Thursday, March 29, 2012

Emergency Funds & Go Bags

Emergency Funds & Go Bags

“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning”

~ Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister during World War II)

There are things that are sure to happen in life, but we are unsure as to when. For instance, do we really believe that we will never die? No, most of us are in touch with reality enough to know we will die. So, do you have a will? If you have custody of children, whom have you picked to raise them? Waiting for the rapture is not a valid excuse to plan, either, because you will be declared legally dead if missing for a long period of time.

It has been said, “No one plans to fail, they just fail to plan.”

Our ancestors knew that “Murphy’s Law” applies. Bad things happen, and often in groups. How can you keep Murphy from succeeding in ruining everything?

Here are a couple ideas:

Keep an “Emergency Fund.” It is surprising how expenses take every available dollar. If we have nothing held back for the unforeseen, we live in a constant crisis. Everything, from a power bill to the failing transmission, is an emergency.

Dave Ramsey, the famous debt-free financial speaker heard locally in the afternoons on AM990, suggests that the first step to winning financially is a $1,000.00 emergency fund. To some, that will seem impossible. To others, it may seem miniscule. However, it is important to have a way to get emergency funds for the inevitable urgency.

The difference in the psychology of just having a bit of cushion or “margin” is hard to estimate. Without it, many have a tight belly, unable to sleep well or even take a deep breath. With it, you know there is at least a fighting chance. While money should be no substitute for faith, planning for the fact of emergencies is wise and is taught in Scripture.

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Proverbs 21:5

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. Proverbs 27:12 (NLT)

The so-called “Go-Bag” is a great idea once shared with me. Since we all will probably have to rush to the hospital for some reason, either for our infirmities or a loved ones’, we can prepare. A Go Bag is just a tote bag or large zip lock with a few items in it. Usually, people include a toothbrush, toothpaste, warm socks, a jogging or comfy sweat suit, clean underwear and a couple days’ worth of each of any prescriptions.

If your husband has chest pains, you just grab and go! That way, you do not have to leave the hospital and come home. It is infuriating to wait for hours for a doctor to make rounds, and finally you just give up and go home to change. Murphy’s Law says the doctor you need to speak to, will come by while you are gone.

Pack a Go Bag today, and stash away an emergency fund (usually in a different, out of the way bank) as soon as you can. By doing so, you will be planning for the unplanned and demonstrating a rare thing, seldom seen anymore in this world… wisdom.

David B. Peel is a local injury attorney, who lives in rural Arlington maintains his accident, disability and injury practice in Millington (just north of Chic-Fil-A). Mr. Peel speaks frequently in the area, most recently to First Baptist, the Millington Library Club, and an Arlington Bible Study Group. To contact him or see more articles see

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Live Richly


Everybody wants to be a millionaire, right?


I think most folks just want to live like a millionaire. It is actually different. It is not the having seven figures in the bank that dictates living richly.

This old story illustrates the difference:

A young man is lying shirtless on dock in the sun, with a hat pulled over his eyes, dozing gently in the ocean breezes. Abruptly, he is jolted awake by a crocodile skin shoe. The youth squinted up at his rude visitor.
“What are you doing asleep, here on the dock?” the well-dressed man demanded incredulously.
“Mister, I was just resting. I fished early this morning,” the young man explained.
“Well, you should not be laying around. There is plenty of daylight left! Get out there and fish some more!” the older man insisted.
“Why?” asked the sleepy-eyed youngster, yawning.
“Because, if you ran that boat twice a day, you could save enough to buy another boat,” he explained, as he tightened his tie.
“What then?” the fisherman inquired.
“Then, you could hire a crew and fish even more boats!” the businessman exclaimed, getting even louder.
“What then?” the lounging youth asked.
“Then, one day, you could control this whole seaport, and make money off every single fishing boat here, and become a very rich man!” the well-dressed man proclaimed, his arms waving wildly with every word.
“Then what?” he asked.
“Then, you could lay back, and take it easy and finally relax!” the successful businessman concluded, smugly.
The young man looked up, saying, “Mister, that’s just what I was doing when you disturbed me.”

You see, when we can truly relax—even for a little while--we are living a rich life, indeed. Whether you are relaxing in the sun by an inflatable backyard baby pool or on the beach in Mexico, it feels pretty similar when you close your eyes.

Those who live richly are not those who have all they want. It is those who passionately want whatever they have.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How Demographics are Going to Change Everything

Demographics are the art and the science of statistics about population. Before you immediately assume they are boring and irrelevant, read one more paragraph.

In the late 1990’s, the U.S. economy had ten new working-age taxpayers to help support each newly retiring senior. That’s ten to one. (10:1) But in 2012, for the first time in our country’s entire history, we have more newly retiring seniors than we have new working-age population! (I know it is unpopular, but we have aborted 40 millions potential workers, too).

It gets worse. Much worse. By 2022, there may well be only one new working-age citizen for ten new senior citizens. (1:10). It is a total reversal of the system, as we know it.

Understand, that all of Social Security, taxes and even the stock markets are based on the idea that new workers will be funding those that have retired. After all, if the seniors sell their stocks to live, who will buy them when ten sell and only one worker is buying?

How will Social Security survive with only one worker’s taxes trying to support ten retirees? Unless it changes, it cannot. We live a lot longer now, too. In 1950, most people expected to live only five to eight more years after reaching age 65. Currently, that has doubled to about fifteen years, and it’s climbing.

