What this is going to do for everybody, though, is saddle us with a huge tax burden that, in my opinion, may be way more scary than what the "fall" would've been. The problem is that the markets, both the stock market and real estate market, are in a correction, and I'm not sure that we should do anything to save a correction. We should let it correct on its own because it will correct itself. It's just going to take some time.
Many argue that the recent spikes in food and energy prices, the downturn in global stock and real estate markets, as well as other factors beyond most people's control are most responsible for the financial hardships Americans are currently experiencing. It's obviously much tougher to get ahead now with everything costing more, so what can consumers do to shield themselves from this trouble and to somehow get ahead?
Well, you have to look at what you can control versus what you cannot control.
I ask this of people all the time when they're griping about the cost of gasoline. I ask them, "OK, name one thing that you can do about that?" The same goes for rising prices at the grocery store: "Can you do anything about that?" And the answer is no. There's nothing you, as an individual, can really do about that. That's all beyond your control.
So, control what you can control. Control what you consume. When you don't use as much, you don't need to spend as much. So, look at what you're spending your money on, and if you're spending money on things that are not absolute necessities, there's where you can cut back. It always comes back to cutting back on your lifestyle, to limiting yourself to spending money only on what's really important to you. That requires being able to differentiate between what is a true necessity and what is a desire.
Your philosophy is that Americans' attitudes with respect to money and its management is really everything. If that's so, where is the deficiency? What is wrong with the American way of thinking?
From an overall attitude standpoint, we have to get our priorities right. That's where we always mess up.
Your energy, your money and your time always go toward what's most important to you. So, if what's most important to you is looking good, you'll spend most of your time, energy and money at the mall. If looking cool is most important to you, you'll get yourself a fancy new car you really can't afford. If your financial future or kids' education is important to you, then that's where your money's gonna go. Your money always goes toward what's most important to you.