We’re Screwed

My philosophy of economic prosperity is summed up thusly:

+ I am responsible for my own welfare

+ I change the world for the better by not being a burden on my neighbor

+ Earned income, passive income, savings and investment are the cornerstone of my financial wellbeing

+ Debt reduces my freedom, my power and my options

+ Compounding works, but requires patience

+ Financial independence is the gateway to independence from governments, and therefore to freedom

That’s close enough. But if you believe in these tenets like me, we’re screwed. Central banks have removed many of our tools for economic freedom, and big governments everywhere are filling the freedom void with…well, more government.

For instance, can you remember the last time you were paid any significant interest on your cash? In Europe now, REAL negative and nominative rates of interest are here. It’s basically the same in the US. If we don’t earn money from lending it to banks and governments, there is no compounding. Saving actually costs you money. Strike one.

Taxes are high everywhere, especially here in the US if you are self-employed, or own a corporation. Government mandated health insurance is just the latest awful impost. I see from this article that new businesses are endangered, which tells you that lots of people see it ain’t worth the effort. Strike two.

Because governments manipulate people into thinking of them as providers of last – and even FIRST – resort, fewer folks look to hard work as the way to freedom. We saw this in Greece this weekend, where the socialists were swept to power. Mind you, the absolute ferfidy of pro “European” politicians and the central bankers who carry out their orders is responsible for this idiocy – the one result of central planning being a passive populace. Strike three.

I am angry. I am angry that we allowed bureaucrats and slimewad politicians to act completely in their own interest. And I fear it all might be too late.

Dollar Mismatch

As I sit at my desk, I am reviewing my dentist’s invoice. Dr K, my guy, is a dentist out of central casting. He is competent, calm, genuine, reasonable, soothing and doesn’t talk down. He is the kindly uncle that everyone needs, the reliable guy you want to have around when stuff turns bad.

And so, after an absence of 18 months, I went to see him with some niggling annoyances last week. I figured my diligent brushing and flossing would isolate me from any big problems, but as is the way with these things, I was wrong.

There is a long-term project for an implant to replace a molar. This molar caused me a LOT of problems four years ago when it cracked – the result, I was told, of night-grinding. Dr K tried to save it but failed, and so we need to fill the hole. Other than that, there was a filling to replace, and some overzealous brushing had pushed my gums back to the point of exposing too much tooth. On two adjacent teeth. Which both required “bonding” which is a kind of surface filling.

Anyway. My point is not to make my mouth the center of attention. The deal here is the cost, a total of $792, which included a cleaning I had today. That is around a week’s wages for a lot of people.

Now, I don’t have dental insurance, so I am quite happy paying from my own pocket money for regular body maintenance like this. What sparks my questioning is how people can afford this kind of cost. I am okay because I budget for it, and I have only to pay for myself. But how would a family of three or four or five keep up their dental work when it is so expensive?

When nearly half of all American families cannot produce $400 in cash for an emergency without borrowing or selling something, how can they do what amounts to routine body-keeping?

So many of us need better incomes, smarter savings plans, and stop hoping for someone else to pay for stuff.

Finding Your Market

Wouldn’t life be grand if you only ever gave your sales presentation to a pre-enthused audience?

By pre-enthused I mean people for whom your product is a perfect fit…those folks who have been searching for the answer you provide.

Yep, that would be grand.

Philosophies abound. Sales lore mostly revolves around the idea that finding the right people – high probability prospects –  is a simple numbers game. If you present to enough people, some will come with you.

That looks increasingly like dead money to me. Meeting the people who are looking for me sounds way more efficient for everyone.

I have an answer. Who is asking the question?

That Vision Thing

Looking forward is more difficult than looking back. Derrr.

A game I like to play is imagining the headlines (ahh, a nineteenth century word if ever there was one) three or five years hence. What will the big story/stories be on January 6th, 2018?

If you can figure that out, your path ahead is much more clear. Unfortunately, few people can extrapolate accurately into the future. An example is Seth Godin.

One of his long-run conjectures is that the “…mass market it dying”. Mass markets involve mass production, mass marketing and massive waste. The coming atomization of markets, the increased granularity if you like, means less hit-and-miss, and more bulls-eyes in business.

This is what opportunity looks like for you and me.