Archive for Economics

This I Believe – One Young Economist’s Plea

For centuries, families have come to the United States to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that cannot be found elsewhere in the world.  Our country’s economic, political, and educational foundations are built on the backs of immigrants seeking to improve their quality of life.

It’s time to recognize that families in the U.S. are more similar than they are different.  Muslim families as well as Christian families want to make a decent wage at a job they are appreciated for.  Democrats, Republicans, and Independents all want to be able to buy or rent a nice house in a safe neighborhood and put food on the table.  Gay and straight partners want their children to get a great education with the hopes that they will go on to get a good job, raise their own families, and live happy, healthy, and successful lives.  Men, women, and transgendered individuals are afraid of losing their jobs, losing their houses, and letting down their families.  Citizens as well as undocumented individuals are here in the U.S. because they share these hopes, dreams, and fears.

As human beings, we are all unique.  We look and act different, we have different thoughts and opinions.  But almost everyone that puts together a list of their dream place to live would write the following:

“Meaningful work, affordable housing, fulfilling education, adequate medical care, a clean environment, honest and accountable government, social and cultural renewal, or simple justice”  (Dumbing Us Down, p. 15).

I understand and recognize the importance of having a federal government.  The government is elected by the people to represent the people and to provide needs that are deemed “the public good”.  We need to continue to reduce the inefficiency and waste of the federal government.  But after reading The Price of Civilization by Jeffery Sachs, I was reminded why a strong government is necessary for a developed country.  It would be foolish to insist that we pay no taxes and allow the free market to take on the public goods.

That said, I believe strongly in the power of a free market system.  Capitalism is the single most efficient method to price goods as they are needed, pay individuals that are hard working or creative, and transfer those goods to the place of their greatest need – anywhere in the world.  But the free market system must be balanced with some regulation by the federal government. Without a mixed economy, the world would be filled with Enron’s and BP oil spills.  Capitalism is great at efficiency and providing short term profits, whereas the government helps to keep the free markets from damaging the resources we need to survive and that we will pass on to future generations.

I believe in sound money and taking the country from a fiat currency back to a currency that is more stable and more difficult to reproduce.  I believe that the time has come to take control back from the federal reserve and to end the abuse of the fractional reserve banking system.  An effort should be made to allow for people to use sound banking facilities where they are guaranteed to be able to withdraw their money at any time.  These banks should protect the hard-earned assets of the average citizen.  As a result, U.S. citizens would be encouraged to save for their future and future generations.

I believe that corporations are corporations.  They are not people, and they are a foundational part to what has made the U.S. a great nation.  In order for the free market system to function, corporations must be allowed to fail.  Our country becomes stronger because businesses and individuals can take risk and go bankrupt.  No company should ever be declared “too big to fail”.  Any company that does this imposes a risk to the entire system and should be immediately divided and sold off as smaller companies.

Just because the wealthy may create jobs doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay their fair share of taxes. I believe that everyone in this country should be thankful for the opportunities that exist here.  The Bill Gates and Warren Buffets of the world should recognize that their money comes from the pockets of working Americans.  Being wealthy is okay and should be encouraged.  Hoarding money and finding loopholes to prevent paying taxes hurts everyone – both the rich and the poor.

In a country as powerful and full of opportunity as the U.S., healthcare should be a basic human right and not a privilege.  A universal healthcare system should be developed that would:

  • Provide basic healthcare insurance for everyone that includes access to a primary care physician, access to preventive care, and basic coverage for most major diseases.
  • Make healthcare costs more clear to the consumer and allow a combination of public and private services to provide these options.
  • Make it cheaper for qualified doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals to access training.
  • Move to an electronic records system similar to other developed countries
  • Limit litigation and damages that healthcare workers face to keep costs down.

The U.S. has over 3 million people incarcerated.  This is a tremendous burden on the taxpayer.  Anyone that is incarcerated for using or selling marijuana should be released.  Alcohol is a much more dangerous, addictive, and debilitating drug than marijuana.  Prisoners that desperately need psychological help should be provided the treatment they need, as well as the prisoners addicted to drugs, or victims of violence.

The U.S. education system is broken.  But it’s not because there aren’t great teachers.  Teachers need fewer standardized tests and more freedom to use their passion to teach.  Technology will provide the data and allow teachers to identify and reach out to students that are struggling.  Schools should be re-engineered as learning centers for the community, and parents and professionals should all play a role in helping young minds explore the wonders of the world we live in.

