I am neither a moderator nor the owner of this board. Whether they choose to allow that is up to them. But as long as this is a finance forum, I am going to promote what I think is sound thinking about finances. And if someone mentions a company that I believe is not giving sound advice, I'm going to pint that out.

When you start suggesting that some firm that uses the financial distress of others to promote a religious agenda is somehow a solution, you have crossed a line in my opinion. Those firms are not helping people like your friend. If you don't understand that then you have more learning ahead of you. And, while Dave Ramsey's top-level advice to get out of debt may be positive, his method (snowball) unarguably costs people extra money, and his promotion of his product (which he charges for) at churches is highly suspect. If such a product were promoted at Mensa conventions or other places where people think critically without the influence of religion they'd be unsuccessful. I think he knows that. So yes, I have it in for firms like Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial that take advantage of people because (in my opinion) there brains function less well than others. The shell out money they can't afford for advice they could get for free simply because it comes at a church they've been brainwashed to believe.

I don't care to debate you about religion. It would be fruitless. I think rationally and could never believe in an invisible man up there. I don't believe in anything without evidence that I can personally reproduce. You apparently do. It would be logically impossible for me to prove the nonexistence of a god and you would ultimately have to declare a reliance on faith to justify your beliefs.

If you want to believe in gods or lake spirits or whatever then that is your choice and I really don't care. But please recognize that people like DR seem to target religious people because they don't think rationally. How else could he convince someone to spend money on an approach that is freely available online or elsewhere and then make a little modification that appeals to minds that don't think, that paying extra interest is somehow helpful. And if that is not enough he goes on to give information that is either a lie of so terribly ignorant that it is potentially damaging.

DoingHomework wrote:
Your friend is a deadbeat.


Eagle wrote:
Once again this is not a helpful paragraph. I know my friend made mistakes. But he is not a looser. He made over 100k a year at a fortune 500 company and worked there for almost 20 years. Understand that his wife was just as much to blame as he was. Maybe even more so. It takes two to tango. She spent both his and her paychecks, she lived beyond their means to impress family/friends, she tried to control all aspects of his life (she handled the finances), maxed out the credit cards in his name while maintaining her credit cards with no balances, and she ended up cleaning out what was left of their mutual savings accounts.

As to the reason why he tried to reduce his child support. is his wife made over 100k a year as well. He was living off of 25k a year. Yet she was receiving $700 a month of his $1500 paycheck. Do the math. He couldn’t even support himself with basic necessities. She had the house he paid for. He gave it up for his little girl to have a good home to grow up in. Plus he got stuck with all the credit card debt which she charged. I hope that sheds some light on the matter.

Suggestions: I’ve suggested he declare bankruptcy now that his daughter is full grown and has a full athletic scholarship to a great university. As I understand it he would need to have about $1500-2000 to get a lawyer to process the bankruptcy.

Anyone else have other suggestion and/or constructive feedback?


I don't know the details of the situation so I will not comment further except to say that, regardless of the history, how could a guy try to not pay his child support. The amount was determined by some judge that looked at all the facts. He had the ability to pay then screwed it up with his own behavior. Let me guess, now he has joined your church hoping for help. Sounds like a manipulator to me.

Eagle, I have nothing against you. I think you have made great posts for the most part. It sounds like you've also come to the same general conclusion that your friend is not worth the effort. And your religion is none of my business. But if you choose to bring it into a finance discussion then I hope you are prepared to justify your statements in some rational way that stands up to analysis.


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 2:25 am 
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Eagle wrote:
Please specify which program you have used or recommend.

I recommend taking math through college algebra, preferably calculus. A statistics class is also very helpful.

I further recommend reading several classic books on personal finance. There are several book lists online.

A few courses in critical thinking would also be very helpful. Finally, maybe taking some academic courses in near-east history will teach how silly modern islamojudeochristianity is. You will understand how they are all vestiges of ancient belief systems that you'd laugh at because they seem so idiotic. But because they've been shaped over the centuries they still have a lot of followers.


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 4:39 am 
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Posts: 1114
First of all I want to be teachable. I realize I don’t have all the answers. After reading the forums on this site for a while I finally decided to join the discussions. I guess to me it just felt like you were projecting on my friend Tony your frustrations with your parent (as with Stannius’s situation). If this is not the case then I do apologize.

