ZERO PLUS 1261 DAY--New York, NY, Tuesday, February
takes many nefarious forms. One of the most insidious of all
is the threat that average Americans will or cannot properly
manage their future financial security.
Part of the proposal
for revamping Social Security is to turn the management of retirement
funds over to the individuals who earn the money rather than
have the government control deductions and dole out what many
consider to be "meager" returns on the investment
in the "golden years."
Opponents of such a plan
promote that the average American can't rub two nickels together
without losing or spending one of them, and, as a result, will
stick their greedy fingers into their retirement cookie jar
long before they should, robbing it of its power to cushion
them financially when they need it the most.
Ultimately, a society
of financially crippled elders who mismanaged their self-ruled
retirement funds will create an even worse burden on the young
people who, because of the moral fiber of a nation, will be
required by a duty greater than the law, to help their failing
grandparents, uncles, aunts and others who let the termites
of Financial Terrorism shoot holes in their financial flack
cards can be a prime example of Financial Terrorism
It's not an easy question
to answer on many levels. Credit cards are one prime example.
In North America, there are 1.2 billion credit and retail cards
stuffed in the pockets of citizens who seek to purchase on time
what they can't afford in cash.
The average American
carries $8,550 in debt, and some 1.3 million file for bankruptcy
each year, according to the American Consumer Credit Counseling
group. The average credit card interest rate is 18.9%.
Boiled down, the average
American can't save. In a startling report by Merrill
Lynch about the wealth of the American Family conducted
in 1995, after all assets and liabilities were added and subtracted,
the net value of the average family was $1,000.
In a world of Terrorism,
we think of some insurgent wearing a ski mask and shoving the
barrel of a submachine gun in our face, forcing us to kneel
as a sword is held over our heads threatening to decapitate
us if we don't surrender to the will of our captives.
But financial debt is
of the same ilk. The difference is that its terror is self-imposed.
Through the Terrorism of "Financial Complacency" we
ignore the Laws of Financial Vigilance and let the Termites
of Poverty gnaw away at anything we earn as though we were invincible
to the rags of the disenfranchised who have no funds, or so
little, that society must fund the safety nets to keep the lower
ledges of humanity from falling into recycling bins.
debt can be like a Terrorist with a gun to our heads
There is much fear about
the elimination of Social Security because the idea that the
average American will abuse his or her earnings has incredible
evidence of fact that it will happen. Odds are that when someone
needs money for some reason, the private savings for "retirement"
will become the eggs of the Golden Goose and that sticky fingers
will grope into the nest and crush any hopes of even limited
financial comfort in the future.
This is where Financial
Vigilance needs to enter into the equation, and not just under
the guidance of the adults.
A Family Financial Vigilance
Plan needs to be set into place in all the 100 million homes
in this nation, and a Pledge of Family Financial Vigilance needs
to be taken with same passion as the General Pledge of Vigilance
that seeks to protect our Emotional Security.
All members of the family--the
youngest of children to the oldest--depend on some sense of
financial balance for there to be maximum harmony in the home.
That means all members of the household need to respect money
and especially individual savings as well as the collective
family savings programs.
In most businesses, two
signatures are required on checks of a certain size, and, in
case of major withdrawals, a committee usually approves such
expenditures. It is reasonable for a Vigilant Family to establish
certain ground rules on what is Family Savings and how it should
Vigilant Family should establish ground rules for its
If there comes into question
a desire to reach into that savings pouch and extract funds,
then the family should all be part of that decision in some
manner established so that the children and parents are on equal
voting footing, and, that the use of such funds be considered
not only as to the impact of the present, but the indirect impact
on the future of the children--i.e. their security.
Social Security is really
a misnomer. It is Vigilant Security. In the past, we have allowed
government to manage the financial cushion for society. That
is no longer possible. The shift in managing one's income is
now the duty of the family, not just the "head of household,"
for the entire family is affected by any decision involving
the "security of the clan."
Therefore, it is our
suggestion that each member of the family subscribe to the Financial
Pledge of Vigilance. Here is a sample. Each family can draft
their own, or use the one below as a guideline:
pledge to be aware of the Beast of Financial Terror who
seeks to gnaw away at our financial security and do his
best to make us slaves to debt so we live in a state of
constant Fear, Intimidation and Complacency over our financial
To counter the Beast
of Financial Terror, we vow to design and adhere to certain
Principles of Financial Vigilance that will give us the
Courage to overcome Financial Fear, the Conviction to
stick to our Family Financial Vigilance Plan in the face
of Financial Intimidation to spend our reserves, and to
muster the Right Actions that benefit our Children's Children's
Children to sustain our Financial Vigilance when the virus
of Financial Complacency seeks to render us powerless
and to cause leaks or drains or simply the abuse of our
One of the ways we
can achieve a Financial Vigilance Plan is to launch a
Vigilance Savings Plan that seeks to increase our assets
by at least One Percent of the amount we spend until we
reach a minimum of saving Ten Percent of what we earn.
We vow to try always to "Pay Ourselves First"
by putting Ten Percent of what we earn immediately into
some safe and secure Family Vigilance Savings Plan, and
learning to live on the Ninety-Percent that is left.
Further, we agree
to dedicate the funds of that Ten Percent Vigilance Savings
to those areas of Family Security that benefit us all
in respective ways, and that we will discuss and agree
on any expenditures so that as a family we have unanimity
regarding our Financial Security and the Vigilance necessary
to assure it.
Signed By Financially
Vigilant Family Members This Date: ________________
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