Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One Thing That's Wrong With America

We, in America, have several problems.  We have an economic problem, part of which is that very few people seem to be saving and/or planning for retirement which, some feel, is part of the current economic crisis.  I say "why save?".  And here's why I say this.

When I was young, growing up in a conservative Christian home, we were at the height of the Cold War and bogged down in Vietnam.  There were thoughts that at any time, either the U.S. or Soviet Union could launch nuclear weapons and destroy the world.  And, according to some learned Christian scholars and writers of the time, most notably authors such as Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth, Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth) and others, we were in the "end times" with the advent of the antichrist and the death throes of humanity, civilization, and earth as we knew it.  There were dire predictions of runaway population growth and, as I recall, predictions that by the late 1970s there would be widespread famine and potentially wars fought over food.  So, what's a right wing Christian conservative young person to think?

After much inward searching and theorizing, here's what I came up with relative to my own life and thought process.  I made a conscious decision to live life for today, because I felt that the world could end at any moment.  Saving for retirement would have been an effort in futility (still may be) because there was going to be no retirement and maybe even no old age -- maybe even no middle age.  I don't know how many of my peers either consciously or unconsciously made the same decisions.  I think it was a substantial number, which inadvertently led to part of the crisis we now have.

Sure, you can look back on things now and rationalize all that away.  But, as a young person, I thought all the dire predictions were at least plausible.  The good news is that I did live for today.  I have only minor regrets about not investing and saving for retirement.  At age 54 this becomes more of a thought, but if I had it to do all over again, I'd do the same because I always felt I chose wisely in my decision making.  With the economic collapse of 2008, many people lost their homes, retirement savings, pensions, and corporate stocks.  So far, I've lost only a few thousand (only on paper so far) in my small retirement portfolio.  So far, I've lost nothing of concern.  I didn't even lose the time that others invested in worry and concern for their future.  I'm not happy about our economic status, but I'm not sitting around lamenting the collapse of my finances either.

I do think there is some validity to my thoughts about why I chose not to save and invest earlier in my life.  The fact that Christ didn't return, Armageddon and/or nuclear holocaust did not occur, the predictions of imminent world-wide disaster did not happen, has not dampened my enthusiasm and love of God.  It did make me wonder about how all those seemingly reputable doomsday sayers could be so wrong.  And, now at age 54, where do I go from here?  I think there is a real possibility I'll be digging ditches in China to pay off our U.S. debt to China sometime before I die.  But our government and economic and industrial powerhouses selling us out to China is a whole new topic.  Let's go there in another blog.

Anyone out there in cyberspace have similar opinions and/or experiences?  I'd like to know if I'm remotely on track.