“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money, too.” – Margaret Thatcher

I know a woman who divorced her husband 30 years ago, and got a very nice settlement including a four-plex.

This woman is not financially savvy. She took out a second mortgage on her home, renovated her rented office space, invested in scam after scam (I mean, how many princes can one country produce?), and volunteers so much that she worries that she won’t be able to afford the rent on her office space.

Her retirement plan? Her children.

I know the choices she made came from a good place. Her children “needed” lessons and sports gear. The “treasure” she could unlock by helping strangers was probably supposed to go to those children. The church needed storage space for items for the rummage sale, and now she stores other people’s junk all year. She can’t rent out one of her two remaining rentals because her youngest is going through a three-year “rough patch” even though he’s making a median US income.

She made money mistakes, and keeps making them. She is unrepentant. She is a foolish virgin.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story: Ten virgins await the arrival of a bride-groom to join him for the wedding. Five of those virgins brought extra lamp-oil with them in case the wait was long. The remaining five did not bring extra oil. They weren’t worried at first, but as the night wore on, they asked the wise virgins to share some of their reserves. The wise virgins could not share, or they would miss the bride-groom. The foolish virgins left to buy more, and when they came back the wedding had already started so they could not get in.

The Parable is usually used to explain why it’s important to do good works on Earth because you can’t ride someone’s coattails into Heaven. I think it’s also a good metaphor for retirement. The woman I know had every opportunity to be a Wise Virgin. Her husband set her up with enough to reasonably get through anything life threw her way. With an overly generous heart, she gave her spare oil away. She’s probably given some of her principal oil away.

Take this as a reminder that one cannot pour from an empty vessel. You have to take care of yourself first, physically, mentally, emotionally, and every other way before you can adequately care for others. Your children are not a retirement plan. They are raising children of their own! They are trying to make something of themselves, as excellent people should.