“Summer, Philosophy, and a Wonderful Life”
Summer seems to have finally arrived. After the winter we endured here in Pennsylvania we deserve to have a summer filled with perfect weather (not so far this year) and great experiences. Never one to allow a seemingly simple event like summer pass without trying to glean a lesson or two or seven – I’ll share some ideas that might be useful in creating both a sound philosophy and a wonderful life.
Vacations – give you a wonderful opportunity to learn excellent planning and budgeting skills that will serve you (and your family if you are wise enough to get them involved) well as well as the chance to explore potential retirement locals.
Family and Friends – remind you of the really important things in our lives – the people we love and who love us. Take every opportunity to build strong relationships, share wonderful experiences, and simply love each other. Quoits are cool.
Gardens – provide a living laboratory of how everything of value works. Good planning, hard work, patience give you the best probability of success, but no guarantee you will be eating the fruits of your labors come harvest time. That’s life.
Summer Sports – come in two flavors. Serious, competitive sports (likely our kids and grandkids) where discipline, hard work, practice, and sense of team create tangible rewards. Be very clear – a professional athletic contract is presented to about one out of every fifty thousand amateur athletes. Sports is not a sound college savings plan.
And recreational sports (think horseshoes, quoits, wiffle ball) where the real rewards are a few hours of fun in the fresh air enjoying a few root beers and ridiculous conversations with great friends. I’m a big fan of ridiculous fun.
College Visits – offer an excellent opportunity to take road trips with our kids and (hopefully) share a few life lessons with them along the way. While it might well feel like they aren’t listening to a single word you say – they will remember both your words and your love.
Summer Jobs – (for kids lucky – really lucky – enough to have them) might be the greatest ‘growing up’ tool ever invented. All of my (ancient) summer job stories aside, a young person’s first paycheck does more to spark their interest in ‘grown up’ topics (income taxes, credit, saving, budgets, what things actually cost) than any book or lecture ever could. Don’t let your kids miss out.
July 4th – stands for Independence and Freedom. In an America where so-called government leaders at every level work to restrict/regulate our lives and impose dependence on the ‘generosity’ of government programs, Independence and Freedom seem to be words from our country’s distant past.
I don’t know why our ‘public servants’ hate our children and grandchildren and want to enslave them to their government master. I do know that there are many, many modern patriots in America today who will not go quietly. They will not allow their families and friends to be enslaved – certainly not without a fight. Again, I do not know what form the fight might take that we will need to preserve the Independence and Freedom of those we love. In my daily prayers I ask God to help and guide me to the right courses of action. Lately he has pointed me to words written by a man far wiser than I nearly two hundred forty (240) years ago when he faced a government determined to enslave its citizens:
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
During that brutally hot summer of 1776 the 56 signers of the Declaration knew their very lives were on the line when they affixed their (some dramatic) signatures to a document that changed the very fabric of our world. Whatever path God directs us to, this summer, let all of us rededicate our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honors to the Independence and Freedom of all Americans.
In recent months I’ve been receiving more and more questions from the ‘twenty-somethings’ in our radio and television audiences. Many ask questions you might expect from folks just starting down their adult path:
‘How do I/we set up a working budget?’
‘How do I/we get out of (student loan/credit card) debt?
‘How do I/we get started with our company 401(k)?
‘How can I/we save enough for the down payment on a home?’
‘How much life insurance do I/we need and what kind should it be?’
But you might be surprised to hear how (very) many of these ‘twenty-somethings’ have their sights set on much bigger goals. Though the questions are phrased in many different ways, they boil down to a common theme – a common question:
‘How can I/we accumulate enough wealth to be financially independent?’
I must confess I find great joy in hearing such a question. It tells me many young people have no intention of becoming slaves to the government (or corporate or academic) master. They want to know that their dreams are possible – and they are. And they want to know how to get started – and I can help. Here are the basic steps to financial independence:
(1) Decide to become financially independent. Most folks never do. For most folks, the idea of retiring in their sixties or seventies is almost beyond their comprehension. Financial independence does not wait for ‘normal retirement age’. It is a choice and a belief that more than enough money can be yours at any age. Choose to be in the select group who decide to be exceptional.
(2) Become very clear. The only person who can determine what financial independence means to you is – you. For some the word millions has to be in that definition. For many, much smaller numbers can create much great happiness. It doesn’t matter what others may choose. It only matters that you get very clear about what you want and what will make you happy.
(3) Get very busy. The way to accomplish exceptional goals is to take exceptional levels of action. Your path to financial independence will not be a straight or easy one. You must take action, stay very busy, try and try and try some more – persist and be patient. High energy and high activity will produce highly exceptional results. I don’t know exactly when, but I do know exactly how – get busy!
(4) Enjoy the journey. Having sufficient wealth to provide for your wants and needs without being required to work is a very cool place to reach. However, if you really want to reach that destination – in style – decide right now to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the achievements and the setbacks. Celebrate the successes and appreciate the failures. Be very focused on your destination, but very flexible about the path that will take you there.
(5) Pay it forward. There may be no sadder tale than that of the man who strives his whole life to pile up gold – just for the gold. Life is so much more than money (nice turn of a phrase). The greatest joy, the greatest satisfaction, the greatest accomplishment is not a dollar figure in a bank account. A truly great, wonderful, and loving life is one where financial independence gives you the freedom to give back and pay it forward.
Have Breakfast with Gene every Saturday Morning at 8:06 as
More than Money with Gene Dickison airs on AM790 WAEB.
all with your questions live at 610-720-7900
Two Full Hours – 8:06 through 10:00 AM.
Who would you like to see interviewed on our radio or television show?
What topics would you like Gene to discuss?
Send your suggestions to JoAnne@AskMTM.com
Words are Powerful Tools for American Freedom
Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the first home-grown philosophers. Born in 1803 in Boston, Emerson spent his life writing and lecturing on America ideals. His views on freedom, individuality, and transcendentalism have carried through to many of the most ‘current’ thinkers of our day. Emerson was a practical man, a New Englander through and through, and a fiercely independent American. One of his most famous quotes guides us on a course to our destiny:
“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and
you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character;
so a character and you reap a destiny.”
Simple, but not easy. As is the case with most important ideas – simple, but not easy. We live in a world where children are given awards for simply showing up and drawing a breath. Words like action, habits, character, honor, and integrity are largely denigrated today.
There is, however, a light in the darkness. For those young men and women who have been raised outside the ‘modern’ way of thinking; raised with ‘old-fashioned’ values will find a wonderful destiny lies before them. Young people of honor, integrity, and character will inevitably become leaders and find great success in this vast ocean of mediocrity. Perhaps we can find enough such fine young men and women to lead America back from the edge of the abyss and back to its rightful role as the leader of freedom loving people around the world.
Please allow us to serve you and those you love.
P.S. What young person of honor, integrity, and character will you notice and support to help bring America back?