Better Off?

The question that is probably the one most frequently asked in an election year is, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”  It is one that prompts a person, if they are honest, to be introspective, and take a good, long look at their situation today compared to four years ago.

I can honestly answer in the affirmative.  I am, and my family is, better off than four years ago.  By leaps and bounds.

We are better off because my career field, banking, did not collapse.  We are better off because my wife is being paid fairly, and not treated like she is less because she is a female.  We are better because we were able to purchase a new house, thanks to lower mortgage rates.  We are better because we are able to provide a better life for our daughter.

We are better off because we used a disciplined approach to our lives, and took advantage of legislation in Washington that showed that we are important.  The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act provided my wife an opportunity to be paid a fair wage for doing her job, and she does her job very well.  Our daughter, who is on the autism spectrum, has access or will have access to countless therapies because we will not have a lifetime cap on what our insurance company will cover, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (you can call it “Obamacare” if you want, but when I hear that, it just reminds me that Obama cared enough about my family to be bold enough to do something with health care).

We were, and still are disciplined about our finances.  We do not buy things just to buy things.  We save.  We used our savings to put a down payment on a new house (at 3.25% for 30 years, thanks to more firm regulation of the mortgage industry).  We accumulated enough in our savings by instituting a “tax” on ourselves each payday.  Yes, a tax.  That is the only way to look at it.  We taxed ourselves into savings, and wouldn’t you know it, we have decreased our non-mortage debt in the process.  What, am I saying that taxing actually helped us fund something bigger?  I sure am.  And it worked and continues to work.  We made tough choices, and continue to do so, because we want more for our lives than just the accumulation of wealth.  Not only do we have more disposable income today, even with our regular savings “tax” and church giving, we are able to help more people because of it.  To me, that is what being an American is all about…helping people.

When we were first married, close friends of ours opened their home to us, and we are doing the same now.  It was not a hand-out in the sense of charity, but a hand-out to help us grow, and if we can reach our hands out to someone and help them grow, that is our duty as human beings.

The reality is that I am better off today than I was four years ago.  If you are honest with yourself, you will look and see that you most likely are as well.  We can either keep progressing, or we can quite possibly move backward.  I don’t know about you, but I like to make progress.

It is often said (incorrectly) that Congress is the opposite of progress.  The opposite of progress is regress.  I choose to be progressive in my approach to living, especially given that the alternative is being regressive.  Will you choose to be progressive or regressive?



2 Responses to Better Off?

  1. Pingback: Gaffes or Glimpses « Our Not So Expert Opinions

  2. Pingback: Just Wondering, Again… « Our Not So Expert Opinions

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