Lessons from breaking my foot and upcoming workshops and trainings

(This is our latest version of Consumer Power — our weekly email that goes out to thousands across Alabama and the nation — if you have not yet signed up feel free to do so with the button on the right hand side).

I hope that this email finds you having a wonderful Sunday, orMonday if you’re reading this at the beginning of the work week.

I’ll keep this email fairly short as I want to share with you a story of what happened to me a little over a week ago and I want to let you know about some upcoming trainings and events that we’re having.

About 10 days ago I was playing basketball with some friends and it was right before we were finishing up a number of games and I wish I could say that I was doing great. It was actually a pretty bad performance by me in the basketball games. I had an opportunity to win the final game but I missed a shot and then about two minutes later I rolled my left ankle.

Those of you that have played sports are familiar with doing this and sometimes it’s simply momentary pain, sometimes you injure your ankle, but I was fairly certain I knew what I’d done.

About 12 years before, I did same thing to my right foot and broke a small bone in my right foot.

Then when this happens during the game about 10 days ago, I was pretty certain that I broke my foot. So I finished up the game in just a couple minutes and then I limped out to my car, and drove home.

The next day, Friday, I was able to get in to see a very nice orthopedic surgeon and he confirmed that the bone was broken in my left foot and he told me that I should make a good recovery in about 6 to 8 weeks. He gave me a very stylish looking walking boot which I have been using some.  I sound like Frankenstein walking with this.  🙂

So why have I told you all this?

First, as a reminder that none of us, regardless of our age or health condition, have any guarantee as far as our health guidance. It can all change in a heartbeat. A drunk driver runs a red light. We have an aneurysm. We did a terrible job shooting the last free throw and then two minutes later we break our foot. So whether were talking about a minor health issue, like mine, or something serious like the other two I described, we simply have no promise that nothing bad will happen to us.

So what we do?

Do we go into depression or become paranoid?


We live our lives but we also make sure that we are prepared to deal with the challenges that we know life will be throwing our way.

Make sure we have enough of the right types of insurance. Make sure that we have our legal documents in place so that if we ever get to the point where we cannot make decisions, then a trusted family member or friend can make those decisions for us. Make sure that we have the right plan in place so that if something happens to us, our “stuff” is handled in the way that we wanted it to be handled.

The second reason I told you this little story is to ask you this question. Was the doctor being nice to me or mean to me when he told me that my foot was broken?

I really did not want to hear that news. I would’ve preferred to have heard the news that I had a minor sprain and in a week or two I would be back out on the basketball court as if nothing had happened.

I did not want to be walking around in a boot and to see my foot swollen and bruised in every square inch on the top of my foot.

But more than good news, I wanted the truth. I think we all know that if the doctor had lied to me to make me feel good, that would have been doing me a disservice.

We have to make sure that we don’t have the attitude of “shoot the messenger.”

Even if we don’t say that out loud, if we give off the feeling to our family, friends, coworkers, etc. that we will be upset if they bring us bad news, then it should come as no surprise that we will not be told the truth.

We have to face the brutal truth and not make it worse than it is but also not minimize the difficulty or challenge that we’re going through.

So let’s take a moment and think about whether we truly want people to tell us the truth – whether that is our doctor, minister, lawyer, friend, teacher, boss, etc. – or do we want people to lie to us to make us feel good right now, but do more harm to us in the long run?

I suggest to you that it is better to have the truth even with the temporary pain that brings, rather than to have people scared of our reactions so they withhold the truth from us.

What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear back from you.



I want to give you an update on the trainings that we have coming up.

On October 2, 2014, at 2 PM we will have our workshop on the seven threats to your estate plan. This will be held in my office in a comfortable conference room and we ask that you let us know if you are able to attend, and if you are bringing any guests, so we can make sure and have the right number seats reserved for you.

When you come to this meeting, you’ll receive a workbook that you can take notes in and jot down action items that you need to accomplish and I feel very confident that you will leave this workshop having learned a great deal, actually having had some fun, and you will be much better prepared to do whatever needs to be done.  This is open to clients, estate planning lawyers, and financial advisors.

We are also holding a Medicaid strategies to pay for long term care workshop on October 16also at 2pm in my office.  There are a lot of “myths” and mis-understandings about how important Alabama Medicaid is and what the rules allow (and don’t allow) as far as transferring property and assets, buying annuities, saving your home, etc.  We have been asked by estate planning attorneys and financial advisors to do a class on this topic.  Clients are also welcome to attend as this may be something you are looking at facing right now.

We are holding a VA pension (aid and attendance) on October 30 at 2pm where we will discuss this wonderful benefit to help pay for in home care or to pay for an assisted living facility. This benefit is to help veterans and widows of veterans.

Do let us know on all of these workshops which ones you want to attend so we can reserve a spot before they are filled up.

Upcoming Legal Training
We will either have some additional live workshops, or webinars, or longer videos on other consumer related matters.  Let us know what is of interest to you and we will get it on the calendar.  🙂
  • October 14 Stan and I will be in Montgomery training a large group of Legal Aid attorneys on consumer law issues — specifically on how to handle debt buyer collection lawsuits that have flooded our courts.  Most, if not all, of these collection suits have no proof but these collectors don’t mind filing them to see if they can get money out of Alabama consumer.  We will be focusing on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and how it applies to debt buyer lawsuits.
  • On October 29 I’ll be training Alabama and Tennessee lawyers on practical, effective and ethical marketing.  If you are not a lawyer but are interested in this type of training for your industry, I’m always happy to help out local small businesses or allied professionals.
  • On November 14, Stan and I will be in Nashville training a state wide group of Tennessee lawyers on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) — the law that prohibits annoying computer calls to your cell phone.  We will also be teaching the lawyers about the VA Pension (Aid & Attendance) that is so useful in paying for long term care.
  • On December 11, Stan and I will be teaching a state wide gathering of Alabama lawyers on the VA Pension as well as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
Thanks and have a great rest of the week!
John Watts
Watts & Herring, LLC

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