I am sure it is no surprise to anyone that our dear country is in a bit of a financial pickle. I think this issue is, in large part, the reason why this year's election was so widely followed. Many folks are asking how can we turn our economy around? I have a few thoughts on this matter. First, people need to calm down. Part of what is going on is just the normal boom and bust cycle of our economy. This is the reason so many financial gurus tell us to have six months worth of living expenses saved. Second, poor decision making in Washington has also contributed to our economic demise; however, since electing honest politicians is proving to be a difficult task, (how often does that actually happen?) we need to take the initiative and do our part to build a stronger economy. How can we, as mere simple folks, do that?
1-Stop using the ever popular charge cards. It has become so easy to live beyond our monthly income. Put the cards away! There is a thing to be said about interest. A wise bank manager once asked his employee, "Give me the definition of interest." The employee regurgitated a text book definition. The manager dismissed this answer and said listen close and remember what I am going to tell you regarding interest, "Those who understand it earn it, while those who don't understand it, pay it." To my blogging audience, I ask, what side of that scenario do you fall under?
2-Quit trying to keep up with the Jones'. (Just to clarify, I hate that cliche but it seems fitting with this blog.) Really folks, quit trying to have the nicest, biggest, or newest home or the most tricked out SUV. This is partially the cause for our current housing crisis: People bought more than they could afford and the banking system allowed this to happen.
Maybe some of you reading this entry are getting angry or offended. If this is the case, is it possible you are feeling this way because you fall into one of my categories? (Further clarification: I think at some point in all our lives we are guilty of being in one of those categories.) Just something to think about.
Finally, I want to remind everyone that economies are cyclical, meaning they rise and fall. It is your responsibility to prepare for the down times. It's not the government's responsibility to have cash on hand to bail out people (and buisnesses) when they have made poor financial choices. Yes, things happen that are out of our control. I know this first hand. The weight of medical bills can be very overwhelming. For people who fall into this category, my heart truly goes out to you. It's the folks in this situation who deserve the help. (I have my own beef with insurance companies and their lack of accountability-- but that is a post for another day.) The current Bailout should be for people who, because of extenuating circumstances, are not able to meet their needs, not for those who squandered their money and are now regretting that choice. I don't want to give the impression that Loren and I are perfect in this area because we have made a few financial blunders ourselves and, consequently, have had to face the ramifications of those choices. (Don't get me started on our first car-buying experience!) Nevertheless, I believe part of life is making mistakes and part of growing up is learning from these mistakes. When this happens, the mistakes can then be promoted to "learning experiences." :D
In case my ramblings have left any of you mad or annoyed and you need something to lighten the mood, enjoy this little skit from SNL about how to get out of debt. It is pretty funny. But hopefully instead of angry, you are nodding in affirmation with what I've said. It is an important message that, clearly, the American public has yet to grasp. Ok enough of my soap box comments, enjoy the skit!
4 days ago