How Do You Really Feel?

I think I am by nature an optimist. I tend to see the positive side of things where others may not be so inclined. I try to smile rather than frown as the ever present smile lines bear witness to. I guess I figure things could be worse so why dwell on the bad? Living these past decades has proved time and time again worrying does not resolve ones problems. Why imagine the worst? I am sure on occasion my positiveness might have proved annoying to friends and family who pursue a more realistic outlook. But who doesn’t benefit from a smile?

When someone asks “how are you doing?” what they are likely looking for is a short response, to the point so the conversation can move on toward whatever destination. They are being polite with their inquiry. Should your answer extend too long you risk breaking their rhythm. Delving into the actual state of affairs at that given moment may cause the inquirer to feel momentarily overwhelmed, unexpectedly getting more than they asked for. A “fine, thank you” is more in line with what they expect.

Let’s say you are feeling a bit under the weather – maybe a cold or allergy tickles your nose or a touch of something has you off. A friend asks how you are doing. How often do you find you telling a story slightly more upbeat than reality? Rather than risk being perceived as a downer you sugar coat your real situation. Should we feel the need to portray ourselves in a positive way if we do not in fact feel so?

When asked to respond to “how are you doing?” I invariably find myself wanting to answer in the positive. Even if I am not feeling 100 percent I find myself hedging my answer leaning toward the good rather than disclosing any bad. I figure no one really wants to hear my problems – they are being polite. As I get older I feel even more the burden of projecting a positive me. I don’t want to be known as that old guy who complains about everything.

Maybe we seek to be perpetually positive because we want to be liked. We know the type of people we prefer to interact with – positive, happy, energized – so perhaps we hope to exude similar characteristics. If we do people will want to hang around with us. Unfortunately this can be wishful thinking on those occasions when we feel subpar.

My wife was recently battling an illness. I know she was feeling poorly and having a difficult time of it. Yet when friends and family inquired about her status I found myself painting a picture sunnier than reality. “She is feeling better” was my tried and true response. Better than what? I explained her difficulties in detail but always tried to end with an upbeat note. I wanted things to be better so maybe I was convincing myself they in fact were.

As we continue adding candles to our birthday cake we will find ourselves forced to deal with challenges we never faced while younger. It should be okay to say how we really feel, to share genuine life moments rather than gloss over problems and focus myopically on the good.

I think we sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves trying to be positive when inside we might feel anything but. It should be okay to share the truth rather than dress it up. No one expects you to be upbeat all the time – why should you expect it of yourself?

So next time you run into a friend and venture forth a friendly “how are you doing?” don’t necessarily let them off with a whimsical “just fine.” Maybe they are fine and if so wonderful for them. But maybe they are not. A little prodding, perhaps some genuine interest and curiosity might enable them to open up a bit and let you into their real world. None of us feel like smiling all the time even if life is glorious for the moment. Sharing how you really feel is easier when you have a genuinely interested fellow human willing to hear you out.

And when an acquaintance crosses your path and inquires as to your well being, feel free to speak your mind. How else can anyone know how you really are?

What You Should Know About Retirement Scams

Guest Post by Trisha Miller

Scammers are real. They cost investors around the world millions of dollars. Recently the British government caught three separate scamming companies that lost folks over 10 million British Pounds. The con-artists duped patrons into purchasing some 25% of the supposed value of a rental property. They were then told that the properties would return their investments fully with interest. As far as the police can tell there has been no receipt of payment from any of the scammed retirement hopefuls.

In the US it is estimated over 2.6 billion dollars is lost each year due to scams aimed at seniors and retirees. These individuals will stop at nothing to get their hands on thousands of dollars right out of the pockets of retirees who have worked their entire lives to earn it.

What to Look Out For

As a good rule of thumb, anything that sounds too good to be true probably is. Offering large sums of money and promising large returns is a glaring sign of scamming. Many financial professionals say promising a return more than 12 percent per year is unrealistic. In addition, these scam brokers have gone as far as luring in folks close to retirement by saying they’ll be able to withdraw 9% of their savings each year based on the sheer amount of returns that should be coming in.

If an investment sounds like something you might be interested in, check on the broker before finalizing anything. Do a google search of their name, check out their social media accounts, and business profiles. There are a few tools that will specifically check the reliability of any broker. Namely, the Finra Broker Check should have information on any true investment professional. If someone looks like they have frequently changed firms or may have had action taken against them it’s most likely someone to stay away from no matter how convincing they might be. Remember scammers do this for a living and know how to sell their product to just about anyone.

Scammers have also been known to steal identities. Some folks have reported being contacted by a strange person who claimed to be or know a loved one. These people will ask for large sums of money, frequently directly from a retirement fund, in order bail their loved one out of jail or pay for an expensive surgery. If your “loved one” is calling from a strange number and the circumstances just don’t add up, hang up and contact them at their regular daytime number to double check before making any quick decisions. Call other family members and confirm the story first.

There are many other scams out there that have been running for years. Scammers find a way to keep their schemes going by changing up a few points or making slight modifications to their pitch. Always keep yourself informed about scams Always keep yourself informed about scams that could be potentially devastating to your future.

If You Think You Might Be the Victim Of A Scam

If someone you don’t know has sent you an email correspondence or called and you don’t feel right about it, do not respond. Hang up the phone or ignore the email. Never click on a link unless you are sure of its origin. Beware emails with no subject line as they can be generated by scammers in search of their next victim. If someone comes to your door selling something too good to be true close the door and walk away. It might be necessary to gather their information and report it to their company or the police if the unwanted visits continue. The most important thing is to remain safe and secure.

Scammers can be extremely convincing. If you have already responded to an email or answered some questions over the phone or in person simply end the contact. And if it becomes a serious issue report any information you have to the police.

Lastly, if you find yourself tricked into sharing any personal information such as a bank account number, credit card number, or retirement account number contact your bank immediately and let them know what has happened. They may be able to stop transactions from going through or deny a fraudulent one that has been processed.

Dealing with scammers is a serious issue that should be discussed in every household. Take the time to arm yourself with the knowledge necessary to stay safe. Give yourself and your loved ones the peace of mind knowing you have done all you can to be free of harm and your future protected.