If I was president, I would encourage every young person that graduates high school to commit to 2 years of service to the country:  armed forces, Peace Corps or AmeriCorps volunteer work, Teach for America, or other volunteer work.  Our citizens should be happy to “pay it back” and help other Americans live better lives.

I would also reign in the military spending and close many of the military bases that exist around the world.  Limits to Medicare and medicaid would have to be made in order to provide this service to our children and our grandchildren.  We don’t need to pay back the 15 trillion dollars we owe, we just need to pay some of it back so our economy can be strong again and the world can trust that we are fiscally responsible.

I believe that I can be proud of the United States of America again.  I believe that my future children will have clean water to drink, national parks to visit, and a great education provided to them.  I believe that my shaken faith in the United States is only temporary.  I believe that I am a change agent and that I can help this country remain great for future generations.

~Nick, January 28, 2012

Could the U.S. Be Held Hostage By China?

I decided to have an educational movie night and rented checked out I.O.U.S.A from my local library.

While things (mostly economic things) have deteriorated terribly since the film was produced in 2008, one short segment of the film stuck in my mind:

If we journey way back in time to 1956 (I wasn’t even born, and I definitely didn’t learn about this in history class), there was a hostile little scuffle called the Suez Crisis.  Here are my shorter-than-CliffsNotes. (If you like the full thing, read a book.  Or search it on Wikipedia.)

Location:  The Suez Canal is a waterway (mostly manmade) from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea through Egypt.

Aggressors:  France, the U.K., and Israel

Defender:  Egypt

Spectators (the angry, belligerent kind):  Soviet Union and the United States

Context:  The aggressors weren’t stoked that the leader of Egypt (Nasser) nationalized the canal at a time when Britain was trying to maintain strategic control of this valuable shipping way for oil and goods.

Why I’m telling this story:  The U.S. didn’t really want to get involved, but finally Eisenhower threatened to cut off financial support to Israel and also threatened to sell of the U.S. Government’s Sterling Bond holdings.  This would have caused Britain’s currency to fall, sending them into Depressionville.  Basically, financial pressure from the U.S. caused three powerful countries to back away from a highly valued prize.

——

Flash forward to present day.  The U.S. is in a tremendous amount of debt (duh).  For the first time EVER, 32% (4.45T) of the total debt ($14.1T) is owned by foreign countries.  Everyone knows who owns the majority.  Of course that would be China with 36% of that $4.45 trillion.

Dear reader: You should be reading between the lines and already cursing under your breath at the ridiculousness that the tables of turned.

Pretend for a minute that the Chinese (for any reason) don’t play nice with the U.S.  Let’s say, for example, that they’ve been growing their naval fleet (true!) and decide to take control of the Suez Canal tomorrow.

The U.S. immediately reacts and pulls out our fighter planes, nukes, drones, invisibility cloaks, and whatever else we’ve been buying with all of our military spending. But China isn’t concerned because they’re one step ahead of our awesomely expensive attack methods.  They threaten to sell off the $4.45 T worth of U.S. bonds they own, effectively collapsing the dollar.

Uh oh.  Goodbye U.S. dollar.  Think of the currency crash we would experience.  Think of the global repercussions, since the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency of the world.

The euro’s not doing so hot right now. We can use Swiss francs or Chinese yuan.  Hate to say it, but the world’s probably gonna look at the currency that can actually support global trade.

——-

Anyway, I don’t really know the full repercussions, but I just wanted to touch on the point that the U.S. in a very dangerous position.  Let’s show some fiscal responsibility and put joint bills together.

Insert Personal Bias Here: There are two ways to balance a budget: spend less or make more.  Anyone that takes one of those options off the table (I’m talking to you Tea Party) without negotiating shouldn’t be in Congress.

I’m just sayin’.

This has been another fear-instilling (thought-provoking?) article from

~Nick, the Self-Taught Economist

 

Another Sign We’re in Crazy Town Looking Over the Ridge into Depressionville

The markets are shifting back and forth so fast that day traders are foaming at the mouth, and the average person is getting whipsawed like a kid’s head on one of those old, rickety wooden roller coasters.  But if you step back and look at the big picture, it’s a scary sight – especially for Europe.

 

What am I talking about?  Anyone that follows the news has heard of the countries on the euro that haven’t been playing nice.  Here’s a list of the 23 countries that use the euro as currency, and the ones on the verge of default are designated in red.

