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  • Writer's pictureLouise Carnachan

Unwarranted Hope

Two months ago, I had a surprise email from Linda, the daughter of my father’s widow. A letter addressed to Dad from an investment firm had been forwarded to her. I was mystified because I hadn’t known about an Ameritrade account when I settled his estate. I was giddy to learn there was an undiscovered something that had been accumulating interest for five plus years. Had my father forgotten about an IRA? What was it worth? Maybe it was a big chunk of change! It’d be so fun to spend an unexpected pot of money and, of course, I’d give some away. My head filled with delicious scenarios as I lavished money on fantasy purchases and worthwhile causes.

I eagerly awaited the letter—which didn’t arrive. After a few weeks, I contacted Linda who admitted it had slipped her mind. (She’d forgotten about the ticket to my future fortune?! That delay might have cost me my dream water-view home, for pity sake!) I tried not to be grumpy about what was sure to be a windfall. Within a week after my nudging Linda, the envelope arrived in my mailbox.

I tore it open and read that my father’s account had been inactive for so long the assets would be transferred to the state of California’s Unclaimed Property. The date by which to call Ameritrade had come and gone a month previously. I went to the state’s website where a link popped up for me to type in Dad’s name. I gleefully clicked the mouse and held my breath to learn exactly how much the account was worth. Turns out it was one cent. You did not read that wrong; not one dollar, just one cent. It’s hard to fathom why they didn’t just round down since the postage, accounting, and custodial labor to track this single penny cost a heck of a lot more. After the disappointment, I had to laugh. So, I’ve left that one red cent with the state. With the miracle of compound interest, maybe it’ll be worth two cents in a decade or more.

Was it worth it to dream big only to be disappointed? You bet. Daydreaming is time well used. I highly recommend it. It’s your fantasy, live large! Even if you don’t immediately receive your desire, you had those minutes or hours of feeling excited and hopeful. And that’s worth a lot.

Wishing you enormous dreams for 2021. Happy holidays!

Beyond the obvious, what’s your vision for the new year? Please respond in the box below.

Sending appropriately physically distanced encouragement—and a reminder to get out and see the seasonal lights and décor.

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