There was a time when people couldn’t wait to grow up and take on responsibility. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s many men would leave home at 16 to start their own farm or business. Jack Daniel founded his distillery at the age of 16, according to some records. Women would often get married by 16 (or younger) or would leave home to teach school early in their teenage years. There was always a drive to be out on one’s own and to start one’s adult life.
Adult past times were also distinctly different from kid’s games. Adults would play cards or lawn games or just sit and talk over drinks. Adults would always want to look dignified and cared about their reputations.
In particular, young people craved responsibility. They wanted to have control over their own lives and to provide for themselves and their families. They spent most of their time working hard because there was hard work to do. Men were also willing to take up the responsibility of a rifle if their freedom was threatened and women were ready to do whatever was necessary to protect their families and support their husbands at times of war and conflict.
Sometime in the 1960’s this all began to change. People began to spend more and more time on leisure and started to shirk responsibility. The 1980’s generation got even worse where adults never put down the game controller, saying without shame that they were “gamers” late into their twenties, thirties and even forties. Adults before them would never have had enough time for video games and would be ashamed to admit it if they spent time on such useless pursuits. This has devolved even further since then as adults after the Millenium are wasting more and more time on FaceBook and Twitter, playing games and spreading useless gossip. Note this is adulats of all ages.
I’m not saying that we need to go back to the work ethic of the 1800’s. Technology has advanced, making it a lot easier to produce enough to feed your family and still leave time for leisure. What I am saying, however, is that it is time we return to taking on more responsibility, particularly when it comes to things that affect our finances and ultimately our security.
One area that is especially lacking is in taking responsibility as a citizen to stay informed about the things that really matter and do things to protect oneself and family. Case in point – the President appeared on the web satire site, Funny or Die, in order to promote signing up for the Affordable Care Act health exchanges. When asked whether it was below the dignity of the office for the President to appear on such a site, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the President needed to go to such mediums to reach his target audience, which is young adults. They don’t watch the news shows or read the papers.
Note that this is not an indictment against Gen-Y. It isn’t like those in Gen-X are generally well-informed either. If anything, I’ve found those in their early twenties who are just entering the workforce are more tuned into the regulations and crony capitalism that is affecting their lives than those who came of age in the 1990’s, perhaps because they did “everything right,” going to the right schools and getting good grades, and yet they are unable to find a decent job. The sad fact is that it is not as easy to start a business as it once was because there are all sorts of regulations designed to make it really pricey to enter many industries. This is done to protect existing businesses, who can afford to comply with the regulations and therefore lobby politicians to pass these regulations, from start-ups who would take market share. Gen-X if anything is more clueless since they grew up in a time of great prosperity where jobs were easy to get and businesses were growing fast. It was easy to tune out.
Things can change. It would be extremely difficult for a few informed people to change things on their own, however. Instead what it would take is a lot of people just doing little things. Talking to their friends. Writing a Tweet. Linking to some important news articles on FaceBook. And then speaking up about things. The Great Wall of China would take thousands of years for one person to build. But it could be built in a week if everyone added a few bricks.
A central theme of this blog is becoming financially independent by putting away extra money into investments. If you allow the amount of taxes and fees collected by the government to grow to the point where you have no more disposable income to put away into investments, you will never be able to put money away to invest. You will never be financially independent and you’ll be sending your money for your healthcare, education, food, housing, and other necessities to the government and then need to jump through hoops to get the services you paid for. You can also bet that the rich will have access to private services and they’ll be a lot better than what you’ll be getting from the government since they’ll have the money to pay twice. You won’t.
There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, that was not known back in 2010 right after it was rushed through Congress. It was obvious that individual healthcare plans would be dropped since they did not meet the requirements of the law. This was the plan. It was obvious that younger, healthy people would be paying more because they would need to supplement the older, sicker people. It is obvious now that employers will drop employee healthcare and send them to the exchanges once the employer mandate finally kicks in, having been delayed until after the next election. None of this should have been a surprise to anyone who was paying attention.
Play you video games if you want to. But get your news from somewhere other than the Daily Show and the occasional sound bite on the radio or a Twitter tweet. Read the Wall Street Journal. Watch several of the different news shows. Read through the stories on Yahoo besides those about Miley Cyrus. Read and listen to all sorts of different opinions from many different sources – even those you don’t agree with – and then do further reaserach to find the truth. You need to grow up when it comes to knowing about the things that will affect your financial future. Otherwise, there is no reason to read this blog because you’ll never have any money to invest.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.