When I was a youngster living in Decatur, AL I was about as patriotic as a person my age could be. My Dad had served in the US Navy during WW II and I loved hearing him tell about his adventures as a sonar expert on a small ship in the Pacific. My brother and I often enjoyed going to “war movies” with my Dad at the local drive-in theater. One of my most vivid memories from my childhood is the feeling of pride and sense of safety I felt every time I saw a military jet fly across the sky. That sight and sound always stirred within me emotions of patriotism and it was almost as though I could envision myself being in that streaking aircraft ready to defend our country. And, although at the time I understood very little about how our nation was able to afford all those jets and tanks and ships, I never heard anything that caused me to question the integrity of our nation in terms of finances. I knew nothing about politics. I just knew I was proud and grateful to be a citizen of the USA.
Who Really owns those Jets and Tanks and Ships?
Maybe part of the problem is that I just know too much now. This is such a different time and place, especially in regard to information available concerning politics and the financial condition of our nation. It would take quite an effort not to be aware that our nation is in such incalculable debt that one can hardly imagine how or even if it will ever be paid back. Can anyone tell me what will really happen in the future if this debt continues to swell uncontrolled and unchecked? In my opinion, we should never have gotten into this spiraling abyss of spending year after year far more than we have in the “bank”. I know that is a very simplistic statement. That is the point. There is nothing difficult about following common sense when it come to finances.
We still live in the USA!
Even though the spread sheet for our nation doesn’t look so good, we still live in a free country. And, debt and all, I would not choose to be a citizen of any other county on this Earth. That’s because I still have personal freedom to manage my own finances regardless of how incompetent our leaders may seem to be with their responsibilities. The basic foundations of financial stability remain the same:
1) You need income. In other words, get a job. It may not be your perfect or ideal job, and even if it is, there will be distasteful parts of even that job.
2) You need to keep records. In other words, a budget. And you must not ignore or manipulate your budget even when Congress ignores theirs.
3) You must have a plan for the future. The future will become a reality some day unless Jesus returns sooner than later.
A Legacy that Works
Even though I’m sure my children have grown tired of hearing it, my Dad pretty well summed it all up into one simple yet profound statement. He became a certified financial planner after working as an accountant for many years. He gained a lot of knowledge about finances and he thoroughly enjoyed helping people learn how to master their financial situations. He was able to help people make good investments and to understand how to use the tax codes to their advantage. I’ve seen some of the formulas for various financial calculations which had to be done without the use of a modern computer back then and those were pretty impressive. But, when he boiled it all down, he always said, “It’s not how much you earn that’s important; it’s how much you spend”. If he were still around, I think I might encourage him to run for congress!