The United States of America is a nation of extremes. Our nation comprised of fifty states equaling the size of fifty countries as well as being a patchwork quilt of cultures from all over the world began with an extreme act of protest, which was the Boston Tea Party. This act of anarchy was the direct result of high tariffs unfairly imposed upon the Colonists. Their extreme numbers (tax numbers) created an extreme response from those who had been in the United States for a very long time, many of whose families perished while trying to reach a new life and dream coming to America. Once they had arrived, several generations had established themselves quite independently from Mother England.
Today we continue to be a nation of extremes: extreme levels of wealth as well as poverty; extreme climates that range from the arid deserts of the Southwest to the heavily forested Northwest. We are large, vast and diversified and growing exponentially causing extreme conditions not only in our country but throughout the world. Currently, this very large mass on the planet is economically challenged.
Extreme weather conditions and infrastructure failures– i.e. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the collapse of levees and bridges, the extreme budget deficit resulting from the Iraq War and the high population numbers provide fertile ground for revolutionary changes because that ‘cosmic’ rubber band is about as stretched as it can get.
2008′s bubble exploded as extreme political and financial conditions resulted from the lack of change of organization at all levels of government and industry. Its results are high unemployment, higher and higher costs heading to a greater inflation and national debt that has gone haywire. The lack of boundaries in spending and regulation is on all the different administrations — not one or the other. One government is just too big for such a large geographic area. These extreme conditions have resulted with more and more foreclosures slowly dividing the vast population into two extreme categories — to those that are rich and those that are poor, with the middle class taking all of the hits with regard to taxes and penalties and higher costs.
The Bottom Line is that resolution can only come from each individual whose voice must be heard within the microcosm of their communities. This is where the change has to begin. Self-responsibility is the issue on the table now. It always has been, but now more than ever.
The banks and the mortgage companies had no boundaries when they gave home loans to just anyone with ‘stated’ incomes and this was negligence on their parts, but the truth of the matter is that the responsibility also fell upon those looking for a quick profit with little investment of their time or money. When you don’t invest a lot, it is much easier to walk away. After all, ‘it is someone else’s money, right??’ Wrong!! The change in this country is about awakening to our individual responsibility to ourselves, our families and to our communities. This is the trend between now and 2020.
Someone said, ‘the Devil is in the Details’…this is where each of us has to start right now and today. Get out those budget sheets and start writing down what it is you really do bring in as far as income and what it is you really spend. This simple technique provides a wonderful wake-up call when you really look at the numbers. When we really look at where we’ve been and are planning to go and the resources with which we can do them, it creates extreme responses….either elation or shock!!
Either way, it is the shadow lurking in every home in America today. And this financial specter haunting many households today must be exorcised in order for all of us to prosper. If one can look at this as an exercise in re-organization and re-structuring without any judgment from within or without, it can also turn out to be a lot of fun. Creating something out of nothing on very little or, perhaps, even too much is the ‘theme’ of Pluto as it slowly proceeds through Capricorn until 2024!
Regardless, it needs to be done before spring of 2010 as Saturn permanently enters the sign of Libra. This thirty-year cycle often brings new opportunities for all. The amount of ‘opportunity’ directly relates to the conscious act of balancing our lives, our budgets and our lifestyles. So, the question is: “Will you be dressed for the party??”
As a public service, Starcycles is offering a free budget template to anyone interested in cleaning up their financial ‘act’. This budget template has a built-in spreadsheet so if you add income numbers you see the ‘profit’ amount at the bottom of each vertical column. As you add your monthly expenses, you see that ‘added number’ slowly decreases. This is an excellent exercise not only for all of the adults in the household, but a great training tool for those young people you know either heading off to high school, where they will have their own money, or, even those older students and young adults who are working. I remember years ago I became starkly aware of this technique when I was having ‘trouble’ balancing my checkbook as a very young adult/college student. In tandem with that, I remember my father complaining saying, “You are going to college, and you should know this!!” The sad thing is that he was right. I should have known, but he was also wrong in that he, like many parents, think that if their children are educated, then they just ‘know’ how to handle money and resources.
This is furthest from the truth. Everyone has to learn to do this. So, again, if you want to get a head start on those opportunities coming your way, then start with some basic planning now. Write down your goals for the New Year, which is coming fast, and differentiate between your Wants and your Needs. Wants are very different than Needs. In order to fulfill your Needs, you must budget. When you budget, you can see where you can fulfill those Wants, which result from the freedom of planning.
This is a tool that has served me well over the years and I offer it as a gift to you as well. Interested? If so, please click here to download your free Budget Template. Make sure you make a copy of the original before you start playing with it.