I was reminded recently how different we are, as Americans, compared to the rest of the World as it relates to financial independence. First off, a wide majority of humans still live in undeveloped regions and subsist at a very basic level, with no concept or even capability to save anything at all for their future. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to plan and save! Yet even in most other developed countries, the concept of saving for retirement is completely foreign. These countries have a more socialist tilt, so the government provides for retirement income at a much higher level than our Social Security system (albeit at a much greater tax burden).
I think our independent pioneer heritage has created in us a deep desire for success, you know, that American Dream. Our ancestors crossed oceans and plains at perilous risk in order to find a better way of life for themselves and their families. I believe that drive and desire is still there, and is the reason for our nation’s success as a World leading economic power.
That’s the good news, that our economic and political environment is setup relatively well for us to achieve and succeed. The bad news is, this freedom comes with a high level of personal responsibility.
I believe what you and I do with this freedom, whether we choose to be responsible or not, has grave consequences not only for ourselves, but for future generations.
In order to maintain a nice living for our entire lifetime, we MUST save for our future. Nobody is going to do it for us. Most of us have the tools and resources available to us to make this happen. As long as we use these tools and resources, the opportunity is ours.
If, as a society, we fail at this, then the economic and political environment that makes it possible will go away, along with any chance for future generations to have the same opportunities we enjoy.
Over the Holidays and into the New Year is a good time to evaluate how we are coming along on our own financial independence. It’s also a good time to visit with our kids and grandkids about this important concept.
Have a great Thanksgiving!