The Accountable Super Tuesday Platform for Saving America (and some money)

Next week is “Super Tuesday”. Voters in 12 states, including Texas, will participate in determining who the nominees will be for the Presidential election in November. It’s refreshing to be relevant, as the past several cycles seemed to have been all but determined by the time the Lone Star State got to weigh in.  

You may be thinking, “Isn’t this a financial blog?” Well, yes, this isn’t meant to be a political forum, but many of the policies being proposed by the candidates are grounded in fundamental disagreements in how to be more successful financially. What is most striking is both parties’ unwillingness to just admit that life is hard and that the best solution for most problems ailing society is to look in the mirror and be accountable to yourself.

At the risk of alienating both the left and right, this week’s Accountable Update lays out the @ATXAdvisor stump speech if I were running for President.

Build your resume, not a wall. Stuck in a job paying less than you feel you deserve? Your take home pay isn’t going to increase by building walls unless you are in the wall building business. In fact, waiting for “the government” to do anything, like forcing your employer to pay you more, is a formula for continued disappointment and even unemployment.

If you don’t see a path to the C-suite in your current job, you can blame it on the impoverished immigrant that probably spent their life savings and even risked their life trying to get to the country of opportunity in which you live. Or, you can start chasing that opportunity yourself.

Talk to your boss. Ask them how you can better develop yourself for a promotion. Ask how to get recognized for doing your job well. Take the feedback, write down a plan, then get after it. Don’t discount that you are free to quit to pursue a better job, too; just be realistic about your qualifications and expectations.

Start thinking of your job as a career and not a necessary evil and you’ll be off to a great start. For some tips on building your resume, check out this recent blog article from Austin based recruiting firm, HireBetter.

Everyone is not equal. When our forefathers declared independence from Great Britain, they wrote that “…all men are created equal…” It was and continues to be a wonderful aspiration for our country to strive for the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But that’s all we’re entitled to. Would it be nice if we all had exactly the same IQ, knowledge, appearance, abilities, money, connections, inheritance, etc.? Maybe, but we don’t.

So get over it. Instead, here is what you can do to get a leg up.

Quit smoking, or even better, never start. A recent study by WalletHub estimates the cost of smoking in Texas at $1,515,958 over a smoker’s lifetime.

Parents, have frank discussions about sex and relationships. Teach about birth control, where to get it and how to use it. An unplanned birth doesn’t guarantee a life of poverty, but according to the American Journal of Public Health, unintended pregnancy rates are highest among the poorest and lower educated.

Work hard at high school, graduate. Get a secondary education at a trade school or college. Keep working hard, and graduate.

College is too expensive? Apply for grants, scholarships, or (cough cough) get a job. Just don’t fall for the bait and switch scam of calling loans “financial aid”. Borrowing money, then whining about it a few years later will not make the debt go away. You can’t generally even get student loan debt discharged in a bankruptcy.

Go ahead and get used to saving for purchases tomorrow instead of borrowing today. Your patience will be paid off in greater wealth. You may even be able to survive the inevitable collapse of Social Security and Medicare that is coming during your lifetime.

Want to give your kids an advantage? Sacrifice for their future.

Get a second job, live in smaller house, and drive an older car. Anything that will allow you to put some savings away in a college or retirement account. You may be contributing to the privilege and inequality that everyone wants to feel guilty about these days, but you’ll also be breaking a cycle that should result in more prosperity for you and your family’s future generations.

"Free" is expensive. Nothing sounds better than when someone promises something for nothing. Take "free college for everyone" as an example. It sounds great, we’ll have a better educated workforce, no more crushing debt at graduation, and rainbows and lollypops for everybody too.

What isn’t mentioned is that the teachers that have spent 25-30 years of their lives getting educated, the nice buildings, books, computers, and everything else that is needed to provide that education has to be compensated for. Where will that come from? Those greedy employers that are not paying you enough already?

Go ahead and raise taxes on them, at least you’ll be eligible for unemployment benefits for 26 weeks until you have to find another job.

Of course, you could join the military and serve your country. Yes, you may be called upon to make sacrifices during that service, but you will be paid and eligible for benefits such as the GI Bill which assists service members and eligible veterans in paying for education and training.

It’s not free of risk. You see, the freedoms you enjoy like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are expensive. You just have to decide if you want to be in the minority that pays the way, in money or blood.

The thing about democracy is whether you sit around and enjoy it or work to pay for it, you get a say next Tuesday. Don’t take that for granted.