It’s been a few weeks since I posted an update. My blog is about trying to improve one’s financial standing over time by making good decisions with your income, expenses, savings and investments. The articles discuss a lot of different financial and investment topics but with so much going on in the world it has been challenging to write about personal finance. It seems like everywhere we turn there is something negative happening. I’ve been feeling more tired recently and I think it’s just from the bombardment of negative news that I read about every day.
Plus, on a lighter note, my kids are done with school, summer camps are not happening, youth sports are largely on pause, and so dad is trying to put together his own summer camp every day at home. It has been no easy task trying to enrich my kids’ summer while making sure I accomplish my own goals. Quite frankly I have sucked at being able to do both. I’ve got two months to turn it around (maybe longer if school stays online in the fall).
That being said, it’s time to get back on the horse and start writing again. I really enjoy writing to try to help others get motivated to do more with their own personal finances and it helps crystallize my own planning.
When it comes to my beliefs, and these beliefs influence my advice when it comes to personal finances, I am a person driven by personal accountability:
- I acknowledge that everyone has a different starting point when it comes to their finances and their opportunities in life. There are people that start with golden, silver, wood, and no spoons. That being said, every race and gender has people that have moved up and down the spectrum of financial achievement during their lives.
- I am a firm believer that you do not have to finish in the same financial position that you started in. A combination of your starting point, hard work, luck, smart decisions and opportunity typically dictate where you end up in terms of your financial well-being. It is harder for those people starting at the bottom to move up but I respect the personal achievement of any individual that improves his/her quality of life through hard work and discipline.
- I believe that you should be able to decide what you want to do with your money during your life and when you die. I do not believe that the government should have the right to redistribute one’s own wealth. That does not mean I believe your wealth should stay within your family forever but I fundamentally believe that a person should be able to choose how he spends, invests, or donates his money.
- I believe that no one is stuck in his or her place and that the United States provides significant opportunity to improve your financial status over time. The United States does not provide equal opportunity to everyone but it still provides real opportunity to the person that applies him or herself.
- I do not believe money is the ultimate barometer of achievement or that money is the root of all evil. Instead, I believe money is a tool that allows you to do more of what you want.
- A person chooses whether he/she wants to make sacrifices to achieve something and much of what I write about is how to make certain sacrifices to achieve financial independence over time. When it comes to personal finance, people make choices all throughout their lives that influence whether they will achieve financial independence.
- I do not believe that people should be at an advantage or disadvantage based on race, gender or anything else that is not merit-based. That being said, I understand there will always be inherent biases in decision-making but I believe significant progress has been made during my life time when it comes to reducing the impact that bias has on one’s ability to accomplish things in life. I believe biases can be overcome in this country based on the accomplishments I have seen during my life by others.
Those are some of my key tenets in life when it comes to personal finance and how I look at my own ability to improve the life of myself and my family. However, what I have seen from the actions and comments of others over the last several months is that many people do not believe they have the opportunity to improve their standing in life because they believe significant structural biases remain in place in the country and their community. My wife commented it almost feels like a Civil War is about to take place in this country. Daily vitriol is spewing from people that have a platform to speak – our politicians, our civic leaders, our media, our athletes – everyone is escalating the divisiveness and unwilling to be civil and find common ground. As a country, you would hope that our similarities would unite us as a people despite our differences and disagreements. Americans are unique in that they are all from different backgrounds but they have historically united when necessary because they are Americans.
How does all the rambling by me tie back to a personal finance blog? It doesn’t per se but as I write to try to make sense of all the madness I keep coming back to two things – (1) the average person needs to identify those set of principles that they want to follow and live by in order to center himself when there is nothing but chaos swirling around him and (2) one of those principles might be to try to be reasonable when there is nothing but unreasonable behavior surrounding us. Please leave a comment if you have found some clarity in all the craziness.
My next post will be back to personal finance topics but it just did not feel it appropriate to write about stock options after a few weeks off from writing.
I hope everyone made the most out of their Fourth of July holiday.