From the Editor’s Desk

Gary Foreman


The Best Place to Achieve Financial Independence

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

This Saturday we’ll be celebrating Independence Day. Unfortunately the holiday is marked by the COVID virus and much social disruption. TDS is a financial site so I’ll limit my comments to financial issues.

I believe that the facts show that the U.S. offers the greatest opportunity to achieve financial independence of anywhere on the planet. Is it perfect? No. But, if you want to be financially independent, there’s no better place to live and work.

Let’s look at some facts. “A groundbreaking study by Just Facts has discovered that after accounting for all income, charity, and non-cash welfare benefits like subsidized housing and food stamps, the poorest 20 percent of Americans consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent countries. This includes the majority of countries in the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including its European members. In other words, if the US “poor” were a nation, it would be one of the world’s richest.” (source: Foundation for Economic Education)

Many argue that there’s great inequality in income. And, that’s true. Bill Gates, Hollywood actors and sports figures make way more in a year than you and I will in a lifetime. Same with corporate CEOs. But, outside of jealously and a notion of fairness, what difference does it make? My earning potential isn’t really affected by how much they make. If the CEO earned nothing, my paycheck wouldn’t increase by more than a few cents.

It’s also true that many people are disadvantaged. It is easier to become financially free for someone born of wealth and privilege or who’s parents taught them how to earn and manage money. Of course it’s easier for them. But if you’re not one of them, you’re not doomed to a life of poverty. You have a better chance in this country of becoming financially independent than in almost any other place in the world. In fact, in most places you would have no chance of achieving financial freedom.

I don’t need a lot of statistics to prove my point. You can tell a lot by how people act and what they do. My great grandfather emigrated from Bohemia shortly after the U.S. Civil War. He became a lumberjack and then a farmer in Wisconsin. He came for a better life. Because he believed that the U.S. offered opportunity to better himself.

People today still come to the U.S. for the same reason. To better themselves. To have more economic opportunity. They come by the hundreds and thousands. They recognize and long for the chance for a better financial future in the U.S.

We don’t need to have laws keeping people from leaving the country. If you think somewhere else offers a better opportunity, you’re free to pursue it. We have no walls holding people in.

To be clear, I’m not inviting anyone to leave. I’m not saying “love it or leave it”. But I am saying that if you want a better financial future, you’ll have a hard time finding a better place to pursue it than here in the U.S.

Will it take hard work and perseverance? Yes, most things of value in life take effort. In fact, that’s why we created our free daily email newsletter Financial Independence awhile back. If you don’t already get it you can subscribe here.

So I invite you to celebrate Independence Day by declaring a little bit of financial independence for yourself!

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!

The Important Role that Fathers Play

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

Father’s Day reminds me of the important role that fathers play in the home. Stats show that children that have a father in their life are much more likely to succeed in school and avoid trouble with the law.

(Before I’m branded as a sexist, let me point out that mothers play an important role, too. I’ve not seen them, but there probably are stats showing that the lack of a mother in the home makes life harder for children. And, for the record, many single mothers do a fine job inf raising their children under difficult circumstances.)

I was blessed to have a good father. If he had a fault, it was that he worked too hard and sometimes his expectations of me were a little bit above my abilities. But he taught me many things that have paid dividends throughout my adult life.

One was frugality. Dad was raised on a farm during the depression. He knew well (and taught me) how to make do with what you have. I wrote an article outlining some of the things he taught me about money. You’ll find it here.

Here at TDS we’ve also explored courses to help explain how money works.

One way to teach kids about money that I’m particularly fond of is a teen clothing allowance. You’d be surprised how a clothing allowance can help you and you and your teen.

Another tool for teaching younger children about money is an allowance. You might also want to consider financial incentives for children.

Finally a reminder that children imitate our actions. If your financial habits need improvement you might want to read When Kids Pick Up Their Parents’ Bad Money Habits. It might cause you to make some changes.

I hope that all of you fathers had a wonderful Father’s Day!

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!

About the Author

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, and Gary shares his philosophy of money here. Gary is available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

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