Good morning Kossacks and welcome to Morning Open Thread.
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Recent health issues and the presidential campaign have caused me to examine many issues in my life, especially in the realm of money. The fact that I am questioning how I earn my keep has forced me to look at preconceived notions of how I was raised and what I was taught about money. It seems I've either had enough time or enough money, but never both at the same time, and I'm sick of that rat race.
My dad was a machinist, and my mom was an elementary school teacher. The message I got growing up was get perfect grades, do well in school, and grow up to be a married teacher. If I did that, there would enough money. Never more than enough, but enough. Both my parents lived through the Depression, which skewed their ideas about money in big ways. My mom was second to youngest in a family of 15, while my dad was oldest of 3 children. Both lived on farms, so some food was always available, even if money wasn't. For some reason, when I was a kid I always felt that there wasn't enough money, and I always felt guilty about any money my parents spent on me. I still feel that way today, but I'm trying to get over it.
Anyway, fast forward to my desire to change careers post-cancer. The biggest difference between what I do now and what I have chosen to do is that in sales it's just as important, if not more so, to focus on personal development. I started out by reading the classic, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." I've been reading myself silly. It's too bad I didn't find this business last summer when I was going through chemo, because I had a whole lot of time to read then!
The book that has had a huge effect on me lately is "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, and his follow-up book, "Cash Flow Quadrant." These two books, more than any others I've read so far, have caused me to question my innermost beliefs about money, namely, can I be a liberal and still feel good about making lots of money? After all, what's the point of trying to be in sales if I don't want to make lots of money?
In these books, he writes about how the tax structure as it is now vastly favors businesses and investors, and how it's almost impossible to become rich by being any type of employee or sole proprietor. His "poor" dad, his real father who was highly educated and a university professor, looked down on money, while his "rich" dad was street smart and eventually made millions. Somehow, there was very little talk of any type of political slant attached to either the 'rich' or the 'poor' position. Maybe I just didn't pick up on it.
On the one hand, if a business has a product or service that people want to buy, and they make lots of money at that, is there anything wrong with that? On the other hand, why should the government look the other way when huge corporations pay zero taxes, but I have to report my $1.53 of interest on my personal savings account? Do I want to make more money by exploiting the tax laws currently on the books, or do I believe in helping to change them to make them more fair? Do I want to be the type of person like Mitt Romney, who said he legally pays 15% taxes? Is there any middle ground? I feel guilty just contemplating the question when so many people in this country are still out of work or desperately struggling.
This all came to a head this week when I came into a small windfall, and I had to decide what to do with it. According to Kiyosaki, a house is actually a liability in terms of positive cash flow. Of course any kind of debt is bad. One of the last chapters in the first book was about giving back. Rich dad felt very strongly that he had a responsibility to share his good fortune with others. THAT is something I don't hear Mitt Romney, or any of the Republicans, talking about.
So, here's what I did. I paid off my credit card, which got a bit out of hand with doctors' bills and car repairs, then I paid down some principal on my house because I want to try to get it paid for within the next 5 years.
Lastly, and this was the really fun part, I went "shopping." Not that kind of shopping. I went donation shopping. Part of the reason I want to make more money is so that I can GIVE more money. I've donated to several causes here at DK alone, like the Shelter Box drive after the Haitian earthquake, various Red Cross drives, as well as political causes. I just don't have enough money to give the way I would like. So, here are the causes I shopped at with my windfall:
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle TN Not only is it a good cause, but it's local as well. I've given to them in the past, and I'm sure I will again.
Heifer International I LOVE Heifer International! I love the concept and I love what they do. Where else can you donate honey bees, trees, goats, or geese?
Hadassah Hadassah is one of the world's largest women's organizations. I'm a lifetime member and plan to donate the proceeds from my violin when I retire. This is from their website:
Committed to the centrality of Israel based on the renaissance of the Jewish people in its historic homeland, Hadassah promotes the unity of the Jewish people. In Israel, Hadassah initiates and supports pace-setting health care, education and youth institutions, and land development to meet the country's changing needs.Planned Parenthood Need I say more about this one?
In the United States, Hadassah enhances the quality of American and Jewish life through its education and Zionist youth programs, promotes health awareness, and provides personal enrichment and growth for its members.
Our Kids This is a local organization which helps children who have been sexually abused. I'm sorry that there is even a need for this, but as long as there is, I'll be donating.
Of course I had to leave some out this go-round. Like local Humane Societies, Remote Area Medical, We Care Solar, and a cancer organization yet to be determined but which is no longer affiliated with the color pink.
I'd love to hear how y'all feel about these issues. In the meantime, jibber jabber away in your best Tuesday outfits.