Thursday, November 17, 2016

Want to help?

I heard that an elderly woman received a phone call.  The caller told her that her grandson had been arrested in a foreign country and needed her to send him bail money.  I heard that she said,"Well, I don't have a grandson but I would be glad to help out."  The story and parallel versions are told to highlight scams perpetrated by those preying on the elderly.  But I wonder.

A man died in our neighborhood and his friends cleared out his house.  They found rooms completely stuffed with objects and trash.  He had made a habit of calling tv shows that sell things and buying their stuff.  He had told a friend that he liked having something, anything, delivered and he didn't really care about the cost.

If you found out that your grandmother was sending money to somebody who supposedly needed money, you might advise her to reconsider.  I imagine quite a few people would use strong language, more or less insisting that any such pay plan be abandoned.  Similarly, if you found out that your grandfather-in-law was buying junk just to have something delivered, you might use strong language and other measures to stop or discourage such purchases.

I am not writing to support scams or poor use of money.  It is very likely that better uses of money, spent for causes with much better credentials, could easily be found.  I am writing to say that older people may be in a position to want to help and to be able to support something they believe in.  I have read of Reverend Ike, who died in 2009, saying that you should send contributions to his ministries because doing so would make you feel good.  

I suspect that charity and support of causes and ventures can be more complicated that you might think.  If you win the lottery and you really don't need the money and all your friends and relatives are happily situated financially, now and for the foreseeable future, be a little cautious and a little slow in rushing to aid or support this group or that venture.  Being awash in cash and possibilities can be more of a headache than first appears.  Read the stories of lottery winners with little preparation for a sudden avalanche of money.  Read the stories of countries or individuals caught in euphoria and schemes when oil is discovered on their land.

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