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Archive for July 2009

Ron Jennings, a successful Money for Life Guide in West Chester, Ohio, emailed this Adrian Rogers quote.  While you are reading it, reflect on the policies and practices of the federal government during the Great Depression.

“You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”– Adrian Rogers, 1931 – 2005 

 

The most prosperous decades in American history for the common citizen occurred in the late 20th century when the Federal Government reversed the policies of the Great Depression and reduced its meddling in the personal economics of the American family.

Unfortunately, those also turned into the decades of the greatest financial frauds in American history.  Not the least among these frauds (but the least recognized and reported) are the pork-barrel projects of the power and money hungry Dolts in DC.

The problem we Americans face today is that our personal economies are being attacked by the cons in Congress and White House Wonks.  Their attack is based on the false premise that Adrian Rogers stated so clearly just a few years ago (above).  The saddest aspect of the current attempt to reduce the individual liberties of every American by a small majority of committed liberals is that it failed in the 1930s and it won’t work today.  Moreover, the elitists in Congress are unwilling to apply to themselves the same standards they want to apply to unsuspecting Americans – that includes you and me.

The greatest attack on your personal economy comes from the proposed National Health Insurance plan.  The simple reality is that the “plan” is more complex and convoluted than even Medicare and Medicaid – both of which are riddled with fraud and neither of which has reached a level of fiscal discipline needed to become a model for all of America.

Even worse, the “plan” favors big unions, big business, big government, and big bureaucracies at the expense of everyday citizens and small and micro businesses like the Avon lady, the child care center, the local independent insurance rep, small manufacturers and distributors, the local plumber, electrician, and heating contractor, and too many others to mention.

The greatest fraud, however, is that there is not a single congressperson that has read and evaluatedthe several 1,000+ page bills that are being bandied about the halls of the Capitol; nor will they.  They plan to lift our liberties right out of our pockets and they don’t care enough to know all the details.

By Jeffrey Reeves, MA

 

 

 

A gift of humor and wisdom from Brad Sugars of Action Coaches

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.” Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men? The paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings)

The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 ( 22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20,”declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved $1 dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!”

“That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!” The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction.

Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

For those who understand, no explanation is needed.

For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

Jobs in the 21st Century

Change We can Believe In?

NOT!

Chains We Will Grieve In?

INDEED!

Chains on the Citizens of America?

President Obama and the Democrats in the US Congress are tinkering with the motherboard of economics without knowing anything at all about the printed circuitry that makes it work.

Chains on Jobs

They have to stop!  They have to stop BEFORE they takeover health care.  If they don’t, pretty soon the only jobs in America will be…

  • government jobs
  • jobs for businesses that the government runs

That’s not Free Enterprise.

That’s not “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

That’s not the America envisioned by the Founders.

That’s not the America Americans want.

Redefining America and “American”

America needs neither the terrifying tsunami of new programs overwhelming it from the White House nor the violent volcanic eruption of legislative magma and ash under which the Congress is burying us…can you say “DEBT?”

Who Is In Charge?

Some Americans voted for “change” during last years presidential sweepstakes – clearly a gamble.  However, a very small but not inconsequential minority of far left politicians, union bosses at the helm of sinking ships loaded with the gold of working Americans  they claim as their own, and cabinet members turned bureaucrats conspire to takeover the US economy.

There are other contributors to and beneficiaries of these catastrophic changes:

  • ACORN, a secretive organization that manipulates good-hearted Americans for the benefit of its intentionally obscure ideology and the financial benefit of its dishonest leaders
  • The union bosses of the SEIU, AFL/CIO, AFSCME and others who confiscate dues from their members to elect their puppets and line their own pockets
  • AARP- Americas largest insurance seller masquerading as the voice of older citizens while it lobbies for programs that will enhance its bottom-line and increase the political power it wields in the White House and on Capitol Hill
  • Al Gore’s army of uninformed global warming crusaders who would willingly weaken the US economy – and therefore the personal economy of every US citizen – while China, India, the Oil States and other economic powerhouses buy America with money made by ignoring the same unrealistic and unnecessary protocols the Dolts in DC impose on American citizens and businesses
  • Other vocal interests in the non-profit and for profit sectors that hope to benefit from the “re-interpretation” if the US Constitution, the restructuring of the US economy, and the re-definition of what it means to be an American.

Put Yourself In Charge of Your Personal Economy

The question – or perhaps answer – the title to this article addresses is…

“How can you protect yourself and your family from the almost certain economic crises financed by the unimaginable debt these ill-advised and programs incur?”

The answer:  Change your mind about money. Americans have been taught to compartmentalize money issues.  We’ve been led to believe that we can fix our personal economic problems by focusing on one issue at a time: the mortgage, the 401(k), creating the mythical six months savings account, taxes.  As an example, a TV commercial running currently suggests that you can fix your monthly budget by changing from your existing satalite TV company to theirs – a savings of a few dollars per month.

