Dude, Do It Yourself

Consider the following statement:

“While almost nobody intends to be poor, this is why so many people are. They want the benefits of being rich, but they actually don’t want to be rich and have a great mental aversion to thinking about money and acting in ways that will bring more of it into their lives.”

The first part of the statement is certainly true; I doubt many people wake up in the morning and say, my intention is to be poor. All would agree as well that people want the benefits of being rich. That’s one of those “thank you captain obvious!” remarks. The real meat of the statement lies in the last portion as it defines the problem that exists in America today.

Society has allowed itself to become so dumbed-down, addicted to entertainment, and short sighted that personal responsibility is the furthest thing from their mind. The public has willingly allowed the government to take their freedoms away under the misguided notion that they will get security in return. When you give up freedom in the name of security you will have neither. Sound familiar?

Hence the title, Dude, Do It Yourself — not a plug for HGTV, or home improvement stores, but a wake-up call. Obama and the press are hot on the “Income Inequality” topic again like it’s news? You can ascribe your own theory as to why this is the hot item. Speeches, more programs, wasted money, and the spin cycle starts again.

First question: since the 60’s and the Johnson administration, the taxpayers have been robbed of over $5 TRILLION to fix poverty. How’s it working?

Second question: In all the speeches on poverty, income inequality, et al., have you ever heard the politicians say, take responsibility for your life and the outcome? That’s not a vote enhancing statement so they make false promises to “fix” things. The public buys into it every time. WHY? Because they WANT to!

They NEED to believe that Uncle Sam (that’s you the taxpayer) is going to make everything better. Then they can avoid taking responsibility for their future. Denial is so much easier than self reliance. Take a look at the stats:

  1. Home ownership is at the lowest level in 19 years.
  2. Retailers are closing stores at the fastest pace since the ’08 recession.
  3. 20% of all families in the US do not have a single member that is employed.
  4. Job quality:
    a. Low wage jobs were 22% of recession losses; they are 44% of the “recovery” growth
    b. Mid-wage jobs were 37% of recession losses; only 26% of “recovery” growth
    c. High wage jobs were 41% of recession losses; but only 30% of “recovery” growth
  5. 40% of Americans could not come up with $2000 right now even if there was a major emergency
  6. Less than 25% of Americans has enough money set aside to cover 6 months of expenses
  7. 56% of Americans have subprime credit in 2014
  8. 49 million Americans deal with food insecurity
  9. 69% of the federal budget is spent on entitlements or welfare benefits
  10. The number of Americans receiving benefits (from the taxpayers) each month, exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million!

The above is a mere sample of the deterioration taking place. Factor in what the full implementation of Obamacare, sprinkled with an amnesty bill, will do to the economy. The stench of stagnation hangs over the country. Reality is screaming that it’s time for people to dig in, take responsibility and go full tilt — Do It Yourself!

Broken Record Time

Pulling it all together demands DISCIPLINE. You know the saying about paying taxes, “You pay now or pay later but, you WILL pay them. You can decide to impose discipline on yourself and at the pace you prefer or you can wait until the government forces it on you and that will NOT be pretty.

So what has to be done? If you don’t have your emergency savings house in order, then start there. Early in my business life, I heard this asked: “Ever been sick? Ever been broke? Imagine being sick and broke at the same time.” Saving money is not easy but neither is being dependent or getting laid off and not being prepared. Sit down and make a list of where your money goes. You’ll most likely be amazed at all the cracks it falls through. Another cliché, “If you can live on 100% of your money, you can live on 90%” — doing the budget will make that very obvious. I know we all have items we spend money on that we consider necessities. If it comes down to putting emergency funds aside or those “necessities” take a second look.

Before moving along to the retirement topic, let’s assume you have the emergency money put aside and your job is pretty secure. Perhaps the biggest threat facing us is Obamacare and I’m not referring to just the higher premiums and or higher deductibles. By now you should know that most of the best hospitals and specialty care facilities are not in the networks that you can go to as part of your plan. Ask yourself, “What better reason is there to have money set aside than having the freedom to go to the doctor and hospital of your choice?” The rationing has not yet begun but it will because it’s written into the law. As it’s stated now, if you are under 76 years of age, the panel will “consider” allowing you to get treatment; over the age of 76 the panel steps in and in the name of saving money, treatments can legally be denied. Those who can pay for private care will not suffer the indignity of rationing.

By the way, please don’t suffer the delusion of a new administration coming in 2017 and repealing the law. Now the talk is of amending parts of it versus a full repeal! Do it yourself! Get prepared. Rid yourself of the absurd notion that the government is ever going to look out for you! Politicians as a rule are interested in one thing…RE-ELECTION.

On the subject of retirement, 36% of Americans have saved $1,000 or LESS for retirement. Those households that earn less than $25k a year have less than $1,000 saved. I bet they all have cell phones and great TV to watch!

Middle income earners have saved more. About half have $50 to $75 thousand put aside, and 20% have put away $100k or more. But realistically it’s not nearly enough which explains why those over 55 are working a lot longer and are getting more jobs than the millennials. Interest rates are going to stay low because our debt service costs will rise if rates go up. Excess spending has put the country in peril and the public has to wake up to the fact that they MUST look out for their financial well being and future. Washington has no discipline! Do you?

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