Independence Day en-US Happy (Financial) Independence Day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/happy-financial-independence-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman waving flag" title="woman waving flag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Today, let&rsquo;s take a vow to be financially independent.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m posting this on the Fourth of July &mdash; Independence Day here in the United States &mdash; but this works any day. Whether you need to work to become financially independent or just want to maintain the independence you&rsquo;ve already gained, today, let's set some goals. (See also: <a href="">How to&nbsp;Save Without Goals</a>)</p> <p>Here are mine:</p> <ul> <li>To never financially rely on my parents, my friends, or most certainly, a credit card. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>To be able to make the truly important decisions in life &mdash; about things like family, where I live, and the work I do &mdash; based on my desires, not the sorry state of my finances. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>To not be in debt. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>To be able to use money as a tool to create wonderful experiences &mdash; but know that it's far from the only tool necessary. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>To not worry about what would happen to me if I'm faced with a financial emergency.</li> </ul> <p>Some of these goals I&rsquo;ve achieved. Some of them I'm still working at (curse you, student loans).</p> <p>Of course, in order to actually achieve big-picture goals, you'll need to make smaller, more manageable goals.</p> <p>But...for many of us, today is a holiday &mdash; a time for that all-important relaxation (especially if you're one of those people who has been passing around this recent <a href="">New York&nbsp;Times op ed about being busy</a>). Take the rest of the day off, if you can.</p> <p>When you come back tomorrow, you can better define and break down your goals with the help of these articles:</p> <p><strong>Defining Your Goals</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="">Defining What Financial Success Means to You </a></li> <li><a href="">Financial Independence Is More Than&nbsp;Just a Number</a></li> <li><a href="">Feeling Stuck? 100 Ways to Change Your Life</a></li> <li><a href="">Goal Setting, Defined and Deconstructed</a></li> <li><a href="">Deciding What You Want Out of Retirement</a></li> <li><a href="">How Much Money Will You Need to Retire?</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Taking Action</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="">5 Steps to Financial Independence</a></li> <li><a href="">Start Fighting Debt &mdash; Today</a></li> <li><a href="">25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today</a></li> <li><a href="">37 Savings Changes You Can Make Today</a></li> <li><a href="">The First Step to Budgeting</a></li> <li><a href="">8 Tips for Improving or Starting a Budget</a></li> </ul> <p>Don't see an article for the action you want to take listed here? Just search our site using the field in the top right.</p> <p>Happy Independence Day, everyone &mdash; national, financial, or whatever else you might be celebrating.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Happy (Financial) Independence Day" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Meg Favreau</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance financial goals financial independence Independence Day Wed, 04 Jul 2012 10:36:09 +0000 Meg Favreau 938632 at Patriotism and Personal Finance - A Brief Walk Through American History <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/patriotism-and-personal-finance-a-brief-walk-through-american-history" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Child Saluting American Flag" title="Child Saluting American Flag" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>To all the Americans out there, happy Independence Day! I think this a great day to reflect upon how personal finance and patriotism is so intertwined in America. So I dug up a few tidbits from American history and summarized them here. </p> <p><strong>Before 1776 </strong></p> <p>&quot;No taxation without representation&quot; is an iconic slogan that points to one of the main reasons why the American colonists sought independence from Britain more than 200 years ago. Simply put, the Americans were angry that their personal incomes was being taken without their consent. The first direct British tax on American colonists was spelt out in the Stamp Act of 1765, a law that required every newspaper, pamphlet, and other legal documents to have a British stamp upon it. Since the stamp costs money, it sparked outrage amongst the Americans because they had no need for this stamp and they did not want to pay for it. The Stamp Act was repealed in 1766, but the later Townshend Acts imposed more taxes on many other goods, including tea. These new taxes led to more unrest amongst the colonists and British troops being sent to America. Eventually, the anger over the taxes led to the Boston Tea Party, and in response to this unrest the British Empire passed the Intolerable Acts which spurred the growth of the American Revolution and eventually led to the Revolutionary War. With this history, it can be argued that the American Revolution was all about the freedom of personal finances. The Americans wanted the freedom to spend their own money how they wanted, and do business without being unjustly taxed. </p> <p><strong><br />The Great Depression</strong></p> <p>The Social Security Administration was formed in the midst of The Great Depression by Franklin D. Roosevelt. In a famous speech now known as <a href="" target="_blank">&quot;The Four Freedoms&quot; speech</a> , he said this, &quot;I have called for personal sacrifice, and I am assured of the willingness of almost all Americans to respond to that call. A part of the sacrifice means the payment of more money in taxes. No person should try, or be allowed to get rich out of the program, and the principle of tax payments in accordance with ability to pay should be constantly before our eyes to guide our legislation... If the Congress maintains these principles the voters, putting patriotism ahead pocketbooks, will give you their applause.