Friday, August 15, 2008

And what do we have to show for it...

Courtesy of JennConspiracy bookmarks, Steve Greenberg has the following political cartoon on his blog

While deficit spending is terrible, what makes me sad is that we have so little to show for it that's meaningful for the public good, and sadly not even the private good as tons of homes get foreclosed on, and we have ghost suburbs littering the land. The money lost could have spent on alternative fuels, better schools, more efficient infrastructure, instead we have Baghdad.

It's apocryphal that Native Americans believed that we "owned" the land as stewards for the next generation, and that we are merely borrowing it. The question is what steps do you take to invest in your future. The one that has given me the most returns has clearly been my education. I was incredibly fortunate to go to a high octane University and be pushed far beyond my limits as my mediocre grades attest, but I developed muscles I didn't know I had and crossed boundaries that I never knew I could cross. I also discovered that there is a LOT of talent in the world, it is humbling. But it's exciting since you get to spend time with talent and grow.

Beyond education, what do you do to invest in your future and this planet's?

1) Live sustainably so the land can recover and replenish, i.e. Don't eat your seed corn.
2) Stay fiscally solvent. I suspect that the reason that so many scandals happen in companies is that people don't have the leverage to say no, because they are leveraged to the hilt. In the movie "Thank You for Smoking" Aaron Eckhardt's character when asked why he shills for the tobacco companies replies "Everyone's got to pay the mortgage." Personal finance advisors recommend an "emergency fund" of 3 - 6 months of savings, don't call it that call it a "F you fund" when the BS starts to pile up, you don't have to wait to find another job.
3) Buy what you need?
4) Remember the immortal words of Lily Tomlin, "The winner of the rat race, is still a rat" It's meaningful to call it a rat race, since rats can live in almost any environment, and the one we leave may only be good for a rat. (Now I must say, I love Ratatouille the movie and Remy the rat there with exquisite palate.
5) Nurture your relationships, in times of thin and thin, our stuff will not save us, but our friends and family will.
6) Act, I close with act since knowledge without application is like collecting bottle caps, satisfying in it's own way but not meaningful.

What do you do to invest in your future?


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