The Second Post on Money & a Healthy Dose of Politics

Ahh yes, it’s political season here in America. Let the mud-slinging, yard signs, bumper stickers, and biased news broadcasts begin.

Or not…

(WARNING: I may potentially lose some followers on this post. I’m ok with that. If what I’m talking about here bothers you, it’s been nice hanging with you for a while. I’d love to have you back, but I’m not upset if you leave.)

While I’m not going to get into much “political talk” in this post, I am going to talk about something that drives me nuts (even in my own self-examination) and gets people upset – taking personal responsibility. In this case, we’ll be talking a little bit about economics. But first, a small, mini post-within-a-post.

“Let’s not discuss politics right now”

There are two things that really get people out of their comfort zone “these days”. They are:

  • Religion
  • Politics

The reason that most folks don’t like talking about these two subjects is quite simple: They’re a direct line to an individual’s worldview. You know your worldview, right? It’s shaped by past (and in some cases, present) experiences, upbringing, and education. It addressed the tough questions of life. It makes many of us uncomfortable, because when we really think about it, it’s kind of a serious (and maybe scary) line of thought. It’s the end-of-life type stuff.

Every person’s worldview is unique to them. I’ve even come across some families whose children had differing worldviews. In an age of subjection, words can take on a different meaning. We’ll save that deep stuff for another day though, I don’t want to lose you. 🙂

If you’re not upset at this point, you’ll be alright, I’m not going to go much deeper than this. Before I move on, I’d better say this: I am NOT a philosopher or psychologist. I’m merely offering some observations I’ve seen in my short time here on earth. That said, let’s get back to politics.

I’m Josh Crocker, and I approve this message!

So…Politics. Funny topic, eh? It always starts pleasant, and then either dissolves, or ends up in a shouting match. In fact, (again, my observation is that) many of our fellow Americans really have no idea what it means to have a logical argument. We think “arguing” is when Bill O’Reilly or Elliot Spitzer shouts louder into the camera than their “opponent” does in order to “win” the argument. That’s not arguing, that’s two people showing how loud they can talk, without really accomplishing anything.

True arguing would involve getting into your opponent’s head. It involves respecting them, and their worldview. As I’ve come across many political conversations in the past 8 years (as long as I’ve been allowed to vote), I’ve seen a pattern of the exact opposite. Chap A comes to Chap B with a political idea, but is presenting the idea with only his own presuppositions and worldview. Chap B hears this wild and crazy idea with his own ears (and presuppositions & worldview) and like two positive-on-positive or negative-on-negative magnets, the two get upset until they either no longer discuss the matter again or…….they no longer discuss the matter again.

I’d like to move laterally with our political discussion. I do believe it’s important to have (truly) logical arguments between friends (and yes, it IS possible to have and maintain healthy relationships with people who have different political views). It’s also important to perform a little self-examination during political season. And since politics and money seem to always get talked about in the same breath…

Ok Fun Boy, enough about the friggen politics! You said this post was about money!

And it is. I wanted you to understand something first. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative, Independent, Progressive, Moderate, Tea Party member, or even a member of the Rent Is Too Damn High party. There’s one thing that each of us is interested in during this election season: our own money.

Politics is easy as PIE. Former U.S. House of Representatives Senator Bob McEwen has taught famously that “politics is easy as P.I.E.” saying that P = I + E, or Politics equals Integrity plus Economics. When voters go to the polls, they’re really voting on two things, Integrity and Economics. I’d like to discuss the economic portion of that idea.

Taxes! Spending! Bailouts! Deficits!

How many times have you or I seen these words flash across the “urgent” screen of CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News? (Hint: it’s ALL the friggen time!).

People love to complain. The weather, the flu, the federal budget. I’m no “holier than thou” when it comes to this stuff either, I like complaining about it sometimes too. Here’s the catch in all of those:

They’re not in our direct line of control.

In other words, energy spent complaining about things that can’t be changed is wasted energy.

It’s time to get proactive

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, leadership master Stephen Covey talks about two circles: The Circle of Influence, and the Circle of Concern. He says the following about those who possess a Proactive Focus:

“Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their circle of Influence to increase.”

On the flip-side of that, he talks about the opposite type of folks:

“Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control. Their focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimization. The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in areas they could do something about, causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.” (page 83)

Woah! Thier Circle of Influence to shrink? That’s not a good thing! Influence is a good thing, especially when it’s done in a positive manner. The Proactive focus mentioned above is what I want to suggest should be the line of thought for this upcoming political season.

Becoming economically proactive

While everyone else will be talking about how their favorite candidate will save them gabillions of dollars this year, and how their opponent has been sucking the taxpayers dry for the last 12,000 years…you can be economically proactive by taking the reins on your own personal economy.

Where do you get your news from?

Or in this case, who do you let influence you when it comes to your own personal economy? Friends? Co-workers? Family?

I have three gurus I follow online and in books when it comes to personal finance. If they had yard signs (in a political-type fashion), I’d proudly post them on my front lawn. They are:

Let me briefly explain why these three dudes are the king cheeses when it comes to money, and why I think you should listen to them as well.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad was the very first book I read upon returning from my military training in 2007, and it’s THE book that was my “gateway drug” to self-education and personal development. Robert Kiyosaki uses much of his own personal story to explain that the REAL difference between the “rich” and the “poor” (no matter what the candidates will tell you) is what they KNOW about money, and that is it. Kiyosaki’s principles have stuck with me since reading this book, and I’ve come to read multiple other books he has written. Each of his books has only continuously solidified to me 2 things: Knowing the difference between a true asset and liability, and the importance of creating (yes, CREATING) multiple streams of income.

Ramit Sethi is my hero. Seriously. I freakin love this dude (but not in a creepy stalker way). My first post on money was all about the mental mind grenade that is his book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Here I am, well over a year since writing that, and I’m still referencing his book for info. Not only that, but I’ve also purchased some of Ramit’s other products, and his blog‘s FREE content is worth more than most paid info on personal finance out there. Ramit is the man!

Adam Baker is showing up all over the online map these days. As a matter of fact, he just launched his second guide for folks wanting to make some extra cash! I came across Baker a few months ago, as I learned about how he and his family sold all their crap, and traveled the globe for a year! There are not too many folks out there who are “able” (or so they think) to be able to pick up shop, and head around the world for a year and some change. Baker did. It’s because of this unique adventure (and his next trip he’s hinted at taking soon), that I’ll listen to him. ManvsDebt is a fantastic website that will help to not only rope in your debt, but crush it all together!

Like-minded individuals

It’s good to hang with people that will help influence you in a positive way. That’s why I stay close to the 3 guys listed above. There is a TON of BAD financial advice out there (Yahoo! Finance and most tv “money” shows come to mind), but there are also some great people doing some great things. These 3 mentioned above are members of the latter crowd.

I Voted Today

Here’s my challenge to y’all: Instead of joining the crowd in complaining about candidates, take an inward look this week/month and find out where you can fix or improve the economy of “you”. Personal Finance is just that, personal. Nobody else can make financial decisions like you can.

Suggestions: Set some goals. Write down some dreams. What do you want to do with your money in the next 3-6 months? Are you going to travel? Eliminate some large debt? Have a really nice holiday season with the family?

What’s next for you?

Some fun extra reading

The idea for this post was brought about by 2 others I’ve read. Seth Godin recently posted on a topic similar to this, and quite a while ago, Ramit Sethi talked about a subject similar to this also. If you’d like to delve further into this topic, you can read Seth’s post here, and Ramit’s post here.

…and that’s all for now folks! Let’s get the conversation rolling on this one. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Cheers!

– JC

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