Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"To whom much is given, much is expected."

The wealth one accumulates in life is the gift that must also provide to others -- and that is where most people have no idea of the implications: all they know how to do is acquire more, and they can never get to that point in their lives in which they realize -- they now must be the ones to create the gift of future society, beyond more than how they can benefit from social interactions over others.

There is an all too familiar case of a couple being accused and prosecuted for "stealing" $300,000 over the course of ten years, or roughly $30,000 a year -- by a couple who took over the complete caregiving of an elderly individual -- for which it is never mentioned that they were ever compensated or given consideration in any other way. That has to be worth something, and to my mind, that kind of complete caregiving from unrelated people, has to be worth at least $20,000 a year in consideration, which is the amount allowed to be transferred by any individual to any other individual without an employer or tax consideration necessarily being triggered. With family, those limits are even more generous because it is difficult if not impossible to itemize and distinguish the actual beneficiary.

That would be a wise thing to do for anybody with sufficient assets to actually begin to spend them for that purpose -- and not as a vague promise of compensation when they are dead, when a lot of people then expect to be extremely generous -- or even fair to others in this regard, after they have enjoyed that wealth to their exclusive benefit. Thus, many think that no money should be exchanged unless it is to a complete stranger engaged in that "profession."

Most people in our society, have developed an "entitlement" mentality -- rather than a fair exchange or market mentality, in which they realize, to get value, they have to exchange value -- and not that they are simply entitled because they are old, entitled and rich.

That is the part of the retirement equation that is never discussed -- how does one spend that nest egg they've accumulated to good effect? In trips around the world, acquiring more wealth for themselves, exploiting and living off of the generosity of the poor and compassionate, or by their proper regard for other people's time, energy, thought and efforts, they create the best possible network of supportive people in their lives -- not just for monetary considerations, but neither exploiting the good will of others unilaterally and exhaustively.

The reason a lot of people become vulnerable as financial prey, is because they look or develop exploitative relationships -- and thus, at the moment of their own vulnerability, they become the prey -- because they have not effected previously, an understanding of what is mutually fair and advantageous, with fair and trusted people. Many people's fairness is simply to get as much as they can, while giving as little as possible, or nothing in return.

If one looks at the craigslist, there is usually someone advertising for another to give 24/7 caregiving in exchange for "free rent." However, that person, must agree not only to be at the beck and call of the individual cared for, but all the relatives connected to that individual, whose sole function is to "conserve" the estate of the "dying" individual, of which they, the "tenant" is therefore expected to pay the ultilities, insurance and mortgage because they are getting "free rent."

This is a far more common greed than a few hucksters preying on the elderly as though they were their exclusive cash cows, especially if it is one individual involved with another individual, as opposed to those living off of many as an enterprise. That's where I would draw the line between overarching greed and simply the innumerable bad and exploitative relationships many have without even thinking about them until they realize, they are no longer the predators, but the prey.


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