1) Andorra
2) Austria
3) Belgium
4) Cyprus
5) Estonia
6) Finland
7) France
8 ) Germany
9) Greece
10) Ireland
11) Italy
12) Kosovo
13) Luxembourg
14) Malta
15) Monaco
16) Montenegro
17) Netherlands
18) Portugal
19) San Marino
20) Slovakia
21) Slovenia
22) Spain
23) Vatican City

Interestingly, when the euro was introduced in 1999, the economists that put this idea into action had the sense to require a few stipulations for the countries that wanted to join:

  • A budget deficit of less than three per cent of their GDP
  • A debt ratio of less than sixty per cent of GDP
  • Low inflation
  • Interest rates close to the EU average.

But (not-so-wisely), the economists never wrote into the agreement what would happen if countries moved away from the euro.  Now, with countries as big as Spain and Italy having trouble staying solvent, it’s not unlikely that countries with strong economies (i.e., Germany and France) would have voters that want to avoid getting dragged down with the whole ship.  To read more about the sovereign debt crisis, click here.

The other whacky thing that’s happening in Europe is little Switzerland.  The little Swiss franc has become the strongest currency in the world because investors are scrambling to find a safe place for their money.  Besides gold, the Swiss franc is one of the best options.

Normally, a strong currency is good.  But Switzerland is too small a country to have the world’s investment dollars poured in.  As the value of the franc goes up (because increased demand = increased price), it is impossible to export anything out of the country.  Here’s the 18-minute radio story if you want to hear more about this.

So the funny thing is, the Swiss government is considering tying the Swiss franc to the euro to bring it’s value back into check.  What a huge friggidy-freakin’ mess!

So what does this all mean for the U.S.?  It means that the road to recovery is not likely coming in the next five years.  I can’t wait to listen to the President’s speech tonight to see what he has to say about the forecast.  Watch it tonight, Sept. 8, 2011 at 7pm Eastern.

Okay wise reader, how do you think the Eurozone crisis will affect the U.S.?

 

~Nick, the Self-Taught Economist

 

Think My Predictions Are Crazy? Listen to This…

Think my predictions the other day about an economic calamity are facetious?

Listen to this podcast developed by Planet Money of NPR and hear the similarities (except they’re talking EU and I’m talking US).

It frightens me to think about how likely much more likely the situation seems to me.  Everyday it seems to becoming more and more real…..

Enjoy.

<<< click here to link to the podcast >>>

~Nick, the Self-Taught Economist

Economic Calamity

If the economy was a female, she's probably do something like this...

This article will either scare you stiff or make you laugh because you’ll think I’ve lost my marbles. But either way, hopefully you will think about the “what ifs” associated with some kind of economic calamity.

To give you some context, it’s not like I’m any sort of conspiracy-theorist, whacko, or maniac. I’m a level-headed guy. I studied biology and Spanish in college and I had to learn to question everything.  I read the newspaper.  I don’t live under a rock nor do I take any medication for any tendencies.

Even before I started studying economics seriously, I wondered how everyone could trust that a one dollar bill (U.S. dollar) was worth one dollar if the government could just print as many as they wanted. The more I learn about the current U.S. economic situation, the more fearful I’ve become. The following is my best prediction for a worst-case scenario in 2012 or 2013:

1.) The stock market crashes, losing 95% or more of it’s value. This would be exactly as some experts (most of which are smarter than me) predicted, known as the “dead cat bounce” after the last crash in 2007-2008. Precious metals and treasuries rally during the crash, but eventually top out and crash as well.

2.) Banks fail. First the investment banks beg the U.S. government for additional funding, but there will be no money to give (was there ever?). The elected officials want to do another bailout, but the American people erupt in chaos and demand that the companies fail.  No matter how many banks fail, credit seizes and any size loan is virtually impossible to obtain.

3.) The ripple effect of the banks hits Europe, China, and other creditor countries especially hard. This starts the erosion of the major currencies. The dollar and the euro inflate rapidly and investors jump to safer currencies.

4.) Meanwhile, U.S. companies contract along with the credit and are forced to lay off hundreds of thousands and then millions of workers.  Companies that rely on sales of middle class luxuries (lattes, massages, fancy clothes) shutter their doors.  Companies that sell to the upper classes will be affected, but not as dramatically.  A massive lower class is created, and without federal aid, is unable to survive.

5.) The housing market continues to fall into a giant sinkhole. Recent college graduates are burdened with student loan debt and families are unable to afford assisted living centers for older family members. Families move in together, with multiple generations living under the same roof. Many homes are boarded up or burned for insurance money.  The value of real estate dwindles.