Second I didn’t intend on bringing religion into the conversation. (Even though I do believe that a person's belief system does in fact shape his or her view of money/finances.) I’m just not familiar with other resources that help people get out of debt, etc. Forgive me if I offended you it was not my intention.

DoingHomework wrote:
Eagle wrote:
I'm not sure I appreciate the tone of this message but I will try to respond in cordial manner addressing the issue at hand. Usually I agree with your logic doinghomework. In fact from what I’ve read you, doinghomework, are one of the better minds on these forums. Not sure if this was just a bad day or what.
...
I'm looking for constructive feedback not a beat down. Nor am I interested in a debate about religion.

The topic of this thread is what to do with a financially strapped person you care for.


I appreciate that you think I generally make helpful postings here. I have enjoyed most of your postings as well Mr. Eagle and I think you give good advice overall. I truly believe that you should practice whatever religious beliefs you want but if you want to bring them in to the finance arena then you ought to think more critically first.

If you want to profess your faith here then I will ignore your postings since I am neither a moderator nor the owner of this board. Whether they choose to allow that is up to them. But as long as this is a finance forum, I am going to promote what I think is sound thinking about finances. And if someone mentions a company that I believe is not giving sound advice, I'm going to pint that out.


You do make helpful posts. In fact I do respect your opinions and value your advice. And if you would like to question a company that may have flaws I agree that is your right as well. However, no system is perfect to my understanding. This was the first thread that has puzzled me regarding your thoughts. As you pointed out I have a right to whatever religious beliefs (or rejection thereof) I desire to pursue. As do you. I think we agree on that.

The reason I mentioned Dave Ramsey once again was because this was the program I was familiar with and have used in the past. If there is such a free debt reduction program (and a better one at that) please let me know where to find it. I’m not closed to other options or resources. Thus the reason for me asking the questions and getting advice :)

I am trying to be teachable and open to other ideas to help my friend (and myself/others in the future).

DoingHomework wrote:
When you start suggesting that some firm that uses the financial distress of others to promote a religious agenda is somehow a solution, you have crossed a line in my opinion. Those firms are not helping people like your friend. If you don't understand that then you have more learning ahead of you. And, while Dave Ramsey's top-level advice to get out of debt may be positive, his method (snowball) unarguably costs people extra money, and his promotion of his product (which he charges for) at churches is highly suspect.


I was skeptical of DR as well. However, I borrowed his material for free from a relative and this is why I listened to/watched his course. I didn’t pay 1 cent for his advice. In fact I just took what he suggested and personalized it. I made an excel sheet that works just as well as all his forms. While there may be other free (once again I’d like to know the details of this/these sources) resources out there what I took away from DR wasn’t necessarily the religious element but the basic financial principles: Spend Less than you Make, Budget, Pay off Debt, Save for An Emergency, Invest Wisely, etc. I guess one of the beefs some people have with DR is he promotes giving money to churches (tithe) and brings in the religious aspect of things (albeit a pretty “light” version of religion according to some?). In my view DR is just a communicator. He translates financial ideas into ideas average people can grasp. Perhaps because he can dumb it down for just regular folk is why he charges for his services. Also let me point out he was just one of the resources we used to help us get out of debt.

Please help me understand how the debt snowball method costs people extra money. I suppose it is because he tackles the smallest debt first instead of the one with the highest interest rate?

DoingHomework wrote:
If such a product were promoted at Mensa conventions or other places where people think critically without the influence of religion they'd be unsuccessful. I think he knows that. So yes, I have it in for firms like Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial that take advantage of people because (in my opinion) there brains function less well than others. The shell out money they can't afford for advice they could get for free simply because it comes at a church they've been brainwashed to believe.


I consider myself somewhat intelligent. But my wife has told me that my brain doesn’t always function properly. :) As I mentioned before I didn’t pay a cent for DR’s advice. Nor did anyone at any church require me to pay anything. I do not consider myself brainwashed. In fact I am open to other people’s ideas.

DoingHomework wrote:
And if that is not enough he goes on to give information that is either a lie of so terribly ignorant that it is potentially damaging.


