By: Austin B. Colby, CFP®, MBA
Election season has become a trying time for many people in our country. I can certainly appreciate the sentiment. The depth to which people’s character seems to dive is shocking and extremely disappointing. It certainly seems that we have moved away from common sense and articulate debates as it relates to issues the government should or shouldn’t be involved in. For example: is it okay that our Federal government has accumulated nearly $20 trillion of debt? No. End of discussion. Is it okay that our Federal government has run at an annual deficit for over a decade? No. End of discussion. These are simple things on which every single American should agree and certainly every elected official also.
However, it is the next step in that conversation that drives real change and action. How do we accomplish this? What can we do?
I was in Chicago recently while the third debate was aired on T.V. When I returned, my eight-year old son told me he “watched the last argument” while I was away. I asked him what he learned from each candidate. Our conversation was as follows:
Son: “Mrs. Clinton wants to help children.”
Me: “How is she going to do that?”
Son: “She didn’t say.”
Me: “What else?”
Son: “Mr. Trump wants to make America great again.”
Me: “How is he going to do that?”
Son: “He didn’t say.”
Here is my wisdom at it relates to these election results. Neither Mrs. Clinton nor President-elect Trump determine what makes American great. We do. Our actions, our character, our integrity, how we treat each other, the level of our willingness to work when other countries don’t, our abilities to create and innovate when others fall short, how we raise our children and educate and train them, and how we handle our personal finances all have a much larger impact on the quality of what America produces than any law or executive order that has been forced upon us by those in Washington D.C.
I like to remind my children and clients that during my adult life I have had three presidents: Mr. Clinton, Mr. Bush, and President Obama. None of them helped me graduate from high school. None of them helped me earn a full-ride Presidential Scholarship to college. None of them have helped me grow this business over the past ten years. None of them have helped me serve all of our clients to the best of my ability.
And, none of them have helped me make wise financial decisions within the Colby household. I will admit that certain administrations and legislators have taxed us at much higher rates, which do have an impact on our personal finances. But, that does not preclude me from making wise choices.
Let me encourage you to this end: I want America great again also. All of you should too. It starts with each of us, and the choices we have the ability to make in our lives, and in the lives of those around us. As it relates to your personal financial situation, you still have complete control over how much money you save, how much money you invest, how much money you spend, and how you handle debt.
As always, we are here to serve you in this regard. Now is a great time to set some personal financial goals for the coming months and years. Let’s focus on that and together continue to build the financial futures that you want.