Personal economies don’t work that way.

Personal economic success results from adopting a personal economic model that allows you to address all of the challenges you face during your lifetime; that allows you to flexibly and creatively deal with them as they arise without losing focus on the big picture.

Here’s how: Focus on four – and only four – uses of your money.

1.  Ready cash…There is a myth in America that you should have three to six months of expenses set aside to deal with emergencies.

BUNK!

Consider how many American families today are facing foreclosure, repossession of their cars and furniture, bankruptcy…all because they believed in the myth and ran out of money way too soon.

Consider how many of these same folks would have spent the Fourth of July sitting on the patio, drinking a beer, and watching the kids play if they had based their personal economies on cash instead of credit.

American’s need to base their personal economies on cash money and not monthly interest charges that make others wealthy from their repayments of borrowed money.

In addition, they need enough ready cash to deal with life’s surprisingly unsurprising surprises not just emergencies.

2.  Income you don’t have to work for and you won’t outlive.

There’s another myth that plays into the failure of personal economies.  Most Americans are convinced that retirement is both desirable and achievable.

BUNK!

Most Americans believe that they are saving for retirement by putting money into a tax qualified retirement plan like a 401(k), IRA, or the like.

First of all, chances are better than even that money in a tax qualified plan will not produce the income it was projected to deliver when it was sold to you 20, 30, or 40 years earlier. It is the purchase of an investment that guarantees only that it guarantees nothing. It is not a savings plan.  Moreover, it is equally likely that the taxes on that income will be higher than those shown in the hypothetical illustration from decades earlier.

Everyone dies.  People who retire, i.e., dissolve into inactivity, die sooner.  Life expectancy has increased dramatically over the past fifty years.  If you are reading this, are in decent health, and don’t engage in stupid life-threatening activities, you can expect to live to be 100 years old – or older.

What’s the point?  Most retirement income plans (including tax qualified plans) and planners use life expectancy tables to determine how you should allocate your resources from the time you retire until the date of your death at average life expectancy, which is most likely a decade or two less than your actual life span will be.  Sounds like bad planning to me.

Better to have a proven model that makes sure you have the income you need whether you work or not but doesn’t strap you with the limitations and probable failures of a hypothetical plan that neither guarantees nor promises specific results.

3.  Freedom from debt…There are pundits and advisors who would have you believe that there is such a thing as “good debt.”

BUNK!

It is essential to reduce and eliminate debt to others.  This may not be the first item on the “to do” list if you have a mortgage, auto loans, credit card debt, etc. but is equally as important as the others.

The USA Today article referenced above illustrates that America is “in debt up to [its] eyeballs” and has no reasonable chance of escaping the dungeon it’s creating for itself.  As Peggy Lee sang a few decades ago, “Is that all there is?…If that’s all there is, my friend, then let’s keep dancing.  Let’s bring out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is…”

Reliance on debt for the essentials and perks of living in the US is financial nihilism; keep using it until you can’t, embrace failure, and start again.  Unfortunately, there are thousands of homeless Americans that discovered that it is nearly impossible to regain what they lost to debt.  There are millions more that find themselves in diminished circumstances or relying on public assistance and charitable largess.

None of the above denies that there are occasions when incurring debt can be useful.  Our economy permits it and encourages it when there are no other reasonable alternatives; the home mortgage being the prime example.  However, relying on debt to build your personal economy is just as silly as relying on a poor diet to assure your health.

4. Your legacy…There is a class of Americans that believe you should die broke and leave no legacy to your heirs or anyone else.

BUNK!

I personally feel that leaving a legacy of wisdom and wealth (if you have it) is one of the main reasons God put us here.  The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution embody the economic wisdom we need to pass on based on their Judeo-Christian value system.

Creating family wealth has allowed America to grow into the most powerful economy in history.   The simple truths found in the finaicial admonitions of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and other lesser knowns are why Americans have amassed more wealth in 200 years than the rest of the world did in two millennia.

Perhaps those who have received no legacy find it difficult to comprehend these ideas.  If that’s you, let me ask you to imagine your life had you received the guidance of wise counsel and the benefit of a financial foundation.  If you do so honestly, you will recognize the value of legacy – and do something about it.

These four pillars are essential to every successful personal economy.

Money is the essential foundation for that success.  Debt may play a role, but it erodes the foundation and weakens the structure so must be used sparingly and cautiously.

Remember the paradox of frugality:  When individuals strengthen their personal economies by following the practices of the EUREKONOMICS™ Model they weaken the hold of The Debt Paradigm on the economy that is being promoted in Washington and on Wall Street.

The “soulution” to the thrift paradox may be as elusive as Nessie (the Lock Ness monster) to the Dolts in DC and the Wonks on Wall Street, so I expect the US economy to muddle along until we replace them with representatives that actually understand economics and have a modicum of wisdom.

In the meantime, take care of yourself.  Build your personal economy on a solid foundation that supports the Four Pillars.

Jeffrey Reeves