cutout of man's head with dollar signMrs. Lowe could understand that Lane didn't want her tofeed his dog Sam. “I'd rather you didn't feed him.” What shecouldn't understand was Lane's response when she offered to givehim the food to feed Sam. “No, ma'am, I don't feed him,either.”

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Then he explained his reason.

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“Sam's independent. He doesn't need anybody. I want him to staythat way. It's a good way.”

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I couldn't help but think of this scene from John Wayne'sclassic Hondo as I read the comments about the billionaire whopromised to pay off the loans of Morehouse College's entiregraduating class (see “3 Unintended Consequences Point Out How RobertSmith's Honest Gift to Pay Loans Neglects Duty to Students' BestInterest – A Lesson In Fiduciary Duty,” FiduciaryNews.com, May29, 2019). Sometimes the worst thing you can do to the dog is feedhim.

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We laugh at that sentiment today. We prefer our dogs tame, nottaken to the ways of the wild. And we can afford that luxury.

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But in a different time, in a different place, when life wasmore about survival than matching 401k funds, you didn't do the dogany favors by feeding it. You knew, but for the grace of God, oneday you might not be there for feed the dog. If the dog didn'tlearn to fend for himself, well, then, the dog didn't have much ofa chance to survive.

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So you don't feed the dog. You keep the dog hungry. Hungry dogshave a way of finding food no matter what the circumstances. Hungrydogs tend to survive. Our world today might not be a roughand tumble as the Old West, but there are lessons from the lonesomeprairie that remain true today just as they did more than a centuryago. These lessons not only build strong character and strongerindividuals, they build the strongest communities.

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Self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and self-determinationrepresent the blocks in a foundation upon which good lives areconstructed. A civic body of self-made lives develops theindependence necessary to progress.

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America conquered the west because rugged individuals withself-confidence and a fierce independent streak forged into a feralunknown and tamed it for others to follow. These pioneers didn'tdepend on the kindness of strangers to feed them. They fedthemselves. They made the decision to place themselves inchallenging circumstances, then figured out a way to overcome thosetrials.

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When a fiduciary assumes responsibility for someone's bestinterest, that doesn't mean feeding that someone. A fiduciarydoesn't merely give someone a fish. A fiduciary teaches thatsomeone how to fish.

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In other words, a fiduciary's job is to work his way intoobsolescence. When the hatching flies free and clear from the next,the fiduciary's role has been fulfilled. Only those not concernedwith the best interest of others would stoop so low as to offerfree handouts. This may sound counter-intuitive to those who buyinto the preaching of “it takes a village.”

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Indeed, that scene from Hondo that opened this column ended withMrs. Lowe telling Hondo Lane “Everyone needs someone.”

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Hondo's blunt answer: “Yes, ma'am. Most everyone. Too bad, isn'tit?”

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Christopher Carosa

Chris Carosa has been writing a weekly article and monthly column for BenefitsPRO online and BenefitsPRO Magazine since 2011 and is a nationally recognized award-winning writer, researcher and speaker. He’s written seven books, including From Cradle to Retire: The Child IRA; Hey! What’s My Number? – How to Increase the Odds You Will Retire in Comfort; A Pizza The Action: Everything I Ever Learned About Business I Learned By Working in a Pizza Stand at the Erie County Fair; and the widely acclaimed 401(k) Fiduciary Solutions. Carosa is also Chief Contributing Editor of the authoritative trade journal FiduciaryNews.com and publisher of the Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, a weekly community newspaper he founded in 1989. Currently serving as President of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and with more than 1,000 articles published in various publications, he appears regularly in the national media. A “parallel” entrepreneur, he actively runs a handful of businesses, including a small boutique investment adviser, providing hands-on experience for his writing. A trained astrophysicist, he also holds an MBA and has been designated a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Share your thoughts and story ideas with him through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christophercarosa/)and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ChrisCarosa).