Managing your money and protecting your assets is something that you need to take personal responsibility for. It’s nobody’s job but your own. And to think about it any differently is a big mistake, and a potentially very costly one.
The problem is that there are legions of people who will tell you that they can do it better than you can and that you should trust them to do so. Their claims are persuasive – they will make you rich, they will grow your nest egg, they will provide a comfortable blanket of financial security so that you can enjoy the rest of your life.
It’s all nonsense. Again, you and you alone are responsible to your family and to yourself for these things.
Remember the notorious Bernie Madoff? It turns out that his name was prophetic since he literally made off with billions of dollars of his client’s money. But in the tradition of über successful con men, he looked the part. Madoff looked like a friendly grand father, personable and relaxed. All you needed to do was to trust him, which many people did, and Uncle Bernie would make you wealthy.
Bernie Madoff was the enemy his clients never even knew they had.
Then come the big banks. They preach security, capital growth, and customer service. They appear professional and solid. But it’s the same approach as Madoff. Don’t forget for an instant that your bank is a corporation with one goal and one goal only – to make money. And make money they do, using your hard earned dollars as the fuel for their cash engines.
Calling banks your financial enemies might be a stretch though, right? But when you consider the fact that it was the banks themselves that precipitated the financial meltdown of ’08 that lingers to this day, maybe not. Their practice of lending money to those who should have never borrowed it, and profiting from strange products called derivatives that most common people don’t even understand, make it clear that they operated – and still do – in their own best interests.
And how about the federal government? Calling the government your enemy isn’t very patriotic, although a lot people believe it is. But however you choose to label the government, rest assured that it is not capable of providing financial security for you. In fact, it’s just the opposite. How can a bureaucracy that funds itself on bounced checks – what do you think a deficit is, after all – is any more qualified to help you financially. It seems that the harder the government tries, the worse it gets.
Which brings us back to the starting point. You and you alone are responsible for managing your own money. That’s an immutable fact that you had better be ready to acknowledge. Once you’ve done that, make sure you’re qualified to do it. If you are, great, get started. If not, get the financial education you need to be able to make the right decisions and do the right things. Once you learn how to do this it will get easier. But you need to do it now.