No. of Recommendations: 4

Nice try. In the case of Dubya, every time he screwed up in business, some angel (Saudi's are suspected but only the principals know for sure.) bailed him out at prices that made him richer than ever.

Some years ago, we had our concrete driveway replace. We contracted with a company and the work was done by Hispanics, none of whom spoke English, including the foreman. Well, these guys worked as hard as anyone ever saw. It is well known that physical work won't get you very far unless you have exceptional talent in professional sports.

Let's face it rk. Most of us who have done reasonably well, got a helping hand along the way, or two or three or more. And skill is very nice, but luck is hard to beat. Yes, I worked hard but had a lot of luck too. I lost my little investment kitty in 1973-1974 when my investment adviser got me involved in the margin. I ended up running all around the country having to cover margin calls while I was doing my work. Talk about stress. I tried to talk my adviser into selling everything at one point in 1973 but he talked me into stay put except for selling control Data at $25/sh when I bought it at $35/sh (It was to go down to $10/sh). I did sell everything finally but my kitty was wiped out. I was so burned I only invested in CD's and MMF's through the 1980s (also kept my BRE) so I missed out on the Reagan stock market. But here is the good part. I did carefully enter back into stocks in the Clinton period and was lucky enough to make out very well. Amazing how smart you are in a rising market!

Well, I don't know what is ahead, but with any luck we will be comfortable, not wealthy enough to self insure (though I am doing that for one of us instead of long-term care insurance). We are fortunate to live in the age of Medicare. I had a spine operation last year and the Medicare approved bills exceeded $100,000. The actual bills were more, something like $50,000 more (one $25,000 bill was reduced to $500+ by Medicare for example). Medicare covered about 95% of the charges and our backup insurance covered, essentially, the rest. I might comment that with the Medicare B rising as it does (13.3% last year, 17.1% this year) and our backup insurance rising as it has (13.6% last year, 18% this year), we qualify for a health deduction on our income tax before there are any dental bills, etc., not covered by insurance. Our property tax went up 23% three years ago and 15% this year (with further increases promised) You have to be good or lucky in your investments to stay ahead of that type of increase. Fortunately, last year we did. But this is another year.

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