Let’s get back to matters of personal finance after our whimsical journeys the last month or two, shall we? I take my inspiration today from the recent Fourth of July celebration. I hope you celebrated more than a day off from the salt mines and celebrated this great — though not without flaws — land of opportunity and freedom in which we live. Want a little inspiration of your own? Read the Declaration of Independence again; I think I last read it in a junior high American History class.
Why we celebrate the Fourth of July
Side note: What percentage of Americans do you suppose are aware that the Fourth of July is supposed to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence? I found a Marist poll from 2011 that gives that number as 58%. All together now on three: one, two, three: sighhhh.
Historical or hysterical?
But I promised (suggested, really) that I would get back to matters of personal finance this month, and not reflect on the woes of modern day education. My question is: how are people able to make decisions — financial or otherwise — without some historical knowledge? Perhaps many people rely on opinions hysterical, rather than historical… what do you think?
As for me, I really did reread the Declaration of Independence before writing to you this month. I was once again moved by this well-known snippet: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Great stuff, isn’t it? I wish I could write like that. I know, you wish I could too. But it is great, soaring language in any case. Kennedyesque, I say with a certain irony. Hardly the stuff we read on CNN or Fox News in the 21st century.
Before we get stuck in the mire of deciding whether or not our modern world considers any truths to be “self-evident,” will you allow me to stipulate that you and I in fact do? (Otherwise, you’re probably not reading this very page, are you?)
Personal finance, freedom, and happiness
So, if we cherish Freedom, and the pursuit of Happiness – like the founders — is personal finance an ally or an enemy of these concepts?
I talk to you a lot about planning; this is “All About the Plan,” after all. When was the last time you went back to the start of your plan to review your most basic goals?
In fact, what are your financial goals?
- To accumulate a certain amount of stuff?
- Achieve a certain dollar amount on your balance sheet?
- Retire at X age?
- Or build a legacy?
I am not, mind you, telling you any of your goals were wrong, on or off the list. Those things I mentioned are all an important and valid part of “The Plan.” Well, Your Plan, actually!
You owe it to yourself to re-analyze your financial plan
I’m a math nerd, so I have lots of numbers I wish to attain before I can plant the flag and declare victory. However, I am suggesting to you that with the passing of years comes changes in perspective. You owe yourself the courtesy of reexamining what matters most to you, and redoing your financial plan, at any step in the journey.
Do yourself a favor and reanalyze your plan with a focus on Freedom. You have the power to achieve your financial planning goals and realizing this can be… Freeing!