BY RUSSELL TURNER

 

THE SHRINKING PIGGY BANK

 

None of us like the idea of getting older but I have found that having more birthday candles on a cake does have some benefits. I have often said that my grandparents experienced a lot of changes in their lives, they grew up in an environment where horses and mules were the main source of power to use on a farm, then later they saw men walking on the moon. They indeed saw a huge change in technology during their lives, but those of us in my age group have seen an equal change, not in technology but in the attitudes of the people of our nation.

 

I can remember picking strawberries and doing other work on my parent’s farm when I was a child, and I was taught to save my money and to always put a little of it back in an old fruit jar or a piggy bank. In those days it seemed that our entire system was much more stable. We were confident that the money we had today would probably have the same spending power next year as it did today. While our government tries to assure us that inflation is under control, I have a problem accepting their propaganda. I recently read an article that put our current system into perspective.

 

Recently Ben Bernanke announced that interest rates would remain at zero for the next 2 years; saving money in old fruit jars and piggy banks is not nearly as good as it once was. Based on the way that the government used to calculate inflation (a much more realistic approach than today), you’d be losing 7% annually in buying power. On small items that we buy it is easy to not notice it, but when you purchase a major appliance or a big-ticket item the effect can be noticed.

 

I have witnessed older people sell a business and their hope was to use the money to live off of in their retirement years. On one occasion Ben Bernanke make the comment that keeping the interest low would entice people to buy cars, but that car buying is coming at a high price. Either the retirees can invest into more risky things such as the stock market or watch their savings shrink day by day.

 

In my youth I was taught that savings was a good thing, but today the younger generations are taught that working hard and saving money is bad and debt is wealth. We have developed the idea that everything is going to be OK simply because the government says so and if you have a problem, the government will bail you out. We all need to realize that the policies that our government inflicts upon us do have consequences. If we want to keep our piggy banks from shrinking any farther we must get involved and demand better accountability from our elected officials.

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