question marks over personI am writing this post because I have a question for all of my readers.  I will get to the question near the end, so bear with me as I roll through it.

As the world pushes through a massive recession, I wonder the main reason why we all got into this mess.  It doesn’t matter what country you live in, because it was all caused by two things.  I think that the recession was caused by over-consumption and pure greed.  All developed countries have been running on a binge for resources, money, and fame.  Each one wants to top the other to show that they are bigger and better.  This over-consumption has caused the residents of every country to indulge and follow along.  Are you a part of the Rat Race? This is a big problem and I don’t know where we can look to for a fix.

America the Beautiful

I am an American and I don’t feel bad about it, I actually embrace it.  I have grown up knowing that I create the opportunities that I want.  I was taught that if you work hard, you will be rewarded.  This beautiful dream was what drove me when I was young, but as I have grown older, I realized that this is not always the case.  Yes, American may be the land of opportunity, but it is also the land of greed and power corruption.

America is truly run by greed.  Companies are chasing profits, no matter the cost.  People are chasing money and fame, no matter who they hurt in the way.  Every one wants to be successful and that is not the problem.  The problem is how we are getting to that level of American defined success.  You are shown that in order to be successful, you need to have money, cars, a home, have kids, and enjoy a Starbucks coffee everyday.  Who came up with this warped definition of success?

Alzheimer’s of the financial mind

As we work toward getting out of the recession, we are starting to see that American’s are starting to consume more and borrow more money and diving deeper into debt.  The Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates low, so people can borrow more (which equals more spending) and companies can invest more into their operations.  While this is a overall good economic idea, it is a horrible financial model.  You don’t provide people with a way to borrow more money to purchase stuff they cannot afford.  This is what got us in this mess in the first place.  Does anyone remember the Mortgage Crisis?  It happened because people were spending beyond their means.  It is a simple math problem.

How much you makeHow much your spend = Net Cash Flow

The goal is to have a positive cash flow, but for many people, that number is in the red.  Oops. That is not the way to continue living.  I thought we lived through this once, but apparently I was wrong.  Why in the hell are we repeating the same mistakes we did before?  We need to stop encouraging people to borrow money.  We don’t need more of our citizens in debt just to get the economy going.  That is a falsely inflated economy, not a real one.  It spells a recipe for disaster.

looking through binocularsWho do we look to?

Now for my question at hand.  Who do we as American’s look to as a financial mentor?  We need money help in this country and we need it badly.  Yes, there are people like Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard, and Suze Orman, but they are just individuals.  We need something larger to get this horrible trend turned around.

Related: Are We Doing Personal Finance Wrong?

We can’t look to our government because they are running a money spending machine and have been doing so for many, many years.  I don’t blame any one individual for this issue, I blame the whole machine.  These people cannot even come up with a basic budget to get cash flow positive.  The simplest form of money management is budgeting and our government cannot do it.  They are not worthy as any type of mentor.  People see the government spending and then think that it should be OK for them to do the same thing.  Why can’t we do it if our government does it on a regular basis.

We NEED a mentor!

With our government out of the picture because they are a bunch of school-aged children that are just fighting on the playground of Washington.  We are in need of someone to teach people that they don’t have to borrow money in order to buy things.  They have to learn how to live within their means and be proud that they can.  I wish I had an answer to who we could pick as a financial mentor, but I just don’t have that answer.  It is too big for me alone to come up with.  We need a new day in financial literacy.

As a new parent, I know that they only solution I have is to teach my child to the best of my ability.  Yes, I have made financial mistakes in my life, but I have learned from them.  I am changing around how I treat and use my money.  I want to teach my child how to responsibly use money and how to save it.  With the basic foundations, I believe my son can grow up with a solid financial head on his shoulders.  This is all I can do.

Related: Are You a Financially Intelligent Parent?

I would say that all parents should be the younger generation’s financial mentor, but I know that is not a good option.  The age of saving and being careful with your money is a dying breed.  We need to bring that back and there are many parents out there that are not prepared to teach their children money lessons.  If they can’t get their finances in order, how can they teach others to do it?  That’s right, they can’t.

Well, if you can’t tell already, this post really is just a question.  Who do you think we can look to as a financial mentor?  Do we need an organization to help or should it be an individual?  I realize that this post is just about the United States, but this can be brought to anyone, anywhere.

Let me hear your thoughts below.

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