Please specify what DR teaches that are lies or ignorant. Understand I like DR like I like certain flavors of ice cream (solutions to financially issues). Say DR is plain vanilla. If there are better flavors out there I want to be aware of them and even perhaps try them out.

DoingHomework wrote:
Eagle wrote:
DoingHomework wrote:
Your friend is a deadbeat.


As to the reason why he tried to reduce his child support is his wife made over 100k a year as well. He was living off of 25k a year. Yet she was receiving $700 a month of his $1500 paycheck. Do the math. He couldn’t even support himself with basic necessities. She had the house he paid for. He gave it up for his little girl to have a good home to grow up in. Plus he got stuck with all the credit card debt which she charged. I hope that sheds some light on the matter.
Anyone else have other suggestion and/or constructive feedback?


I don't know the details of the situation so I will not comment further except to say that, regardless of the history, how could a guy try to not pay his child support. The amount was determined by some judge that looked at all the facts.


Please read the above explanation. Tony wasn't trying not to pay. He was trying to get the amount paid proportianate to his income in order to be able to being able to pay for basic necessities for himself (food, shelter, clothing, transportation) and pay the child support.

The woman stole his lunch, kept his kid, kept his house, and still wasn’t satisfied. The money they had jointly went to pay off the house and to partially pay the credit cards in his name.

He was totally screwed over. (“Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” By William Congreve may be an analogy applicable here)

He was living on an income below poverty limit, had no shelter, no food, and couldn’t get a better job due to the fact he had no transportation (credit is shot so not really much of a chance to get a car loan) to improve his situation (he walked to work). He lived on less than $800 a month (yes, the job was pretty pitiful but in this economy we were thankful) Would you like to know what his ex-wife told their daughter they needed Tony’s money ($700 amonth) for? She said it was so the Ex and daughter could get their nails done every week, hair done every week, pay for cell phones, so they could afford any/all HD programming, and for them being able to eat out every day of the week. What a thing to tell a child… Yet Tony never did get behind on child support. He may have lost 30 or 40 pounds due to malnutrition in the process. But I digress. It’s really a complicated situation and I agree there’s no point in talking further about it.

DoingHomework wrote:
He had the ability to pay then screwed it up with his own behavior. Let me guess, now he has joined your church hoping for help. Sounds like a manipulator to me.


The company that he worked for fired him because he made too much money as he had loyally worked at his employer for too long. They brought in someone to do the same job at one-fourth the cost. That’s just good ‘Ol corporate America for you. People get near fifty and somehow turn from an asset to a liability.

Nice guess. However, no you’re wrong about Tony joining any church. Tony doesn’t even attend any religious organization. I met him through work. We have been friends for years. He remained my friend during a very hard season in my life when others turned their backs on me. I am loyal to my friends.

DoingHomework wrote:
Eagle, I have nothing against you. I think you have made great posts for the most part. It sounds like you've also come to the same general conclusion that your friend is not worth the effort. And your religion is none of my business.


I really have nothing against you either doinghomework. I do value your thoughts even though we may not agree on everything. But then that is the beauty of humanity – diversity. This is the great ability to share the same space without having to have the same ideals, values, or beliefs.

You’re right on the conclusion. It is sad but I have come to realize that helping my friend is just not a sound investment. This is actually a very sad realization as I write it out. But I don’t give up hope that maybe, just maybe Tony may call me someday to start a budget and get his life in order. It’s a long shot I know and may never happen.

Kind regards,

_________________
~ Eagle


Last edited by Eagle on Wed May 30, 2012 4:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 4:49 am 
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Posts: 1114
DoingHomework wrote:
Eagle wrote:
Please specify which program you have used or recommend.


I recommend taking math through college algebra, preferably calculus. A statistics class is also very helpful.

I further recommend reading several classic books on personal finance. There are several book lists online.


While I can agree algebra and calculus may be helpful (I took both of these in high school and college) they don't really give clear, measurable steps on how to resolve excessive debt.

This seems like a simple plan:

1) Save up $1,000 emergency fund
2) Pay off all consumer loans (Credit Cards, and other high interest rate loans)
3) Pay off your cars
4) Save up 4-6 months of living expenses emergency fund
5) Invest for the future (401K, Mutual funds, Roth IRA, etc.)
6) Pay off the house
7) Be financially independant

Maybe it's just because I like making a list and crossing off things I accomplish.

