I understand a discussion about pensions is about as welcome as Lyme disease. But, while much has been written about who is to blame for Kentucky’s pension crisis and what the impact might be to participants in the various retirement systems, very little has been written about why those of us who don’t have pensions should care. Here is why we should care: because if this is not fixed, Kentucky will slide back rather than be able to invest for our economic future. Enjoy the state parks? You might have to take the kids to Opryland instead. Appreciate the opportunities that our public schools and public universities offer? Well, get ready to sell more wrapping paper and explain to your student that history didn’t end in 2002, despite when the textbook was published.
Last week’s post illustrated how important it is for our long-term financial well-being to live beneath our means and not care about keeping up with the Kardashians in the car department. But that doesn’t mean we have to rinse out our sandwich baggies so we can use them again the next day. (Apologies to my environmentalist friends) The journey to financial freedom shouldn’t be painful! No, our financial lives, like our lives in general, should be a good balance between saving for our futures and enjoying our lives now.
A few years ago my son and I parked in a parking lot here in Lexington that was filled with Mercedes, BMW’s and Range Rovers. We were in a Honda Accord. My son, 12 at the time with a keen eye for nice autos, remarked that all these car owners must be rich! For a saver like me that was a big, fat softball that I intended to slam out of the park with a valuable life lesson titled, “You aren’t what you drive.”
When I was 15 years old I had a paper route and, with no expenses and no girlfriend, I saved virtually every dime I made. At that same time, I became interested in stocks and investing. Now, I had no clue how stock investing worked and my parents, born 8 years after the Great Depression, viewed the stock market in roughly the same terms as a casino.