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Why your opinion about the stimulus plan doesn’t matter

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I don’t write much about current events here, because they usually don’t affect your personal finances, but I wanted to point out something interesting I just read.


Image by pink_fish13

Have you ever noticed how everyone seems to have “the answer” to the healthcare crisis or the economic meltdown? The problem is, they usually don’t see above their own situations to the larger problems. That’s why any one of our opinions is largely irrelevant.

Check it out:

This New York Times article points out how G.M. is asking for $12.1 billion more in loans. The comments are the best part:

  • “Amy” starts arguing about healthcare and her grandfather

  • “Dave” writes about the auto companies being political sacred cows
  • “RG” complains about Wall Street fat cats
  • “Dale” bemoans the lack of a national healthcare system
  • “JK” argues that unions are a net benefit to America
  • “Outraged” argues that “unions are destroying America”

And that’s just in the first 10 comments.

You see the problem?

Everyone’s got an opinion, usually drawn from their own narrow experiences, not seeing the full picture.

This is why product managers know how difficult it is to ask their users what features they want in a product.

It’s why politicians can’t just tactically respond to what people want, but have to show leadership in what they need.

And it’s also why everyone’s got an opinion about what you “should” do with your money, but few people actually implement the strategies.

You can listen to people’s opinions all day long. You can read thousands of blog comments on personal-finance blogs each week. But trust me, those critics — whether it’s your uncle or mom or sister or friend — are still going to be saying the same things tomorrow, next year, and 5 years from now.

What matters is what steps you take toward getting rich right now.

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  1. Ramit says: “And it’s also why everyone’s got an opinion about what you “should” do with your money, but few people actually implement the strategies. ”

    Is this true? I figured that the people vocal about what we should do with money generally follow their own opinions, whether their opinions were financially healthy or not.

  2. i agree with you that politicians need to “show leadership in what [people] need”. the question is, do they have the guts to do it. i am curious what you are doing to protect your capital against the destruction of the dollar that our current “leadership” is bent on carrying out through inflation of the currency. have you hedged yourself against this?

  3. Dr.Stuart Schaller, PhD Link to this comment

    This bailout is a joke. There are 11 million “officially” unemployed, and there are another 5 million or more (counting illegals) that were part of the underground economy that are no longer employed. We are already 10 trillion in debt. We actually need another 3 trillion to cover the bailout, with interest costs, etc. The only thing, IMO, that is going to save the US now is a major revolution against the government. If the government gave the bailout money directly to every man, woman and child (including illegals), we would have gotten around $75,000 each!!!

    • Dr. Schaller, your comment is great example of what I’m talking about. You might be right, you might be wrong, but does your comment really change what you should be doing with your personal finances?

  4. You nailed this one.

    Perhaps this should be copied to your “Things I Hate” blog.

  5. Dude, Dr. Stuart, thanks for your two cents, but as his article says, you opinion doesn’t matter.

    As he said “What matters is what steps you take toward getting rich right now.”

    I would like to alter that to be “What matters is what steps you take toward getting HAPPY right now.”

    Dr. Stuart, a question: Obviously the bailout doesn’t make you happy, what do you think you can do about it to change it???

    If I asked myself that question I would say very little. Which why this bailout fills my brain about as much as Muhammad Muhammad… God bless his soul(I don’t know a Muhammad Muhammad, but he probably exists) I can’t influence Mr. Muhammad’s life any more than I can influence the bail out.

    Honestly neither can you, unless you are as eloquent as President Obama (seriously that guy is fun to listen to)

    Dr. Stuart, I would recommend worrying less about the ‘revolution’ and more about taking care of yourself.


  6. Dr. Stuart Schaller, PhD Link to this comment

    I understand that my complaint about nthe bailout ultimately means nothing.

    Personally, my wife and I are doing OK, and trying to increase our income and savings. We are OK, but like everyone else, we could be better off than we are.

    Increasing income and savings is a bit more difficult to do at 62 than at 22.

    I get a BIG pension when I’m 65, but I CAN’T get it until I’m 65..

  7. My opinion is that chick is hot!

  8. AMEN Ramit!

  9. What steps am I taking right now? The same ones I’ve been taking since 2000:

    —Working at a job I enjoy (but don’t love) because the salary, benefits, and perceived security are a good fit for me and my family
    —Sticking to my short-term and long-term savings goals, which are the same goals I had nearly a decade ago
    —Still waiting for my short-term savings to allow me to put 20% down on my first home, but salivating at the current real estate market because it is opening more doors at my current savings level than were available even a year ago
    —Watching Wall Street plummet, which is giving me a greater bang for my “buy-and-hold” buck in my long-term savings strategy
    —Constantly looking for new learning opportunities, so I can become more efficient with my time, energy, and money

    I guess I’m one of the few optimists in this current reality.

  10. This is why you’re the best Ramit. It’s one of the “problems” people have with democracies—if politicians simply did what we wanted them to do they’d go into a million different directions and never get anything done.