6.) Americans continue to be scared of the U.S. government and corporations.  When individuals try to withdraw cash reserves at their local banks, they are told to come back later. This quickly hits the news and mass panic ensues.

7.) Rioting occurs throughout the country, mostly in large cities.  The national guard is called to maintain control of the bigger cities.  The presidential administration is forced to withdraw troops overseas to serve as peacekeepers within U.S. borders.

8.) The U.S. continues to operate, but at a different capacity than the one we’ve all been accustomed to since World War II. The U.S. will no longer be able to “police” other countries. Military spending is cut drastically and America is unable to provide significant protection to ally countries.  By now, most of the wealthy class has moved their money to international opportunities like Japan, Brazil, and other developing nations.

9.) The U.S. people will go through years of electing political candidates that promise “better business sense for the government” and “fewer taxes”.

10.) The U.S. president who finally starts to turn things around will be the president (hopefully a woman) that instills pride in the American people and does what’s best for the people, not what’s best to be re-elected.

11.) The U.S. will go through a long (decades) period of growth and development, but not as the world’s superpower.  Families will reflect on the breakdown of the U.S. government and Wall Street stealing money from the American Dream.

 

Scared?  Laughing this off as irrational? That’s okay.  Even if I’m way off-base, it’s nice to think about this ahead of time, right?  Use your own brain to think about what will happen and how your family will react and adapt to the changes.  If you’d like to learn more about this topic, I suggest The Great Depression Ahead by Harry Dent.

What do YOU think the future has in store?  What did my scenario get wrong/right?  I’d love to hear your comments.

~Nick, the Self-Taught Economist

 

 

The Self-Taught Economist Coming to You From a New Locale!

Greetings to the one or two diehard folks that continue to check up on me here at SelfTaughtEconomist.com!  I had an epic adventure driving across the U.S. to my new home here in Rochester, New York.  After 4,000 miles and 14 states, I promise not to neglect STE for two weeks ever again!  (Well, at least not until we drive back to Utah in three years.)

A lot has happened since my last post.  While daily news isn’t really all that important in the grand scheme of things, the cumulative effect provides significant information about the trend of the economy.  Here’s a brief review and my take on things:

    1. On Friday, August 5th, the U.S. credit rating was downgraded by Standard and Poor’s from AAA to AA+ and with a negative outlook for the future.  This is the first time in history that the U.S. has been considered anything but a bulletproof investment.

Frankly, the downgrade surprised me because I thought the rating agencies were far too corrupt to actually go through with a downgrade.  If the rating agencies were truly unbiased and objective, they would have downgraded the U.S. a long time ago.  But, low and behold…they come up with a downgrade despite a 2 trillion dollar mathematical error on their part.

2.  As a result of the downgrade, the stock market has become incredibly volatile.  In the past two weeks, there have been wild swings both ways (insert joke here), but the Dow has lost nearly 5.5% since August 8th.  Personally, I feel I made the right decision in April when I decided to sell the majority of my portfolio except for a small index fund.

3.  Gold continues to break records and everyone acts surprised, which amuses me.  Silver has superseded where it was when “the bubble popped” and lost a good 30% of its value this summer.

I have significant investment in these precious metals and I will continue to invest in these areas until I trust the U.S. government will stop printing currency and start getting its act together OR I feel that the real estate market or stock market are a better place for my money.

I just watched a scary video today.  Scary because it was honest and scary because it foretold of dark days ahead.  I happened across this video at one of my favorite blogs about money and the economy, SunnahMoney.com.  It’s long (1.5 hours), but I promise it’s worth your time.

Mark Mahoney clearly knows his stuff and this video is only one part sales video for every ten million parts truth about how the economy is headed for major change in the upcoming years.

I would love to have more of you quiet readers leave feedback and comments on this site about what you see!  And as always, thanks for reading today.

 

~Nick, the Self Taught Economist

 

 

The Economics of Higher (Cost) Education

The cost of a college education is outlandish. It wasn’t always this way.  A quick internet search will show that from the about 1900 until the mid-1970s, college tuition increased between 2 and 3 percent per year (adjusted for inflation).

But starting around 1975, college tuition began increasing 5 to 6 percent per year, and by 1985 was far outpacing the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is what Figure 1 represents.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the CPI as, “a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services.”

Figure 1

The skyrocketing rise in college student loan debt is one result of the increasing cost of college.   For the first time in history, student loan debt surpassed credit card debt and is on track to hit $1 trillion by the end of 2011.

