• It's probably one of the most remarkable columns I've read, in of all places, a business magazine.

    It was in the latest edition of Kiplinger's, in which editor Fred Frailey passes along 12 basic questions, the answers to which can fairly accurately predict whether you'll be alive just four years from now.

    I kid you not.

    A lot of it's obvious stuff: Do you smoke? Are you overweight? Ever had a serious illness?

    The test is brutal and blunt. The more "yes" answers, the more points you rack up. The more points, the more likely you're not going to make the next Winter Olympics, as he puts it.

    Frailey then asks the next obvious question: Why a financial editor would even bother telling you about a test like this.

    Well, for one, he wants you to be financially prepared. But more, he wants you to be "personally" prepared.

    "All I could think about," he writes, "was how fragile life is."

    Frailey talks about his young and otherwise very healthy brother-in-law, Billy, who dropped dead on the golf course of a heart arrhythmia earlier this year.

    He urges us all to ponder the fragility of life and he says, "I doubt that you'll react by vowing to spend more time at the office."

    More likely, your response will be: "How can I nurture my children and others I love?"

    Not bad advice from a financial guy. Maybe because Fred Frailey strikes me as something more: a genuinely good guy.

    Read it and live.

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