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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Self Expression

Who is relevant? Who is important? What is important? Who matters? I'm not talking about Time magazine's 100 most influential people of the year but about people who we come into contact in our everyday life, people we work with, our friends in Facebook, our family. What we choose to say to each other when we meet, or call or text or share or comment in real time or electronically, they all say something about us. Do we only talk about our work, our family, our political views, our obsessions, our travels, our opinions, our love life, celebrities, food, kids, clothes? Do other peoples obsessions become out pet peeves at some point, do we get board, annoyed, tired from reading the same things from the same people all the time? Do we sometimes ask ourselves, who cares? I'll be honest, I do judge people in my mind all the time. On the surface I'm very accepting of all people because I love people in general. I don't care about gender, sexuality, nationality or religion. That doesn't mean I can be friends with all of them or would like any type of relationship with them. But inside I make judgments by what they talk about, what they say they read or don't read, what TV news or programs they watch, who they like and even what they wear. I think most people will not admit to being judgmental because it's not a desirable trait, but I admit that I am a judgmental person and I also think most people are like me in this regard. I wrote this because I needed to express something and now I'm not sure what it really was.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

ONE HOUR FOR A LIFETIME

When my son was growing up I was a new emigrant, a part time student and a part time fast food restaurant employee, I was basically trying to survive in this new word. In a matter of few months my world had turned upside down. I had left my mom and dad, sisters and brothers in Iran to come to America where my fiance was waiting for me. We got married within two weeks of my arrival. He was going to college and I also registered and started taking ESL classes. It was my husband's idea to have a child right away. He said all our challenges will be over at the same time, by the time we would graduate our kid would be in school. I was young , in love and stupid so I agreed. I guess in his mind the division of labor was like this, he would go to school and work to support us, and I would go to school and raise the kid. But obviously he hadn't counted on school being so expensive for foreign students that only one of us could go to school. Our parents were sending money from Iran for school bur only enough for one of us. I really don't know who's decision it was that the one going to school would be him but I have a pretty good hunch that being from middle east and from traditional families we both felt that with him being educated he would be in a better position to make a good living. So he went and I stayed home to care for our son. There is a point to my story, however I first need to explain why I did not do the things that I'm suggesting you to do. When I was young, I was selfish and I thought of myself only. I wanted to get an education, I wanted to have a carrier, I had dreams and goals. But I also had a son. I should have thought about his future, his education, his dreams and his success. But instead I felt that something or someone had stolen my dreams and there were boulders on my road to success. I was full of resentment and bitterness, I blamed everything and everybody. At this point in my life I have made peace with the wrong decisions of my youth, I have forgiven my husband for forcing me into motherhood way before I was ready, I have forgiven myself for not being a better mother, I have settled all my resentments and berried my regrets. Not only I was too busy feeling sorry for myself but also I basically knew nothing about saving for college, I only had a checking account to pay bills, we could hardly make ends meet let alone save for college. Then years latter I started working in the banking and investment industry and learned about financial planing. It was way too late for my children. My son went to community college, state university and graduated medical school with a $300,000.00 burden of student loans. He worked part time while in college and a year before starting medical school. We helped as much as we could, not from savings but from current earnings and it was difficult to say the least. It hurt us to see him struggle and have to do without. But we are proud that he stuck to his vision and reached his goal. Yet it could have been much easier and a whole lot less stressful if we had planned. This is where I am going to tell you to do what I failed to do because of my self absorption and ignorance. Your children deserve the best life. I know as loving parents you want everything that is the best in life for them. You want them to be happy and healthy of course but you want them to have good paying jobs, and that only comes from a solid education. All you new parents and parents to be, start thinking about this matter now. Set the stage for their success now. Lay the foundation, pave the road, make it possible for them to see their bright future. Start savings for your kids future as soon as they are born. Even if they are a few years old it is not too late. It is easy and simple, go to any major bank and ask to speack to the financial advisor, or go on line to Fidelity Investments and set up a 529 college savings plan. You can start with a $100.00 and have them transfer money from your checking account, any amount you want once a month. Once you do this you don't have to think about it anymore. Every parent can save up to $250,000.00 per child tax free. If one child doesn't use it for education another child in the family can. Set your child's future on the right track, remember your children deserve the best. Invest one hour in the future of your child now and set them up for a great life.

The ScholarShare College Savings Plan is California's tax-advantaged 529 plan, open to everyone. It's sponsored by the ScholarShare Investment Board, an agency of the State of California, and managed by Fidelity Investments.

Vanguard College Savings Center


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't take them with you

He lost his job and he killed his wife, his two sons , his mother-in-law and himself. Stupid stupid man. You probably deserved to die but who gave you the right to take them with you. Those innocent human beings that may have enjoyed life even after your tragic demise. I'm no stranger to thoughts of suicide. When I was a teenager any disagreement with my parents would make a good excuse to kill myself, in adulthood I have had my share of tragedies and disappointments to fill a few life times and again suicide has always seemed the easy way out. But easy for whom? It certainly is easy and a final end to the suffering of the person committing it but for the family and every loved one left behind it's a tragedy to be dealt with for the rest of their lives. Only cowards want to take others with them in death. The person who drives the wrong way in a freeway to kill himself is sure to take a few innocents with him as well, or the morons who park their car on train tracks. In any suicide there are a number of people to blame like the wife, husband or the parent who didn't see it coming. In my non expert opinion most suicides are predictable and even preventable. Most people with a little common sense can see signs of depression and should offer help. Most people who commit suicide have been thinking of doing it for a long time and prepare for it. Families should be vigilant to detect signs. Depression, hopelessness, withdrawal, giving things away, not making long term plans, putting their affairs in order are a few signs of impending suicide. In this day and age when every kind of information and resource is a click of a mouse away people should not resort to this most cowardly way of getting out of trouble. Loosing a limb let alone loosing a job is not a good reason to kill one self. But for Gods sake or your family's sake if you want to kill yourself do it but don't take anyone with you. Let everyone choose when and how they want to die.