Welcome to my beautiful city of Chicago. I could not be more eager to see you all leave. But while you are here it has already been entertaining watching you all learn firsthand about this awesome thing in capitalism that we call property rights. You see, ignorance is no excuse to violate property rights, and when you do so there are consequences. So it’s wonderful for me to know that you are receiving a hands on learning experience about capitalism, and it's also funny to see you get arrested, it really brightens my day.
Now believe me, if I could completely avoid your wretched existence I would, and I sincerely mean that from the bottom of my heart. But your planned and unplanned demonstrations will reroute my bus ride to work, and we are all but sure to bump into each other while I’m commuting to and from work.
**oh, so I don’t lose you this early in the letter, work is this place you go to where you contribute job skills to a company and they say thank you by putting money in your bank account every month. It’s really cool, you can use that money to buy groceries, go out to eat, travel and save for retirement and your kids’ college, but I digress**
Now when I see you face to face I won’t be able to tell you how I really feel about you nor engage you over conversation. Why? Because my need to gag and vomit will be greater than your need to occupy a shower, yea, it’s that bad, and please remember that this is coming from a veteran red line rider who knows all too well the foul and drunken shenanigans of Cubs fans. So I would like to use this space today to share with you some truths in life that are contrary to what you are crying about. Translation: I think you are stupid and here’s why:
Outcry against Government
Now you might be inclined to think that I would be on your side on this one, but let me assure you that I am not. When it comes to the awful, stupid and irresponsible decisions and actions of our government we have no one to blame but ourselves. Take Afghanistan for an example. We have been in the process of “liberating” this country for over ten years now. There have been several elections for president, congress and the senate since our military set foot in that land. Collectively, we have not rallied behind peacemaking politicians who will actually do the work of ending the waste of our people and resources overseas. We have continued to elect those who see the need for war and politicians who lie to us in saying that they will get our soldiers out of the Middle East.
Government is inept. Yes, as hard as it is for me to wrap my head around, politicians are actually dumber than you. There’s only one way to get what you want from a politician: make them unemployed. And if the next moocher lies to you, keep voting them out until you elect someone who keeps their word. I personally believe and have seen firsthand that government is wasteful, useless and thoroughly incompetent. Now when in fact you have your trustworthy politicians elected and they enact government actions that actually benefit someone other than themselves, please feel free to look me up and tell me that I have been proven wrong. I’ll be out on Lake Shore Drive skiing in the middle of August, because hell would have frozen over by then.
About three and a half years ago I had a negative net worth and was overwhelmed by student loan debt. Since that time I’ve had just about a $200,000 change in financial position. I am debt free, live below my means while on a budget and am saving for retirement and WILL save for my kids’ college tuition. I did not, am not and will not whine that the CEO of the company I work for makes more in a year than my entire division’s budget. Executive salaries are decisions made by a company’s board of directors, translated: NOT YOU! It’s none of your damn business because it doesn’t concern you. If you don’t like it, don’t work there. Oh wait, I forgot, you don’t work. In that case if you don’t like that company’s policies then don’t buy their products. Companies don’t print their own currency and pay executives with that, they use dollars and cents from profit generated by economic activity. If you don’t buy their product then they see a drop in revenue, and if there’s a drop in revenue then they can’t pay salaries.
I didn’t find financial peace by crying, whining and moaning about somebody else’s financial situation. I grew up, I got a job, I live on less than I make and I have worked hard for everything that I have. Someone will always make more than you. But you have control over your spending and saving habits. In my minimum wage project I outlined how you can buy a home and retire with dignity having made minimum wage your entire working lifetime. Your laziness to bootstrap your personal finances is not an excuse to point your greedy and entitled finger at someone else.
The last of your gems that I’ll talk about is debt, specifically for student loans. Lately I’ve been amazed at your stance on this (not in a good way). You signed the promissory note. It’s likely that your ill-advised parents cosigned the promissory note. You know that debts have to be repaid. Yet I cannot understand why, after all of this damning evidence, you think it is everyone else’s fault that you were stupid and did not think through what you signed up for.
If I had the opportunity again I would have applied to an in state and low cost university. I would have worked with an academic advisor at the in state university to plan how many classes could transfer from a local community college, and I would have taken as many allowable classes to transfer up to the maximum. I would take night, weekend and online classes at the community college while working full-time either washing dishes at a restaurant or being placed in an entry level position through a temp agency, whichever was available. I would work and save and save and work, paying myself through community college and eventually finishing the 4 year degree at the 4 year college. All in all it may have taken me 6 years to accomplish this. So if things pan out, I would have a college degree, 6 years of working experience and no debt.
But you never stopped to think for yourself now did you? You simply picked the best party school or the snobbiest one that would let you in, and you just went, never asking how much.
It’s not my fault that you cannot think for yourself. It is your fault that you are sitting in a financial mess overburdened by debt and unemployment. You’ve got to leave the cave, kill something and drag it home. There’s no shame in washing dishes, delivering pizzas or throwing newspapers, especially when you are working two or three of these jobs at a time to keep your head above water. It’s not easy, building wealth and living responsibly below your means is hard and requires everyday intentional action…it’s just worth it. But until you do this, until you have this never say die attitude and you are willing to do whatever it takes to support yourself rather than waiting for the government to do it, you will never get sympathy from me.