Average debt levels for graduating seniors with student loans rose to $23,200 in 2008 — a 24% increase from $18,650 in 2004.

While healthcare has also seen drastic increases, improvements in both the technology and healthcare outcomes somewhat justify this price increase.  Colleges and universities, however, can’t claim similar improvements in student learning outcomes.

To read more about this topic, visit the Project on Student Loan Debt.

 

Why is the cost of college increasing so fast? “Think of the question in terms of incentives,” Richard Vedder, an economist at Ohio State University expounds. “There’s no incentive to save money and keep costs down. All the incentives run the other way. Look at the way a school operates. They call it ‘shared governance.’ What that means is, everyone thinks they run the place. The trustees think they run it, the alumni think they run it, the state legislature thinks they run it, if it’s a public university. At some schools they have student trustees and various boards filled with students — and they think they run it.

“And then there’s the poor president. His job actually is to run it. To do this he has to buy off all these various groups and make them reasonably happy. You buy off the alums by having a good football team. A good football team costs money. You buy off the faculty by giving them good salaries. You let them teach whatever they want, keep their course loads low. You buy off the students by not making them work too hard. I’m serious about that: there’s grade inflation, there’s not too much course work, the reading assignments given to students are much less than they were forty years ago. You make sure the food is good and the facilities are nice. And you buy off the legislators and trustees in various ways: tickets to the big football games, admit their kids if they apply, get a good ranking from U.S. News. All this costs huge amounts of money. No wonder universities are expensive!”

The rest of this article can be read here, but for the sake of my argument regarding the cost of higher education, just keep scrolling down…

 

Higher education must adapt to survive. Since the G.I. Bill after World War II, it has been standard advice that you should “go to college so that you can get a good job”.  Sorry parents, but this advice is no longer a guarantee to a better life.

Now that the cost of college means accumulating tens of thousands of dollars of debt with no guarantee of a job after graduation, students are starting to wonder if college is worth the cost.

Run the numbers yourself.  Let’s look at the University of Utah (my Alma mater) as an example:

  • As of January, 2010, the University of Utah was working on nine major projects on campus.  In total, over 730,000 square feet of new indoor space will be created.
  • I’m not an energy consultant, but I just found a few statistics online that estimate every square foot of indoor space at a college or university costs $1.10 per square foot of electricity and 18 cents per square foot in natural gas (in 2005).
  • That means the University of Utah will see an increase of $934,400 per year in energy costs alone for this new space.  As energy rates are going to increase drastically in the future, this number will double, triple, or quadruple.

The future of higher ed. Don’t get me wrong – higher education will always be valued in the U.S.  But colleges and universities are doing more harm than good at their current price levels.

So what suggestions would I make after my ten years of serving as an administrator and student?  Here are a few:

  • Improve the quality of online courses.  Lectures from top instructors should be filmed and used repeatedly (scaleability improves).
  • Train instructors to become moderators and facilitators for in-class discussion.  Let students read the material and watch the lecture online, but true learning comes from the knowledge construction that takes place during peer interaction sessions.
  • Stop building new buildings!  Schools should seek to build one large, central building that students can pay tuition, get lunch, take courses, and get involved.
  • Minimize the administrative bureaucracy and allow students to “help themselves” using online resources.
  • Take away tenure. Tenure is an antiquated beast that has no role in the 21st century.  Do away with it and perform constant performance checks on instructors.
  • Set the expectation higher for students.  Enough grade inflation.  Make college cheaper, but require true work to graduate.  If a student fails out, give them opportunities to “earn” their way back into the classroom.
  • Change the incentives so that schools operate more efficiently.  Change the governance. Pay extra for cost-saving techniques.

I don’t have all the answers, and I know it’s next-to-impossible to change huge institutions. But things have to change.  I hope I’m part of the process.

~Nick, the Self Taught Economist

What woud you change about the education system here in the US?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Inaccurate Title of All Time: Gold Settles at a Record Above $1,585

Gold isn’t settling anywhere, it’s rising in value as investors realize that the opportunities for a market recovery are dwindling rapidly. Read this CNBC article that came out Wed, July 13, 2011, which states,

“Gold is set for an eighth consecutive day of gains, something it has not achieved since mid-October 2006, when it rose for nine days in a row.”

Read the article here.

 

Image credit:  Roaring Camp Mining Co.

 

Alright Fellow Economists – A Homework Assignment

Last night I tossed and turned and eventually laid awake wondering what was wrong with me.  The clock blinked 4:32 AM.

