Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Topic/ Intro Paragraph - Ryne

Imagine for a moment that you are 75 years old. You live alone. Your family is all grown and spread over the United States. You have a lot of grandchildren whom you love dearly but only see a couple times a year. You have lots of free time, in fact you don’t know what to do with all the time you had. You’d love to spend lots of it with family. Your health is good. You still feel young, and are able to live an active lifestyle. You’d love to be traveling, to see the world but more importantly to see your great posterity more often. However, there is one crucial resource that you lack—money. “I worked for 45+ years!” you say, “Where did that all go?” You realize that you have nothing to show for those 45 years of 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, no sick days and a rare vacation. How do you feel? You are upset or maybe worried, but at the very least disappointed. You lived your whole life trying to scrape by, but with the expectation that you’d retire and then be able to do all those things that you always wanted to do. But now you’re there, and still just barely scraping by. You really don’t have much of your own money, and the assistance check barely puts a roof overhead and food on the table. You feel dependent. You have to rely heavily on others and don’t feel that you are really in control of your life. Money, or the lack of it, controls you. You ask yourself, “how did I get here?” As you look back over your life, you see your money habits. When it came to money, all you did was make sure the bills were paid, and then you expected that somehow the money would be there when you needed it in retirement. You realize now that you were wrong and your system did not work. Don’t be too hard on yourself though. You aren’t the only one to blame, you were never taught a better way, or any way at all really. Your parents didn’t teach you. They were in the same situation you now find yourself in. Your friends didn’t teach you. The subject of money was too uncomfortable to bring up. In all your years of schooling, you weren’t taught much more than how to balance a check book. You realize that your lack of education in personal finance has cost you dearly. So what do you do? Unfortunately, at that stage in life, there is not much you can do. Luckily for you, you are not yet 75. You are only imagining for the sake of the point being made. However, many Americans find themselves in that position. My purpose in writing this is to arouse an awareness of the importance of a basic knowledge in personal finance, and to make a plea for it to be taught in schools throughout the United States. It is not my intent to teach how to go about it, or of what that education ought to consist. I simply want to highlight the importance of an understanding of personal finance, because without that understanding, one cannot become financially free. Even just a grasp of the basics would enable us to make wiser financial decisions, and thus obtain greater financial success.

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