Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Election Night Recap

I’ll start with this. Whether it was Obama or Romney that won last night, neither has the ability nor capacity to influence my personal journey to prosperity. Sure, Obama’s policies will raise my taxes (I am not a high income earner but will be forced to contribute 3% of my income for Obamacare, and my fellow Americans will also) and Romney’s policies would have lowered my taxes. But at the end of the day it is my decisions and actions to eliminate debt from my life, have an emergency fund, prioritize retirement and a cash purchase for a home, invest with long-term time horizons in mind with quality investments, make well informed and fiscally responsible choices with insurance options and live below my means, that has allowed me to confidently carry on with my march toward a net worth of one million dollars and climb the socioeconomic ladder.

With that said my votes here in Illinois got thoroughly thrashed. For the top 2 topics of concern within my state, I voted for Mitt Romney and to amend the State Constitution to modify the approval process to expand public employee retirement benefits. In Illinois 2.9 million people voted Obama to 2 million for Romney, and the amendment to the state constitution failed as the 3/5 majority required to pass the amendment was not reached. So the people have spoken: Higher taxes for all and the state (Illinois at least) can continue approving pension increases that they can’t afford with incredible ease… Awesome! Simply awesome!

Looking forward we will have the fiscal cliff to enjoy as well. Now I am not all doom and gloom, but it will be entertaining watching Obama fight with the House who will fight with the Senate about what to do with the edge of the cliff approaching. I’ll lay it out simply: Neither side will meet in the middle to negotiate a deal, we will fall off the cliff and the market will drop in Q1 2013. Which is why it is even more important for me to stress to you to invest with long time horizons of at least five years. We can’t control the short term stupidity of our government but we can count on American businesses, as a group, surviving and thriving over long time horizons.

I do find it disheartening to see the Dow down at about 2.5% right now.  I would have sworn up and down that following an election night in which victory was clear for either candidate that the market would have responded positively the morning after. But as my wife lovingly pointed out to me last night, (loosely paraphrased) “Now businesses know the environment they will be facing for the next 4 years. They will be getting taxed at higher rates and Obama’s policies deter their strategies to grow and hire in the US…The market will be down tomorrow.”

Damn, she was right.

But I want to end on an uplifting note, not one that makes it look like my puppy was taken out back and shot. So I’ll end with this. Upward economic mobility is alive and well in this country, regardless of which doofuses we have in elected offices all across this country. It’s not easy. It’s been hard to make the conscious choice to live below my means, payoff $80,000 worth of debt in 3 ½ years, prioritize savings and say no to myself in the short term. But it’s been worth every second to rely on myself for my well being and create financial peace within my life. I believe with every ounce of my spirit, that each and every person out there can be a fully functioning six cylinder engine. By having an emergency fund, paying off debt, saving for retirement, saving for college and living below our means, we all have the opportunity to achieve financial security regardless of what is going on in the world around us.

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