Succumbing to sleeplessness, I switched on the light and started browsing a few of my favorite personal finance blogs.

While reading Wealthrat, I came across an article that mentioned Chris Martenson‘s “Crash Course”, and I clicked on it.

I was immediately drawn to the message that this man preaches.  There are 20 chapters (short videos) that vary between 3 and 20 minutes in length.

I encourage everyone that is interested in learning about economics to watch all twenty segments of this video series (Yeah, I watched all of them because I was wide awake).

There is so much information that I will be returning to write about the topics in future blog posts on SelfTaughtEconomist.com.  You can watch all of the video clips by clicking on the link below:

——Watch Chris Mortenson’s Crash Course——

~Nick, the Self Taught Economist

PS:  Regarding my self-employment situation, today I secured a part-time consulting job with my former employer.  I’ll write more about this in another post, but I’m thrilled to get paid to do my favorite part of the job and it will look great on my resume.

I’ve also had some requests for advice on real estate investing, so an article (or video?!) should be coming up in the next couple of days.  Keep the suggestions coming!

 

Thinking for Yourself is Harder than you Think

You many not have as much control over your life as you think you do.  For instance, ask yourself the following:

  1. Are you a member of the same religion as your parents?
  2. Did you marry someone similar to your parents?
  3. Do you live in a house similar to where you grew up?
  4. Do you make about as much money as your closest friends and/or family?
  5. Do you spend or save money similar to one or both of your parents?

I would bet that the majority of readers would answer “yes” to 4 or 5 of these questions.  But why?  And what does this mean?

There are so many personal finance blogs out there that have great tips and advice about how to get out of debt and save money.  But beyond all the flashy budgeting spreadsheets and clever talk about investing,  I think the number one reason people live the lifestyles they do is because it’s all they know.

Think about it.  You grew up watching your parents make and spend money. Maybe they bought you everything you wanted and now you don’t hesitate to treat yourself to dinner or a new outfit.  Or maybe your parents were cheapskates and now you find yourself sweating every time your wallet comes out of the back pocket.

I think it’s human nature to follow after what we know.  It’s how babies learn to talk and how we learn to read, write, ride a bike, and perform a million other tasks we take for granted.  But what about the men and women that stray from this model?

Charles Darwin. This man is one of my personal heroes because of his ability to have the personal strength and integrity to believe in his own ideas.  Can you imagine what it must have been like to postulate a theory that suggests an alternative to God’s (and the Church of England) work?!

Whether you call it belief in oneself or self-righteousness, publishing theories that negate the value of God’s work is a pretty scary topic to be wrong about.  He definitely had to trust himself tremendously to publish something so controversial.

If he had listened to his seniors, he would have become an Anglican parson and nobody would have remembered his name.  Luckily for science and the human race, he chose to think for himself.

 

Rosa Parks. One of the greatest examples of a female leader standing up (or in this case, sitting down) against the status quo.  Ms. Parks willingly put her life on the line to make sure the civil rights movement was more than just “talk”.

Put yourself in this lady’s shoes for a minute.  You are in the middle of a very racist South (yup, we’re talkin’ about Ala-BAMA).  There is an active KKK following that wants your people dead or subordinate.

I don’t know if I would have add the courage.  Honestly.  I don’t know how many people would.  But Ms. Parks refused to give up her seat and in the long run helped millions of Americans gain human rights.

 

Warren Buffett. It’s not going to be the last time I use this man as an example.  The “Oracle from Omaha” is consistently ranked as one of the world’s wealthiest investors.

Born into a poor family, he refused to believe that he would fall into a monotonous job working for someone else.

After learning the value investing principles of Benjamin Graham, Buffett started his own investment portfolio known as Berkshire Hathaway and subsequently made many of his family and friends extremely wealthy.

 

So I’m here to urge you (seriously) to try something new.  Be different.  Think out of the box.  Let your freak flag fly.  Because the best thing you can do is be yourself.  Be passionate.  Live your life the way you deserve.  Stop thinking about leaving your job, turn in your resignation letter!  Darwin, Parks, and Buffett wouldn’t have achieved a thing if they had just “thought” about succeeding.

And be willing to learn new habits.  Make new friends that are entrepreneurial. Become a saver and an investor. Learn to enjoy books and learning over watching tv every night.

And for those of you that are following my life: My last day at work was last Thursday. I am officially self-employed.  I have a few projects that I will be working on, so stay tuned.  I’ll be keeping you updated on how it goes.

~Nick, the Self Taught Economist