by, 09-19-2011 at 12:27 AM (517 Views)
I'll admit that I am frustrated. I'm not surprised, though. I just wish I can go back and pinpoint when this all started. I think when VCRs first came out, and people were intimidated by the instructions on how to set the clock. It became socially acceptable to just leave it flashing "12:00". Or put a piece of black tape over the clock, if you were really crafty.
Now, it seems that every problem has the same solutions for modern "man": Ignore the problem, or cover it up.
Oh, we have advanced to a third "solution... Call an expert! Little Joey's good with electronics, maybe he can set my VCR clock. If a pipe in your house leaks, the phone is the first thing reached for, not a wrench. Your car is making a noise? Don't even try to figure it out yourself. That clanking sound you hear is because your crankcase is three quarts low, and you're too damn lazy to even check your own oil.
Rant off. Topic at hand: Financial responsibility. Based upon my above observations, I shouldn't be surprised that most modern western (educated) people are blissfully ignorant on how finances work. First and foremost, each person has a personal responsibility to care for and take care of their own financial affairs. At best I see delegation to supposed experts. At worst, mindless floundering and drifting.
Definitions: This is NOT about money in the bank, or how much you earn. I have some in-laws that make over double what my family earns per annum, yet they have filed for bankruptcy twice in the last ten years. We have never earned more that the median US income, yet we live comfortably. We put money away, the kids get their braces, everyone is clothed and fed well. We are far from rich, but I feel blessed that we are able to at least cover the basics. However, the most important thing is that, in our family, WE control our financial responsibility.
HUH? Here's the deal: If we tried, we could get on the government teat and suck-up food stamps, or other "free" programs. Instead, my wife bargain shops and stockpiles goods for future use. She cans food. We are tight with our neighbors, and help each other out. This isn't a pride thing, or even a moral decision. The fact is, being dependent on certain people is dangerous. I manage my 401k retirement accounts myself. Why? I'm no genius, but I have a bigger stake in my security than some 'financial expert". I take the time and learn what I need to know. Result: While the average portfolio is down YTD, mine is up a couple of percent. And I feel better knowing that I control my own destiny. And my family's security.
All the cash that wards of the state soak up doesn't bother me. What bothers me is their self-inflicted serfdom. My father never graduated High School, but he made his way in an honorable, self-sufficient manner. And I learned from him. I got my hands dirty (still do). I learn and grow. I associate myself with others that have the same values. We all know how to ask for help, but it isn't our default action when faced with adversity.
My point is, when things go bad (and they will), so many people will be reaching for the phone, instead of their pantry. When no one comes to rescue them, I pity their families and the pain that they must endure because of someone's dependency and laziness. Call me crazy (I know you will). In the near future, a cyber attack may cripple our nation. No ATMs, possibly no trucks arriving at your grocery either. Or it could be an EMP pulse, or two. Perhaps an epidemic will shut everything down. Regardless, you won't be going out for those Doritos and Pepsi. If you do, all you'll find is broken glass and possibly gangs that want to have fun with you.
The cops! They'll protect me! Wrong. They'll be home' taking care of their families. Pick up that phone and dial 911 (or 999 for some of you). That tone you hear is the sound of regret and reproach. And more than likely, fear.
Pretend that nothing will ever happen. Or if it does, "experts" will help you. OR, take the time now, and survey your position and what YOU can do to prepare. That nice island getaway may not look as sweet if you realize what you could be doing with that money instead. It's about choices, and the freedom to be safe, or a serf.
If you show up on my doorstep, I'll have some black tape for you. But you won't need it, since the electricity will be out anyway. Just do us both a favor, and do something now, not later.