&quot; The basic message was that if people did not want to participate in the Social Security program they would be unpatriotic. Roosevelt also outlawed the ownership of gold by private citizens except in jewelry, and basically allowed banks to print as many bank notes as they want without having to redeem it for gold. </p> <p><strong><br />World War II</strong></p> <p>During World War II, the general message was for Americans to be frugal with their money and support the war effort. A Disney propaganda cartoon called <a href="'43" target="_blank">&quot;The Spirit of &#39;43&quot;</a> showed the good side as a thrifty and hardworking Donald Duck who paid his taxes, and the film explained that if you did not pay your taxes a good soldier out there would die. The propaganda message was that if you spent your money you would be helping the Axis powers and if you saved your money for taxes you would be helping your country. Many war bonds posters were also made to encourage people to invest in the war effort. In the present day, many of these colorful posters have become collectibles. </p> <p><strong>Now</strong></p> <p>After World War II, consumerism somehow became synonymous with patriotism in America. Americans are systematically encouraged to spend their money. In the fifties and throughout the era of the Cold War Americans were told to spend in order to be as different from communists as possible. After the Cold War, consumerism is already a big part of America&#39;s GDP. After the September 11 attacks in New York, the country slid into a recession and many companies created ads that linked spending money to helping America. Additionally, the Federal Reserve made it cheap to borrow money to encourage spending. Recently, homeownership was <a href="" target="_blank">also touted as a way to fight terrorism</a> and keep our country secure. This year, nearly every tax paying American is receiving a &quot;stimulus check&quot; that they are expected to spend to give a boost to the economy. President Bush said <a href=",2933,333553,00.html" target="_blank">in a speech in February</a> that &quot;the purpose is to encourage our consumers. The purpose is to give them money …Consumerism is a significant part of our GDP growth, and we want to sustain the American consumer, encourage the American consumer…&quot;. The dominant message out there is that if you want to help your country, you must take out your pocketbooks and spend like there is no tomorrow. </p> <p>I realize that this is a extremely abbreviated collection of American history, but I think it is interesting how the idea of patriotism affects the personal financial decisions of Americans. There is also a stark contrast to how taxes is viewed in the different eras of American history. At first it was a sign of oppression, but eventually it became a symbol of power, freedom, and patriotism. I feel that the current state of promoting rampant consumerism as patriotism is a bit irrational, but I guess propaganda always appeal to the emotion and not reason. </p> <p>I know that some Americans also show patriotism by only purchasing items made in America, or refuse to travel abroad. Do you show your patriotism with your pocketbook? If so, how do you go about it? </p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Patriotism and Personal Finance - A Brief Walk Through American History" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Xin Lu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Real Estate and Housing Taxes America history Independence Day patriotism propaganda Fri, 04 Jul 2008 08:00:02 +0000 Xin Lu 2217 at Some 4th of July Numbers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/some-4th-of-july-numbers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="fireworks" title="fireworks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="224" height="215" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>July 4th is such a good time. There&#39;s something for everyone - getting tanked with your friends, hanging out with your family, the smell of the barbeque, the spectacular fireworks. I always love the collective sounds that crowds make when watching fireworks. Not exactly &quot;ooh&quot; and &quot;ahh&quot;, but more like &quot;Holy crap! A smiley face!&quot; </p> <p>And because I love statistics almost as much as I love fireworks, here are some stats on America&#39;s Independence Day celebrations:</p> <p>Number of hotdogs to be consumed on July 4th: <strong>150 million</strong></p> <p>Amount of chicken purchased in the week leading up to July 4th: <strong>700 million pounds</strong></p> <p>Amount of red meat/pork purchased in the week leading up to July 4th: <strong>190 million pounds</strong></p> <p>Percentage of American households with outdoor grills: <strong>87</strong></p> <p>Number of Americans who will spend the holiday at someone else&#39;s home: <strong>41 million</strong></p> <p>Amount of fireworks sold to individuals for personal celebrations in 2006: <strong>252 million pounds</strong></p> <p>Amount of fireworks sold to cities and municipalities for public celebrations last year: <strong>25 million pounds</strong></p> <p>Amount of fireworks sold to individuals for personal celebrations in 2000: <strong>102 million pounds</strong></p> <p>Total dollar amount spent on fireworks in 2007: <strong>900 million dollars</strong></p> <p>Total dollar amount spent on fireworks in 2000: <strong>350 million dollars</strong></p> <p>Perecentage fewer people injured by fireworks in 2006 than in 2000: <strong>16</strong></p> <p>Percentage of fireworks sales that take place in late June and early July: 80</p> <p>Number of people injured by fireworks in 2006: <strong>9,200</strong></p> <p>Dollar amount of fireworks imported to the US from China in 2006: <strong>212 million</strong></p> <p>Dollar amount of American flags imported into the US from China in 2006: <strong>5 million</strong></p> <p>Number of places in the US with &quot;independence&quot; in their name: <strong>11</strong></p> <p><em>Numbers taken from, The Herald Tribute, and the US Census Bureau.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Some 4th of July Numbers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Art and Leisure Barbeque BBQ fireworks Independence Day July 4th meat Tue, 03 Jul 2007 18:57:37 +0000 Andrea Karim 802 at