Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Basics of Financial Management

Lately I feel agitated.  It might show.  As much as I have been trying to tune out the upcoming election news I continue to get forwards and emails that remind me.  The cause my discomfort stems largely because I believe that no matter who is elected or what the news says it is simply not over yet.  I feel a stirring that won't stop that what was crystal clear in 2009 was just the first wave and another is coming. 

That is just what no one wants to hear so every time I bring it up I risk being forever branded as a pessimist.  One thing that really gets on my nerves is hearing President Obama branded as the anti-Christ himself.  Now before you think that makes me a die hard Democrat that could not be farther from the truth.  My politics have always leaned toward the right and I enjoyed working at the campaign headquarters for Republicans on a few occasions. There I said it.  I have revealed my own political persuasion but it's not that simple because in the last few years I have totally become an independent meaning that my views no longer align with either of the parties.

The chief reason for that is that I am sick and tired of people in political offices on both sides getting caught with their pants down or their mouth flapping when it should be shut.  I'm a strong believer that if one cannot contain their  personal impulses they are in no position to lead the country.  We don't need any who have not gone beyond the stage of teenage hormonally charged individuals leading the most blessed country of the world.  It is a sham and a disgrace.  And the big mouths are on both sides.  Anytime a leader has to resort to name calling and defamation of character as the keys to their platform it's just time to step away.

Remember Chuck Connors as the Rifleman?  I loved him.  Honest and good who worked hard but was a defender when he needed to be.  Or, Loren Green as the head of the Ponderosa?  Same thing.  What happened to our men?  What happened to our women who were also strong, courageous, and noble?  Of course these were t.v. characters and not real life.  But regardless of that they were our role models.  Who have we got now?  A bunch of sports figures, Kim Kardasian, and Ellen Degeneras.  These are the people we have allowed to be the spokespeople for our nation around the world.  In the meantime big business keeps scheming about how to get more of our hard earned money. No wonder everything is a mess!

People want to think that this has nothing to do with our economy but it has everything to do with it.  When we esteem those without integrity, self-discipline, and common sense, we are bound to run into a ditch.  When we think a person's personal life has nothing to do with their politics we are only fooling ourselves. 

I didn't intend to jump on my soapbox this morning because I wanted to lighten things up.  If my own words sound abrasive or trite than do us all a favor and do not vote for me to be president.  If you detect ulterior motives from me - do not vote for me as president.  Or, if I seem to be one who will just say anything to get elected - do not vote for me as president.  By now you get the idea. 

But whoever we as the American people vote into office they do deserve to be called "Mr. President" by all for the next four years.  To not do so is not a slam to the person, it is a slam to the office itself and our own country.   We cannot profess to love our country while at the same time we undermine the process which makes us a democracy and tear it down.

The reality is that it is not so much about them as it is about us.  When we as individuals take responsibility for our own actions and words it becomes the standard that can spread.  This includes all areas of life and our values are easily seen in our own personal finances.  As we continue to strive to get to the place we should be it contributes to the overall health of ourselves, families, communities, and the nation.  We can only expect from others those things we adhere to ourselves.  Not to do so is hypocrisy. 

The ups and downs of life and the hits and blows may have thrown some of us off course.  Keeping the goals in focus will help us get back to where we need to be.  As a starting place for financial management:
  1. Expect to work for any money you have and need.
  2. Live within your means.
  3. Save 10% of your income. Recognize that no matter how tight money is today it could be tighter tomorrow.
  4. Give generously to those in need. This can be your neighbor, church, disaster victims, or orphans. It does not always have to be cash but could include no longer needed items or a ride somewhere.  A tithe of 10% is the commonly accepted principle among church attendees.
  5. Invest some of your earnings. This is above your savings for it is the specific intent to have a higher return than the amount you put in.
  6. Stay out of debt. That means friends, family, charge cards, or banks. If you are already in debt pay it off as quickly as possible. Debt is the negative result of not doing #2.

We may not be able to accomplish these things all the time or in every situation but they establish the direction we are going.
Simple? yes. Easy? no. Possible? definitely.


Practical Parsimony said...

I am smiling because both men in your examples were widowers and got along just fine without women.

Carol Schultz said...

Good catch. lol