It has been over six months since Congress graced us with an approved CARES Act bill that gave $2.2 Trillion in stimulus money. It gave up to $1200 for individuals making $75,000 and $150,000 for married couples before phasing out. It also provided an additional to dependent up to three individuals.The biggest gain from this bill was two essential things that have helped Americans. It provided an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits and suspended student loan interest until the end of September.
Then at the end of July, Americans soon learned that unemployment and the deferral of student loans would be extended until the end of December. Unemployment decreased down to $400 a week and student loans still remaining at a 0% APR while in forbearance.
Since these updates, Congress has been in gridlock for the past few months, arguing about another stimulus payment. For some, that's absurd considering that $1200 is not a lot of money. However, for several Americans, it is everything! This begs the question that in a real emergency, can you actually rely on our Government to help us? The answer is probably not, and this is why financial freedom is so important. No matter what happens, whether you get laid off, a pandemic takes over the world, or you can't stand your boss (definitely true in my case), you always need to have a continuity and sustainability plan when it comes to your finances.
1. Most Politicians are rich.
It's tough for someone to speak on your needs when they have never walked a day in your shoes. Most people in Congress are millionaires, especially in the current administration. They probably don't even know what 10 cent Ramen is or have even tasted it. So, why would they understand the needs of the average American? Who, by the way makes an average salary of $68,700. My point is when rich people make decisions on the middle or low-income people, they tend to underestimate the cost of things because they've never had to struggle or even budget for them.
2. Social Programs have limitations.
I remember having a college friend who was on public assistance and couldn't save any of the money she was receiving from the government. Although she was in school trying to get a degree, they would audit her bank accounts to make sure she wasn't saving anything for her or her daughter. She had everything riding on finding a job after college because she knew if she didn't find something they would be broke and homeless. With many social programs, they never make enough for you to get off and be sustainable and instead create a cycle of needing them endlessly. They usually have an income limit that is well below poverty, and any of the money you spend, whether it be on food or items you needs, it all has to be used during that month you receive them.
3. Everybody owes you mentality.
I'm not too fond of the mentality of thinking the world owes you something. I have a very bootstrap mentality of picking yourself up and making sure to take care of yourself. It teaches you independence and not waiting for anyone to make decisions on your life. I also think if more people had this thought process, Congress wouldn't even think about dangling $1200 in people's faces. Everyone, in my opinion, needs to try to be self-sufficient in life. I understand hard times happen but don't get complacent in those hard times and think it should go on indefinitely.
4. Example to the next generation
You guys know I'm all about generational wealth building, and part of that is getting the younger generation involved when it comes to managing finances. How involved can they be in a government handout? You want the next generation to be sufficient to handle their financial situations and not rely on the government for their everyday needs. It's also important to set an example to you kids on how to manage their money and finances and take care of themselves in the worst of times.
I say all this not to make anyone feel bad for needing assistance. Life happens, and sometimes we can fall on hard times financially. However, based on how the government is stalling with the second stimulus, I want everyone to use this as an opportunity to gain more financial independence and freedom. Learn to take care of yourself financially, so you will never need anything from anyone when it comes to taking care of you!
The Lioness is a financial blogger based in the Twin Cities. After spending most of her career in accounting, she decided to leap into the world of small business, investing and savings. As she is on this journey of juggling both her career and small business, she wants to share what she is learning along the way, as she builds her passive income.