I almost posted this to an excellent thread in our SBI! Forums about a Wall Street Journal article entitled Nearly Half of Americans Are "Financially Fragile".
It would have pulled the thread off-topic so I resisted, even though there are some excellent tips in that thread about personal financial management.
The underlying issue, in fact, is so much more important. At this stage, personal financial management almost feels like we're shuffling chairs on the Titanic so that we can be here for the best view when we hit the iceberg.
The more you read about what's going on in this world of ours today, the more you realize that we are watching the inevitable sinking of a country that I have admired since I was 14 and studied Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman (in Literature class) and American history in high school.
Europe is headed in the same direction, I'm afraid.
We, the individuals, are sacrificed as the bad choices of institutions and countries are bailed out. Lobbies run the show. We're bogged down in wars we can't afford to be in. The US dollar is being inflated like there's no tomorrow (pushing back the iceberg to the day-after-tomorrow). There are no great leaders today, only political expediency.
SBIers do take control of their personal futures, which is a good and important step. Personal financial management (from the forum thread above) is a must, too. "Self-reliance" and "the American Dream" that moved me in high school sooooooooo many years ago are still possible.
Consider, though, the biggest step of all to optimize the life that you and your loved ones live, one which several SBIers have already done...