I also should mention I took statistics in college and again for my masters. While it was useful it didn't quite bring everything together.

Which classical books do you recommend?

_________________
~ Eagle


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 5:23 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1778
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Eagle wrote:
Please help me understand how the debt snowball method costs people extra money. I suppose it is because he tackles the smallest debt first instead of the one with the highest interest rate?


Precisely.

Eagle wrote:
Please specify what DR teaches that are lies or ignorant.


My biggest beef with Dave Ramsey is covered in this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 5:43 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1778
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Eagle wrote:
This seems like a simple plan:

1) Save up $1,000 emergency fund
2) Pay off all consumer loans (Credit Cards, and other high interest rate loans)
3) Pay off your cars
4) Save up 4-6 months of living expenses emergency fund
5) Invest for the future (401K, Mutual funds, Roth IRA, etc.)
6) Pay off the house
7) Be financially independant


That's a fine plan, and if your friend could follow this plan, he'd be home free.

I don't know your friend, but it sounds to me like he has a habit of making bad decisions. He married the wrong woman, had a kid he probably shouldn't have (because he was married to the wrong woman), and was vastly overpaid at his job. The reason we know he was overpaid is because if he was truly worth $100k, he'd have found another job paying $100k by now. The fact that he can only find jobs paying substantially lower is proof that he was overpaid before. Also, he made $100k for 20 years, and has nothing to show for it. You can blame that on his wife if you want, but the fact that he preferred to live in blissful ignorance and let his wife run his finances is just one more poor decision he made.

As others have said, you cannot save people from themselves. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

Eagle wrote:
Which classical books do you recommend?


Here's my recommended reading list. It sounds like your friend would also benefit from more general (non-finance) self-help books, such as the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He's likely pretty miserable, and at risk of plunging into full-blown depression, if he's not already there.


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 7:06 am 
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kombat wrote:
Eagle wrote:
Please help me understand how the debt snowball method costs people extra money. I suppose it is because he tackles the smallest debt first instead of the one with the highest interest rate?


Precisely.

Eagle wrote:
Please specify what DR teaches that are lies or ignorant.


My biggest beef with Dave Ramsey is covered in this thread.

azphx1972 wrote:
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend his advice to someone who is struggling with debt and unable to control their spending. I would just tell them to stop listening to Dave once they get out of debt. :D
from the above thread.

After reviewing the thread you mentioned I think this comment by azphx1972 about sums up my stance on Dave Ramsey. Thanks for the info!

_________________
~ Eagle


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 12:27 pm 
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Posts: 5398
kombat wrote:
Eagle wrote:
This seems like a simple plan:

1) Save up $1,000 emergency fund
2) Pay off all consumer loans (Credit Cards, and other high interest rate loans)
3) Pay off your cars
4) Save up 4-6 months of living expenses emergency fund
5) Invest for the future (401K, Mutual funds, Roth IRA, etc.)
6) Pay off the house
7) Be financially independant


That's a fine plan, and if your friend could follow this plan, he'd be home free.

I don't know your friend, but it sounds to me like he has a habit of making bad decisions. He married the wrong woman, had a kid he probably shouldn't have (because he was married to the wrong woman), and was vastly overpaid at his job. The reason we know he was overpaid is because if he was truly worth $100k, he'd have found another job paying $100k by now. The fact that he can only find jobs paying substantially lower is proof that he was overpaid before. Also, he made $100k for 20 years, and has nothing to show for it. You can blame that on his wife if you want, but the fact that he preferred to live in blissful ignorance and let his wife run his finances is just one more poor decision he made.

As others have said, you cannot save people from themselves. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

Eagle wrote:
Which classical books do you recommend?


Here's my recommended reading list. It sounds like your friend would also benefit from more general (non-finance) self-help books, such as the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He's likely pretty miserable, and at risk of plunging into full-blown depression, if he's not already there.


+1

The plan is fine although I'd throw in some THINKING rather than just blindly following even that plan. The choice of whether to pay off a loan involves a comparison of interest rates and alternative uses of the money. Saving $1000 for an emergency fund is fine but it is more of a psychological milestone than something of significant financial impact. I'd also argue that people should begin investing, especially in retirement accounts, earlier in the list.