With this kind of increase in the sheer numbers of retirees, and with retirees living twice as long as they ever have, cuts will have to be made and they will be unpopular. It might just be political suicide to touch this electrified “third rail” of politics.
Someone--sooner or later--will have to deal with this issue. As for me, I do not think that Social Security can survive, as we know it. The problem is in the demographics.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Cars as Characters

Like most guys, I like cars and trucks. They sometimes represent how we feel about ourselves or what we think is important.

Certain cars seem to reflect a time in our lives. For instance, when I think of the “General Lee” (1969 Dodge Charger R/T) from “Dukes of Hazzard,” I recall scenes form my childhood, usually some after-school snacking.

The highly modified 1969 Dodge Charger had the doors welded shut so you had to climb in and out through the windows. The bright orange Charger featured “01″ on both sides and had a huge Confederate flag on the top. I think I even played Dixie when you blew the horn. What was really amazing was its uncanny ability to squeal its tires on dirt roads! There several of these cars and one sold at auction for $450,000.

Many other vehicles really became their own characters. You can probably add some. I bet you remember these as well.

I now only loved the television version of the Ferrari 308 GTS used in “Magnum, P.I.,” I love my Matchbox and Hot Wheels versions. Affable Tom Selleck made this one famous. He also made all of us want to be head of security for an estate in Hawaii.

A similar series that really made the car the main character featured the 1982 Pontiac Trans Am used in “Knight Rider.” David Hasselhoff was second-fiddle to “KITT,” the black talking car with the cool red scanner in the hood. It even drove itself.

This was not the first cool black Trans Am. Remember “Smokey and the Bandit?” Eastbound and down? The black 1977 Trans Am with the obnoxious golden firebird covering the ample hood? In that movie we learned that, for some reason, Coors used to be illegal east of the Mississippi. Second only to Star Wars that year, this movie was an epic hit.

How is that two of this list are basically the same car? Black Trans Ams. And now, you cannot even buy one, or even a Pontiac at all. Pontiac closed up shop a couple years back.

Speaking of cool black cars, was there even one cooler at the time than the Batmobile? I had no idea what kind of car it was, but turns out it was a 1955 Ford Lincoln Futura concept car. You might recall the silliness of the predicaments Batman and Robin found themselves in, or the childish “Bam!” graphics when Batman really slugged the bad guy, but you cannot forget the Batmobile.

If we are talking silly, another intelligent car must be included. Not because it is cool. It is imposible for a VW to be cool to me, but the “Love Bug,” alias “Herbie,” was a cute little 1964 Volkswagen Beetle.

From silly to scary, I must also mention the creepier cars. “Christine,” the red 1958 Plymouth Fury that terrorized us all. The movie “Ghostbusters” (was that really made back in 1984?) featured the Ectomobile (Ecto-1)which really was a1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance. Who ya gonna call?

But there are two character cars that stand out to me as the coolest ever. I base this on the highly scientific view that I would still want to driver either of these even now. The first is “Bullitt’s” dark green 1968 Mustang GT 390 CID Fastback piloted by Steve McQueen’s fastback through San Francisco in the most famous car chase in movie history. By the way, it was being pursued by a pretty cool black 1968 Dodge Charger 440 Magnum. I was surprised to find that the chase was shot at normal film speed, though it looks downright frenetic.

A very different kind of cool, British cool, is shown by the tastefully powerful 1963 Aston Martin DB5 driven by none other than, “Bond…James Bond,” in “Goldfinger.” It currently sits in The Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. But if it ever sells, it will be a large number. One DB5 used in Goldfinger and Thunderball was auctioned for over $4,000,000. I guess someone else thought it was cool, too.

But the coolest to me, is nowhere near the most expensive. Nor is it the fastest. Shoot, it’s just a V6. But it was the hit Michael J. Fox movie, “Back to the Future” which introduced most of the world to the 1982 DeLorean DMC-12. The stainless steel car had gull wing doors. Oh, and a flux capacitor that sent it back in time. Though made in real life (without the flux capacitor) they were slow and unreliable. When John DeLorean was indicted on drug charges, they became extinct. Oddly, he beat the charges, but the company went bankrupt. I understand a new company has started to make them again, up to more modern standards. They need to at least be faster than a SUV to look that cool.

So there is my list. If you want to drop off a DeLorean for me, please have it turbo-charged first. What would you add to this list?



What is a Deposition??

As part of lawsuit, parties and witnesses are often asked to give depositions. A deposition consists of attorneys asking questions to a person, called a deponent, under oath.
The deponent is asked to “swear or affirm” that she is telling the truth. In the old days, they used to end that with, “so help you God.” That, like most mentions of the Almighty in courts, has fallen out of fashion. The reason for the word “affirm,” as opposed to “swear,” are Biblical verses like James 5:12 and Matthew 5:34 which say, “do not swear.”
At any rate, the attorney asking questions has great latitude to during this process, known as “discovery,” to seek a broad range of information. In injury cases, this includes prior health history, educational background, family history, work record and injuries claimed from the accident. Also, there are lines of questions regarding loss of wages and any permanent restrictions related to the accident.
It is important to be accurate during a deposition. Even so, there are almost certainly some things that the deponent will forget or misremember. However, if the person being deposed has been truthful in all other respects, a flaw or two in memory are usually are not fatal to the credibility of the deponent. In fact, it is usually perceived as normal for there to be an occasional memory lapse. If someone is overly rehearsed is sometimes even a sign of dishonesty.
When lawyers ask “never” they mean “never.” Those without legal training (those that are still normal) will often use “never” to mean “usually not” or “rarely.” This causes a lot of problems. It is important to be clear in depositions, and in talking to any investigative authorities. Inconsistencies are the undoing of many a deponent.
I also recommend against giving recorded statements after an injury, for similar reasons.