Service Before Selfie, More Idiotic Advice, and a Wish

Service Before Selfie

Today is Veterans’ Day, a day for honoring those Americans that have served in our armed forces. Since the US military draft ended in 1973, our military has drawn exclusively from volunteers. The result has been that the percentage of Americans that have served has fallen from over 70% of the “Greatest Generation” of the World War II era to around 13% of “Millennials” and “Gen Y”.

Today’s veterans chose to serve for a variety of reasons, ranging from sense of patriotic duty, to gain life and/or vocational experience, pay for education, or just to have gainful employment. I know my personal choice was driven as much by the economic benefits of the GI Bill as any perceived obligation to God and Country.

So today is not only a day to thank a Vet, but also an opportunity to reflect on what it means to serve and whether we are all doing our part. Go ahead and post your heartfelt appreciation on Facebook, but in today’s narcissistic self-absorbed world, also remember that what we need is more service before selfie.

More Idiotic Advice

Speaking of narcissists, you might have caught my Update a couple of weeks ago where I pointed out the absurdity of following “Self-Made Millionaire” Grant Cardone’s idiotic advice to not invest in a retirement account. Cardone doubled down on his lunacy this week, advising people to avoid home ownership.

He began an article with the statement, "Unless you have 20 million bucks in the bank, in cash, you have no business buying a house." This guidance flies in the face of the evidence that home ownership is a “significant source of household wealth”, per a 2013 paper from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Additionally, a 2014 Federal Reserve Bulletin found that homeowners, on average, are worth 36 times more than renters. Mr. Cardone provides occasional useful advice, such as "invest in yourself", peppered with dangerous ideas that have little or no foundation. I appreciate that he has had success as a businessman, but the fact that he has found a platform in popular media that is helping him sell awful advice through books and speaking engagements puts him in a position to do real harm.

I haven’t read Cardone’s books, nor have I attended his “Sales Training University”, but I am comfortable advising anyone considering the purchase of either to put that money to better use in an IRA or on a down payment for a house.

A Wish

Finally, if the past couple of weeks has taught us anything, it’s that the only certainty in life is uncertainty. Whether it was the Chicago Cubs coming back from a 3-1 game deficit on the road to win the World Series, Donald Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, or the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting new highs the day after election night when indications were that a correction was imminent, you just never know.

Trying to speculate on short term results seldom leads to long term success. On the other hand, having a plan both for the expected and unexpected is the best way to avoid a potentially damaging knee jerk reaction. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. 

My wish is for all of the Accountable Update's readers to have a plan. If you don't have one or haven't reviewed it in the past 12 months, we should talk.