The point is, people should engage their brain rather than just doing what DR or anyone else tells them to do. If they don't yet have the knowledge to think critically about finances then they should focus on educating themselves. Kombat's book list is a great start.


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 5:13 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1778
Location: Ottawa, Canada
DoingHomework wrote:
The plan is fine although I'd throw in some THINKING rather than just blindly following even that plan.


Oh absolutely. If he can do all those things and improve his critical thinking skills and general financial knowledge, that'd be even better. However, even if he just blindly follows the steps and doesn't really understand why, he'll be miles ahead of where he is now.

It's like those people who critisize people for saving 10% of their income in insurance company mutual funds. "Don't you know their fees are higher than a discount brokerage like Vanguard? Do you even know what funds you're invested in?" No, they probably don't - but they're way ahead of their peers who aren't saving anything at all, and who are just blowing their cash on iPads and overpriced coffee. Sure a deeper understanding would be better, but just doing something is better than doing nothing, even if that "something" isn't exactly optimal.


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:20 am 
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kombat wrote:
Oh absolutely. If he can do all those things and improve his critical thinking skills and general financial knowledge, that'd be even better. However, even if he just blindly follows the steps and doesn't really understand why, he'll be miles ahead of where he is now.

It's like those people who critisize people for saving 10% of their income in insurance company mutual funds. "Don't you know their fees are higher than a discount brokerage like Vanguard? Do you even know what funds you're invested in?" No, they probably don't - but they're way ahead of their peers who aren't saving anything at all, and who are just blowing their cash on iPads and overpriced coffee. Sure a deeper understanding would be better, but just doing something is better than doing nothing, even if that "something" isn't exactly optimal.


I'm inclined to agree with you but have an important reservation.

Many people get sucked into annuities as their first venture into investing and those are often such horrible investments that doing nothing would actually be better.

I would agree though that being paralyzed with no knowing what to do and waiting too long to get started can also be bad.

But again, as you say, even those people might be way ahead of everyone else.


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:27 am 
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Posts: 1114
kombat wrote:
Eagle wrote:
This seems like a simple plan:

1) Save up $1,000 emergency fund
2) Pay off all consumer loans (Credit Cards, and other high interest rate loans)
3) Pay off your cars
4) Save up 4-6 months of living expenses emergency fund
5) Invest for the future (401K, Mutual funds, Roth IRA, etc.)
6) Pay off the house
7) Be financially independant


That's a fine plan, and if your friend could follow this plan, he'd be home free.

I don't know your friend, but it sounds to me like he has a habit of making bad decisions. He married the wrong woman, had a kid he probably shouldn't have (because he was married to the wrong woman), and was vastly overpaid at his job. The reason we know he was overpaid is because if he was truly worth $100k, he'd have found another job paying $100k by now. The fact that he can only find jobs paying substantially lower is proof that he was overpaid before. Also, he made $100k for 20 years, and has nothing to show for it. You can blame that on his wife if you want, but the fact that he preferred to live in blissful ignorance and let his wife run his finances is just one more poor decision he made.

As others have said, you cannot save people from themselves. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

Eagle wrote:
Which classical books do you recommend?


Here's my recommended reading list. It sounds like your friend would also benefit from more general (non-finance) self-help books, such as the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He's likely pretty miserable, and at risk of plunging into full-blown depression, if he's not already there.


Thanks for this list of resources. I'll check a book out at the local library this week. Maybe even go this weekend.

Yes you are right I cannot keep making excuses for him. It seems Tony has made bad decisions all his life and is now reaping what he sowed.

Update: I talked to him this week about starting a simple budget with no result.

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

Imobility or indecision can be a killer. Move forward!

"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." - Yogi Berra

A man without a plan is destined to fail.

_________________
~ Eagle


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 Post subject: Re: Parents financially strapped...
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:41 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1778
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Eagle wrote:
"If you come to a fork in the road, take it." - Yogi Berra

Imobility or indecision can be a killer. Move forward!

"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else." - Yogi Berra

A man without a plan is destined to fail.


One of my favorites: "If you don't change your direction, you'll get where you're going."

Where's Tony going?


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