My Financial Epiphany: Change to Survive
For many in the Christian church, today – January 6 – is celebrated as the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the Magi who traveled a great distance to visit and offer gifts to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
In secular terms, an “epiphany” is a sudden perception or insight into reality or essential meaning of something. Usually, an epiphany is prompted by some simple thought, experience, or event in your life.
Mr. ToughMoneyLove experienced an epiphany of sorts this weekend about the future of our individual and collective financial affairs. It was actually triggered by something that Scott Burns wrote in a recent column titled “Home Preparedness and the $50 Billion Straw.” This is what Scott said that really affected me:
What can we do to feel safe again?
Should we push the politicians for fundamental reform?
No way. They simply aren’t qualified to provide it. Neither party has shown any willingness to stop promising benefits that have to be paid for by our children and grandchildren. Their Ponzi scheme, more politely known as Social Security and Medicare, is far larger than the alleged fraud of Bernard Madoff.
The tough answer is that we have to change. The moment we ask the politicians, regardless of party, we’re disempowering ourselves and empowering them.
That is the opposite of what we need to do.
It seems that there is an endless supply of people who can get themselves elected into positions where they have power over our financial lives but are completely incompetent to exercise that power. Unfortunately, there are also millions of voters willing to put and keep those people in power. As just one example, Franken is being foisted upon us by the same voters who turned a professional wrestler (Jesse Ventura) into a governor. Thanks Minnesota! And you voters in Illinois- aren’t you totally embarrassed? You’re going to need to build a new prison just to house all of your corrupt politicians.
So my epiphany is that not only should I resist any hope that our government will do the right things with my money and our financial institutions, I must acknowledge that it never will. But I should not simply despair. Instead, to survive economically I will have to be the one making the changes.
Last November I wrote about adopting a survivalist approach to our economic crisis. In his recent column, Scott Burns is thinking the same way and offers some tips for becoming an economic survivalist on a more or less permanent basis. (Check out the books he recommends.) There are lots of other like-minded folks out there, including the conspiracy theorists and armageddon predictors who say buy gold and guns then hunker down.
I’m not interested in gold and guns as a survivalist strategy. But I am going to try even harder to build up a variety of assets – including some very hard, paid-for assets – that will allow my family to survive economically without depending on a traditional income. That is a change that I can make to keep as much economic power with Mr. ToughMoneyLove and away from those in our government who just want to abuse their power over my money as well as the money of my children and grandchildren.
I have a lot of thinking to do about what being an economic survivalist really means. Having an epiphany provides realization but not necessarily solutions. Who knows, I may become an evangelist for an “economic survivalist” movement. (I even registered the economicsurvivalist.com domain name just in case!)
So now I am wondering if any of you have ever had a financial epiphany. If so, what was it? Maybe I am late to the party with mine. If so, tell me about it.
Image credit: Daniel Wildman