Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Romulans are Different

In the later incarnations of Star Trek, the Romulans used a quantum singularity, a distortion of space and time that may be related to black holes, to drive their starships through the galaxy. The Romulans just had to be different. Everybody else was using your everyday ordinary antimatter warp drive. When an antimatter warp drive failed, it just blew up. I guess if a singularity drive failed it would implode, sucking everything around it into a miniature black hole of some sort.

Guess what? You are flying around in starship powered by a singularity drive called compound interest.

Consider the money equation:

Money In = Money Stored + Money Out

When Money Stored reaches critical mass, compound interest will generate enough new money, all by itself, to propel you on your merry way, “To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Unfortunately, debt can drive Money Stored into negative territory. Then compound interest will increase Money Out until your little space cruiser implodes into nothingness.

This also happens to countries.

The iconic Texas oilman, T. Boone Pickens, started life in a poor family during the depression. He would hide the money he earned from his paper route from his mother’s prying eyes. Once, she demanded to see all of it. At age 14, he had $286 hidden in a crawl space under a rug in his closet. At age 87, he still remembers that his mother was stupefied that a child could have amassed such an amazing sum of money. He believes the two most important truths about money he could share with young people are develop a good work ethic and don’t ever let yourself get caught without money. Once you have those two cornerstones in place, then get busy “working smart.” Get an education, but don’t limit your idea of what constitutes an education to college. I suspect that not even Pickens’s beloved Oklahoma State offers courses in how to become a successful Texas wildcatter.

We live in a society where we are constantly encouraged to take on more debt. It is so easy. Children are taught nothing about the power of compound interest during the K-12 years. Then they are given student loans to pursue degrees that are unlikely to result in a job. They are given credit cards before they take their first college course! Once they graduate, if the graduate, they are encouraged to take out six year car notes. Of course, no one can live without a thirty year mortgage.

On the other hand, The Federal Reserve Bank and the taxman relentlessly punish savers. These people are the backbone of a healthy economy. The wealth that they generate and do not consume ultimately provides the fuel to drive a family and a nation to financial freedom.

If it violates the Word of God and common sense it is probably a bad idea. Most of the people I personally know who have found financial freedom have a decent work ethic and the ability to defer gratification. This is not only encouraged by T. Boone Pickens, but by both the Protestant and Confucian work ethics. Proverbs observes, “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.”

Make the decision today to provide fuel for your warp drive rather than finding new ways to sell yourself into debt slavery. Take small consistent steps every day. In ten years, or less, you will not believe how far you have progressed.

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