Can you say trillions? A trillion is one thousand billions. A billion is one thousand millions.
The true national debt at the time of this writing is fifty-five trillions; that’s 55,000 billions or 55 million millions. That means America will pay China, the Oil States, and others not so friendly to the US $3.5 trillion in interest alone–not counting what we pay to buy their products and oil!
American’s misuse of credit looms as the single largest threat to our economy and therefore to our security, for it is our economy and the freedoms upon which it is founded that draws the world to us.
While it is the nation’s economy that keeps America secure, it is our industry as individuals that keeps America’s economy strong. Over the past forty years Washington and Wall Street have used Madison Avenue advertising to mislead Americans into unmanageable debt. Take away the incentive to work by overpowering an individual with debt – particularly unsecured credit card debt – and you have the likelihood that such a person will give up and give in.
It’s time for every individual American family to address the Debt Paradigm.
Credit card debt is huge.
Here are a few statistics from early 2011…
Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $14,750*
609.8 million credit cards held by U.S. consumers. (Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
Average number of credit cards held by cardholders: 3.5, as of yearend 2008 (Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice,” Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010)
American families must rein in the use of credit or embrace the reality that other nations–some not so friendly to us–will soon be in a position to deny us the American Dream and dictate how we live our lives. It’s not enough to blame the Congress and the President–although they certainly deserve it.
Until common sense about financial management returns to the psyche and the front-of-mind of everyday Americans, we will continue to send Debt Paradigm Dupes to DC; stimulus laws that only stimulate bigger unions and bigger government; budget cuts that are cosmetic at best; bridges to nowhere built with money America doesn’t have–all, at our own peril.
Books and articles abound about the Greatest Generation (1910 – 1924), the Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964), Gen-X and Gen-Y.
But…what about my generation (1924 – 1945)? Why do the pundits and politicians ignore us? Why are most Americans totally unaware of our existence?
It’s our own fault. We failed to defend and pass on the values that our parents inherited from as far back as the founding of America. We were so busy rebuilding an economy that was decimated by the Great Depression and put into a wartime state by WWII that we lost sight of the turmoil that the entitlement thinking and the quick-buck-investment mentality that followed us was wreaking on America’s economic stability.
Our inattention has allowed America to flounder its way to a measure of success unseen in the history of the world. This success is, however, also the foundation of our failure. Our economic house is built on sand. Baby Boomers and their progeny deny or are unaware of the Four Pillars of every financially successful and secure family and person
Instead of Freedom from Debt-to-others they embrace debt as passionately as they would a lover during a first encounter – mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, auto loans, furniture, appliances and home improvements financed “same-as-cash” (not)
In lieu of keeping three to five years of ready cash and maintaining high levels of equity in their homes, they hold tight to the shibboleth that six months of money reserves is enough to weather the storms they’ll encounter during a 90 to 100+ year lifespan and that home equity should be sucked into “investments”
Rather than building a financial structure that delivers guaranteed income in good times and bad during their 30 or more years of after-work life, they expect the government, an employer, a union or (often unrealistic) investment returns to assure them security and peace of mind
Perhaps most damning, many Boomers and Beyonds care not whether they leave a legacy to their heirs. Many of them received a legacy of money themselves but, having neither received nor embraced a legacy of understanding, knowledge and wisdom, they simply have nothing to give.
It’s time for the Forgotten Generation to step forward and reclaim its destiny as the protectors of the American values that were passed on to it but which will pass out of existence if the Forgotten Generation does not act to restore them and pass on the legacy of wisdom that it received from its forebears. It’s also time for the Boomers and Beyonds to discard the falsehoods and foolishness that can lead us to America’s ruin. Its time for them to put renewed faith in the financial founding fathers who wrote, spoke and lived the Four Pillars.
Paying bills is often like that. Many things seem more important – the kids are crying, the spouse is demanding, the boss is insisting, the grass needs mowing or the snow shoveled, and on and on…Chores, people, TV shows, and even bodily functions are shouting “Pay attention to me!” all the time. These demands are sometimes more urgent than they are important.
Paying your bills is important but becomes urgent, like the above, when it is put off to the last minute.
The reality is that paying bills is an exercise in awareness, self gratification and gratitude.
It is an exercise in awareness because it puts money at the center of your focus and allows you to recognize both the value and the function of money in your every day life. This awareness also lets you re-assess your decisions about money and realign your money usage with your life goals.
Paying your bills is an opportunity to pat yourself on the back. You work hard and you choose to spend your money in a certain way. Paying the bills that result from those decisions should be a source of satisfaction and self esteem. If that’s not the case, re-read the previous bullet-ted item.
Finally, paying bills gives you the opportunity to appreciate and be thankful for the work of the thousands of other people – just like you – who go to work every day to make sure your electricity is on, the grocery store shelves are stocked, the streets are safe, the cable or satellite TV is working…you get the picture.
‘Tis the season…when we tend to run up the charge cards and other bills that we won’t see until January. That’s something else to be thankful for…so save this blog till then…it may come in handy.
Have a merry, merry and a happy, happy.
“If it were not for the ‘last minute’, nothing would get done.” Dr Agon Fly
“…the U.S. Treasury will float tens of billions of new debt in December alone (most of which will be sopped up by foreigners, who have increased their holdings of Treasuries by well over $200 billion in the past year)…”
A Little Acid Test for Fed “Liquidity”
By John P. Hussman, Ph.D.
Ever wonder why all those foreign investors are buying US Dollars? America is still the strongest economy in the world. Your personal economy is not the same, however. The investments you buy – including the ones in your retirement plans – are not money. Investments chase returns. Investors secure dollars. Change your mind about money and you’ll change your life.